“Kindness is Magic”

Dear President Trump,

You know by now that I’m a walker (or rather your threat-checker team knows this about me). I especially like to walk in cities that I’m visiting and over my three days in Minneapolis I probably logged about 8 miles of walking, not counting the regular to-ing and fro-ing around the conference. My feet are tired! Feet aside, it was good to be out seeing people and places at a pace that made it possible to take in details.

Here are some of the things that stood out to me:

  • People were generally very friendly. Not to a person, but at least half the people I passed on the sidewalks off the main drag made eye contact and either nodded an acknowledgment or actually said ‘hi’ out loud. It seemed really usual for them, which made me happy for them and sad for those of us who have to deal with “The Seattle Chill.”
  • A lot more of the young African American men I saw out walking were physically disabled in some way than were the young white men. Several used canes, one was in a wheel chair, and one had a homemade eye patch. It looked like they had been through some very rough times.
  • It seems as though there is no one picking up litter there and the streets are in even worse shape than ours in Seattle. I watched people on bikes and on those new electric scooters dealing with potholes and it was scary. That great faux carrot of an infrastructure package you promised would certainly be welcome there and here.
  • I also saw a first, which was a guy in racing bike clothes riding while smoking a cigarette.

Then there were the random messages that would have been impossible to see had I been using any other form of transport than walking. The first was spray painted in white paint and it spelled out in cursive letters “stop to think”; not “stop and think” – “stop to think.” This may seem like a fine (unnecessary) distinction to make, but I think the message is that in order to think properly, we need to stop moving and be still or that we need to stop the mental chatter to make space for real thinking. Either way, I like it.

The second message took the form of a white sticker with black letters that say: “Kindness is Magic.” It’s down low on light post and is facing away from the street, as if the sticker sticker wanted it to be accessible only to pedestrians. Whatever the intentions around the placement, the message is very sweet and is a bit of magic itself. My one hesitation about it, though, is that I generally think of magic, real magic, as being quite rare and we cannot afford to have kindness be rare like that. Hmm, maybe the point is that kindness has the power to transform, as if by magic. Yes, that’s better.

The third message was the oddest one, and the sloppiest (by far). Someone wrote on the edge of the sidewalk by the grass in smeary black capital letters “IMPEACHY” with an upside-down smiley face at the end. Who the hell knows why the “Y” is there at the end and lord knows why the smiley face was tagged on. It’s almost as though someone got carried away with the thought that impeaching you would be peachy keen and realized they’d messed up the message so added the upside down smiley face to let passersby know they knew they’d messed up. And of course I’m probably over thinking it and they were just being silly. But seriously, it would be peach keen, and a whole lot of other positives, if the House would get going on an impeachment inquiry, or just go for it and start impeachment hearings. That would occasion a whole lot of smiley faces, for sure.

May we be safe to walk.
May we be happy to connect with one another.
May we all have life circumstance that support health and well-being.
May we know peace and the transforming magic of kindness.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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