It’s Thanksgiving day today. Wind cleared the sky while the holiday cleared traffic on the streets. Fallen leaves were sent twirling and whirling up in the sky as if dancing to a piece of rhapsody, free formed with a sense of spontaneous inspiration and improvisation. Although the weather is not as cold as those clear winter days I found in Beijing, there is a trail of breadcrumbs dropped by the city to help me find my way back home.
Some unaccounted for factors about a city or in this case Philadelphia connect me to Beijing. There is no fair comparison in terms of population or landscape and there is no personal history that I can recall either. What is it that makes me think of home? I guess the only plausible explanation is, I am just missing home.
On my way up to Philly I was reading Just Mercy recommended by this soul for whom I orchestrated my trip. I did not know how relevant the book was until, a few pages into the book, I read “I-75” and “Jackson, Georgia” in Bryan Stevenson’s reminiscential stories. I after all was not very informed about the history that has happened in the south, although I have been living in the heart of it for almost three years. His stories quickly enthralled me because of not only the close affiliation with my current city, but also a somewhat similar experience in which we discover that the world has not been working the way we were taught it would.
I kept on highlighting sentences that made my heart pound faster in his book and ended up having maybe too many notes and highlighted blocks of text. Regardless, here is one that left me in deep contemplation.
“The opposite of poverty is justice.”
Having lived in a family that almost spent their entire lives seeking justice, I suddenly saw what they were adamantly and stubbornly pursuing. In Bryan’s book, I see the universal nature of humanity and social constructs across eras in time and borders in space. Justice is not a placeholder word used to fill in the gaps in an eloquent speech; once it becomes personal, there is a strong emotional cause for me to discover ways to fight for it, although it may sound futile at first, or forever.
However, if I am now standing on Clifton Rd. again waiting for the pedestrian light to come on, I may actually have the courage and need to walk across the street and take a few classes from the other side.
As an extension to my conversations with you and aimless street strolling in Philly, I will patch the holes in me, prune back my obnoxious idiosyncrasies, continue to explore the unknown territories, stay curious, and most importantly be the leader of my very own life and positively influence people around me. Like some butterflies, we all flutter, rest, and keep moving on and on.
It’s only appropriate to say thank you, because it’s Thanksgiving day anyways.