We were driving back from the Iwo Jima Memorial on Friday, after being frozen to the bone by the unexpected cold and wind. I gazed out the window for the half mile home, and when we passed under a bridge, I saw a man. Granted, I only saw him for a second as we zoomed down the highway, but that glimpse sent chills down my spine, and not the negative connotation that we usually give to chills, but a feeling of wonder, understanding, and a glimpse at fully understanding the world I suppose. The man was sitting with his back to the concrete, two black trash bags to either side of him, a massive graffiti tag taking up the concrete bridge support behind him. I couldn't see his face, the hood cast it in shadow, but that didn't seem like a bad thing at the time, it made sense, especially in the context.
I'm not going to lie, I can tell when someone is homeless, and I have no delusions about why and how they got in that condition, but something about this man struck me. He's someone who knows more hardships than we can imagine, and endures more pain in a week than most of do in a year. But he still manages to survive. When the disaster happens, and our society collapses, he'll live, and will probably have a thing or two to teach us about survival. I suppose I viewed that man as the mountaintop hermits, living in remote areas, at the top of mountains, but still possessing wisdom beyond our own, and imparting it on those willing to make the pilgrimage to the top. Now, I'm not going to go digging around under bridges looking for hermits, but I feel as though I ave a better sense of understanding, albeit misplaced.