He walked into the shade of a table on the side of the brick paved road. In the u.s.a. he was used to very prompt service, waiters would be nearly invasive with their attention to tables. Here it sometimes took ten minutes or more for anyone to approach the table once seated. He leaned back in one of the ever-present curved, white plastic stackable chairs. His eyes adjusted to the oddity of pleasant lighting under the thatched roof, totally surrounded by the brilliant glare of the tropical noonday sun. When the sun was high in the sky it commanded respect. To simply stand under it's power unprotected sucked energy and nutrients out of him. And the sweat, of course. So much heat would gather at the crown of his forehead that it felt like it was touching flame. This caused a virtual fountain which trickled continuously into his eyes. It would sometimes irritate him, so he would wipe his forehead with forearm. Instantly the sun scorched the spot again and the process repeated until dizzy and half blind, shade was found. Once taking shade it was at least ten minutes until his body was at full rest, his eyes were totally adjusted, his breathing had become unlabored, and his skin was dry to the touch.
Sheltered and now relaxed, a girl took his drink order and left him a menu.
Since most of the juices were fresh squeezed the drinks often took another five to ten minutes to arrive. The heat of the place lent itself to slow service. Over-exertion quickly caused an enormous amount of sweat and effort. Slow and steady always won the race here. In the noonday sun everyone who could nearly shut down for an hour or more of siesta. The sun became so intense that just being exposed to it sapped strength and even made thoughts slower, more difficult to produce. Finding shade was necessary... finding a hammock to lie in was divine. Being cradled in the warm air felt like the womb must have, our original home. Occasional breezes would wrap around his body and gently rock him back and forth. It was an ancient rest. To share that comfort with the presence of friends or strangers in nearbye hammocks was also incredible. Such public displays of comfortable rest were rarely seen in in the u.s.a., sunbathing being an exception. But here complete strangers would relax even though fully exposed, hanging helpless in a net above the ground. It felt good to be close to trusting strangers that were so relaxed.
George had placed an order for chicken mole', he had read that mole was made from chocolate sauce and he really wanted to try some. Chocolate and chicken, quite a mix. He was becoming accustomed to the slow service. There were only about six tables at the apparently nameless restaurant. A young family at a table close by was looking through a stack of dvd's that the place had for rent. The children were pleading to watch a computer generated film about animals. It was a lovely day. George watched a beautiful girl walk down the street and he longed to talk to her, to know her. He suppressed the loneliness with a wistful smile and a sip of water. From somewhere behind him a single note began to play. It slowly developed into a simple sounding tune, one that played well off of the chatter of the restaurant and street... the crashing of the waves. It slowly gained in confidence and clarity to the point that George was surprised no-one around him was commenting on it. The tune was innocent and pure, it lacked the slickness of a typical public performance. The honesty of the sound humbled him. It was like listening to a friend bear their heart to him without cloaking the words in pride or ego. After a minute or more, the initial simplicity of the tune evolved somehow. The single notes linked together suddenly seemed to not only compliment the world here at the corner restaurant, but they began to help shape it as well. Even if the other diners had not visibly stopped to listen, their conversations had all unconsciously incorporated the tune into their moments. While at first the tune was a stranger to them all, it had become welcome somehow. A cool breeze from the ocean added to this sense of welcome. A tiny child came walking through the tables of the restaurant then, holding out a worn sombrero upside down for donations. George was so moved by her beauty and poverty that he did not offer her any coins... he just watched her with his heart in his throat. It was her father playing the flute, and he played it for her. It was his music about her, it was his music for her. George observed their visible poverty, compassion and respect washed over him. Perhaps all that man owned in the world was his flute and the love of his baby girl but there was pride in that. There was truth and honesty there that was so real no-one could ever take it from them. George sensed it went deeper than that even. The man held tradition in his flute, his tune and his love for the girl. His song was an ancient song, a timeless song. He did not sing it for money or food or the desire of comfort, he sang it to protect his love. He sang it to prepare the street for the presence of his divine child. His divine love. All of the money in the world could not wrap her in the secure love of his simple songs. He was her herald, his flute paved the way for her presence. She was not a beggar, she was a goddess who lived outside of the world of business transactions and interest rates. She lived on the gifts of strangers and the love of her father.
This was unexpected and overwhelming to George, and as he was still processing all of these feelings and revelations the two slipped farther down the street out of view... and soon even the flute song faded from his perceptions. They had been so unexpected and real, like when a herd of deer unexpectedly appeared at the side of a road staring silent and proud at the loud cars roaring past. There was a chasm in George's mind between the real and true and the nonsense and confusion... this man and child were living with pure love and truth, it humbled him.