Thursday, April 30, 2015

These people, unaware, are saving the world

He lives far from the city, and rides long distances to work as a physical trainer at a clinic. In the evenings he helps out at his brother-in-law's snack shop at another end of the city. And reaches home late. He has little time and little sleep. All his youth is spent in trying to earn a living.

In the middle of all this, he tells you shyly, watching your delight at the Gulmohar blossoms outside the window, that he has planted flowers on the median of the big road in front of his house on the outskirts. He doesn't know their names, but they look nice. He waters them regularly in between his rushed day, and worries they may not survive. The neighbours think he's crazy. But he believes we must all plant flowers and trees in our little corners of the world, we must help green the earth. He is delighted you understand.

You look at his face in gratitude. You do not know how to explain to him that he is also saving the world, in his own quiet beautiful way.

 The Just

A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished.
He who is grateful for the existence of music.
He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
Two workmen playing, in a café in the South, a silent game of chess.
The potter, contemplating a color and a form.
The typographer who sets his page well, though it may not please him.
A woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto.
He who strokes a sleeping animal.
He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done to him.
He who is grateful for the existence of Stevenson.
He who prefers others to be right.
These people, unaware, are saving the world.

Page 455. Jorge Luis Borges, Selected Poems
Translated from the Spanish

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