Mike Dariano

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Meditations in snow

It's snowing in Ohio. I had to say that.

As a resident of Ohio you have to spend at least 6% of your life talking about the weather. It's true.

As it was snowing I was driving to a meeting and the snow was really coming down fast and thick. Visibility was half a mile or less, the roads were wet though not yet frozen, and the only colors in the world were brown, black and eleven shades of grey. Except for in my car.

There it was wonderful. The heater and radio were on and keeping me comfortable and entertained. I was sitting down and alert to the world around me. I had raisins to snack on and water to drink.

This dichotomy between the world outside the car and inside struck me because of some things I've recently read in Man's Search for Meaning. Viktor Frankl is a Holocaust survivor telling his story and he constantly returns to the idea that despite his lack of choices as a prisoner he was always able to choose his attitude and how he was going to respond to something. In a sense that's what I was doing. I could have driven without a windshield with the windows down and no heat but that would have been idiotic. But I do things like that all the time.

"The Tikoloshe"

On Wellington Street

I found the young man, sitting low below the small bulb of the street lamp. He was homeless, his clothes disheveled, his eyes bloodshot, and his hair and beard caught and twisted in knots. I had seen him a couple of times before then, though never in such a state. He was...sadder than usual. I went up to him, and asked if there was something bothering him, more than the usual I mean. I made sure that I made that clear. He looked at me, his jaw slack, and his cheeks sunken.

“What...What time is it?”

I looked down at my phone and told him it was eight at night.

Upon hearing this, he put his head in his hands and began to sob.

I stood there, upset at myself for coming over to talk to him. What had I been thinking? What did I expect was going to happen? He stopped suddenly, his cries silenced, his breathing shallow. What he said next distresses me to this very day.

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