On The Man Who Shouts About G-d Before the Sun

I no longer recall when he arrived, though, even had you asked me the first day I saw him, I may have told you he had always been here. I may have thought I had always heard his voice in the morning, just before the birds, talking to me about G-d and the way that there isn’t enough love in the world; calling to me through my open window that selfishness would be our downfall.

I don’t know that he was talking to me but I know I was the only one listening. I am the only one within earshot who wakes before the sun. 

I do not know his name and that makes my heart ache. His cheeks are ruddy, he is a vegetarian, his clothes, brown and grey, wearing a thousand days and nights on the streets of Los Angeles. I wonder if brown and grey are the way they were when he first put them on or if they became that way over time. 

I wonder what he was like before he became this way over time. 

His clothes are always the same.

His beard has never grown.

He sometimes has a shopping cart, sometimes a handcart and always a pot dangling from the side. He makes his own food. I have watched from my window as he stood in the alley beneath me, preparing it. 

Once I heard him cry out and I could not understand what he said, but the weight of his heart found mine and I walked into the alley. I brought him food and a smile and he said thank you. 

Then he went back to shouting about G-d.

When I heard him talking, I would always stop and listen.  

I would quiet my mind and listen with my heart. 

When I would stop and listen with my heart, I would always learn something. 

If you stop and listen with your heart, you will always learn something. 

One day last year, I saw him far from here. On the other side of town. It was a long way to walk with all of those things and I wondered how he got there. I thought about offering him a ride home, back to the alley behind my apartment, but I don’t have a car large enough to fit his things.

When I woke in the morning before the sun, he had found his way home and was talking to me about G-d.

I wonder if he has children, I listen for their names. I wonder where they are, who loves him, who he loves and if they wish they could all be together again. If they wish things could be the way they were once upon a time.

I wonder what once upon a time was like.

For some people, even once upon a time was not beautiful. 

I miss smiling at him, stopping in the alley with water on my way into the world; sometimes standing and sometimes sitting for a long minutes, listening. Trying to commit his words to memory.

Because they are valuable. 

Because he is valuable.

Because when I listen with my heart, I always learn something. 

Every time I would sit and listen, he would say again and again, “Genesis 1:29-31. Just read Genesis 1:29-31.” 

“Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.”

There has been evening and there has been morning but, for weeks, his voice has not reached through my window before the sun.

I think about him every day. 

I miss the sound of his voice telling me stories through the window. Shouts and murmurs about G-d and love and selfishness and when will it stop and who will save us.