Our Insignificance

If you have ever been on a plane, if you have ever look up at the stars late in the night, if you have ever stood on a mountain looking down below, if you have ever stood on the top of a building and looked out into the city, or if you have ever stood on a beach looking out toward the ocean, then you might know what i’m talking about.

A tree, a forest, the earth, our galaxy, millions of other galaxies, the universe, they are all so much bigger than we are. We fool ourselves into believing we know about these things around us. Really though, we know around 0.001% of what there is to know.

Looking out of an airplane especially gives me the feeling of insignificance. There is something reassuring about knowing how insignificant you are. Although, at first glance, it may seem that its upsetting to realize this, when you look closer, you can find it reassuring.

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Not being insignificant to other people, and feeling that you have no purpose in this world. That is not what I mean.

Its being insignificant compared to the universe. It can put your problems at perspective. When i’m having a particularly bad day, I think, ‘how bad is this really. This is nothing compared to the universe.’ I feel as small as an ant. Smaller even. And that puts me at ease. Because compared to the size of everything surrounding me, maybe my problem isn’t as big as it seems.

But however small I am, I am part of a whole. However small I am, I am part of the universe. However small I am, I am a tiny building block, a piece in the huge structure that is our world, our universe.

-Thought number 1 of my complicated mind (Shanee Krichely)

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The Man with the Bracelet on his Hand

Today, one of those things happened to me that gets my brain rolling. A small, seemingly insignificant event, that I think about for days after, that changes my way of thinking just a little bit. It happened as I was walking home from my first ballet class in 3 years.

Holding my phone in my hand, and earbuds blasting a song into my ears, I prepared to cross a fairly big street, when a middle aged man who had almost reached my end of the street I was standing on, but hadn’t made it yet, fell down.

He was walking with a bit of a limp, and had black, short and fuzzy looking hair. He was African American, and was wearing a dark grey shirt and jeans. A pretty simple outfit, and the only addition was a white plastic bracelet that stood out against his skin. 

He had crossed the street slowly, and I hadn’t noticed him, until, a few steps away from me, his eyes closed and he sort of collapsed. His eyes fluttered open after a few seconds, and he started muttering. Immediately, I felt my heart lurch, and my first panicky thought was that I should call 911 and 311 immediately, but I sort of just stood there, half shocked, like I had felt when my uncle had fainted, a few months ago. Sort of in between reality and something else, not really knowing what to do. Meanwhile, the crossroad light had turned red, and the light for the cars driving, and they started to move.

I  looked around frantically, and saw that the people near me, who had most definitely seen something, look nowhere near as panicky as I felt. They were adults, they should know what to do in a situation like this, shouldn’t they? Some were glancing to and from the man, looking uncomfortable, and others had just gone back to their phones. Has that ever happened to you. Not a random man half fainting in front of you, but more just feeling amazed about the way society can act sometimes. Did they not realize that a man was lying in front of them, in a perfect position to get run over?

As soon as the light turned red for the other cars, I walked toward him, which only took a couple of steps. As I stood reaching for his hand, another woman and man ran up behind me as well, and I gave a weak grin, thankful for their help. If you live in NY, or any other big city, you most likely see people who are homeless, or are in need of help sometimes. I do feel guilty for this, but when I do see them, I feel pity and guilt, as well as disgust, and I always wish I didn’t. I shouldn’t feel disgust when they have most likely gone through so much more then I could possibly imagine. But for this guy, I didn’t feel any disgust at all. I just wanted to help him make it to the sidewalk. 

I took his hand, and the woman took the other hand, and we pulled him up. The man was supporting him from behind, and slowly, we helped him walk to the sidewalk. He kept mumbling that he needed a hospital, or that he had just gotten out of the hospital. I couldn’t tell, and I didn’t know how to react to his mumbling. All I knew what that he needed to get him as far away from the street as possible. As soon as he sat down on a bench by the diner nearest to the there, I turned back to the street, intending to cross, but the light was red.

Then, as I was waiting for the light to change, I heard the man asking the guy who had helped him up if he could buy him food, because he was weak and needed something to give him energy. When the light turned green, I walked away from the spot, fast, because I didn’t want to feel guilty about not helping him further. I didn’t want to wonder that if I had had enough money, would I have bought the man a sandwich. I had only been one small factor in his life. A girl who had lifted him off the street, and then walked away. I wondered what the rest of his day, week, year and life would be like.

I’ll never know, but I guess it doesn’t really matter. We were simply two people who’s lives had collided for a few seconds, like everyone else you see on the streets. Except that something happened that made it so that I wouldn’t forget him as easily. 

Kids in the Himalayas

This spring, of 2018, me and my father went to Nepal, and we trekked through the Himalayas for 2 weeks. The himalayas were amazing, the views, the mountains, and the experience especially. I also noticed the people living where we were only visiting. Mostly, the children.

The children in Nepal have chocolate brown skin, that varies from light to dark. Many of them are covered in mud and dirt, from working or playing. They look like they get enough to eat, but they surely don’t get too many treats. The kids, and in general the people in Nepal, are over all shorter than people in NY. My father, a photographer (timor@timorrazphoto.com) took pictures of them along the way, and they have a completely different way of life than we do, than I do. Sometimes, when he tried to take a picture of them, they would shake their heads no at him, and he would stop. However, more often than not, the young girls and boys, and sometimes teenagers, would stop what they were doing, and turn to smile at him for a picture.

Some were shy, though those who weren’t requested to see the pictures he took of them. He showed them, and they would laugh in delight. They liked the buttons, and the high tech equipment. I noticed how many of them would ask politely, after my dad took their picture, if we had chocolate that we could give them.

The first few days, we said no, because our chocolate was buried underneath many things in our bags. After I kept noticing this, one day while we were preparing to leave the lodge for that days trek, I put the chocolate near the top of the bag, so that day, we handed out pieces of chocolate to some of the kids, and when we gave a piece to them, they smiled and looked all excited. Most of them said thank you to us, in a heavy accent, then ran away, while others simply smiled shyly and took it from our hands.

One encounter We were at the very end of our trip, and we had ten minutes left until we reached our hotel. It was around 5:30 PM, and it had been a long trek that day. We were walking into Namche Bazar, for the second time, as we were on our way back from Gokyo. There are a bunch of steps leading into the village, and before them, there is a path by the school and some houses. Passing one of these houses, there are two young kids, one boy and girl, playing together next to the steps of a shop, where above that was probably their house. Their dad was sitting on the steps, watching them with a smile on his face.

For their game, they were picking up litter from the floor, like beer bottles, soda cans, and water bottles left there by trekkers walking by. They were setting 10 of them up like bowling pins would be set up, and then rolling a teared up tennis ball toward them to knock them over. The boy would set them up, and the girl would roll the ball, then the girl would set them up and the boy would roll. We watched them, and when we walked by, my dad asked their dad if he could take a picture, then asked them.

 

When we walked away, I told my dad, “that’s the best thing I’ve seen on this trip.” I don’t think it is the best, but I did mean it at that moment. The reason I thought this was because it made me realize something. Really realize. Every single person has their own way of looking at things.

I have a pretty strong opinion against littering, and in general anything that harms nature. I’m so against plastic and trash, and it was interesting to see how these kids used it.

I knew that these kids, actually, they were more toddlers, had no idea of the effects of garbage all over the earth. They were just two siblings who wanted to play. They saw these cans and bottles, and they saw the ball, and for them, that was the makings of a fun game. It was interesting to think of how we both looked at the same thing. To me, that trash on the floor of nature was horrible, while they look at it with imagination, something to create a game out of.

I compared it to New York, America, and so many other places in the world where kids have toys bought for them, handed to them. These kids saw what was in front of them. Garbage to me, but to them, it was material for a game. And I thought that was beautiful.