The midday sun scorched down on the black pavement of the busy streets below forming layers of sweltering heat. The sound of seagulls cawing blended with the screeching of tires and the blaring of car horns. Vendors hollered from the street corners as they hawked newspapers and magazines. Throngs of people, rich and poor, young and old, of all colours, shapes, and sizes, came and went, entering and exiting the busy train station situated in the center of the metropolitan business district.
The beggar man sat adjacent to the entrance of the train station. His worn red satchel lay open in front of him. The multitudes rushed this way and that, all around the beggar man, coming and going, arriving and departing. A well-dressed businessman attired in an all black suit scampered by, hurriedly tossing several coins into the beggar man’s satchel. An elderly woman walking with a cane and a tired limp dropped a few coins into the open satchel as she wandered along. A young woman carrying a book bag leisurely strolled by and stopped for a moment to place several coins in the satchel of the beggar. People from all different walks of life passed the beggar man and tossed money his way. Most did so thoughtlessly. The odd person, like the young woman with the book bag, would take a few moments to stop and take a pause and a breath before giving a little bit of money to the beggar man.
The beggar man observed all people with equanimity. He preferred none to any other. He observed all of these people, the rich and the poor, the young and the old, with the same expression, with the same demeanour, and with the same countenance. He spoke not and he always had a slight smile on his face. Observed carefully enough one would realize that the beggar man bore the silent smile and the glowing eyes of a person who intimately knew the innermost secrets of the universe. One would reach the conclusion that this beggar man had learned the deepest truths of life itself.
The day passed in this manner, as had many prior days and as would many future days. Off to the west, the rays of the setting sun could be seen peeking through the gaps in between the towering buildings. Dusk was now approaching. The beggar man rose slowly. He stretched his arms reverently to the sky and then gently bent down to touch his feet before rising again. He lifted the satchel off of the ground. It was full and heavy. Slinging the satchel over his shoulder he began walking down the crowded sidewalks. The beggar man walked in a slow and carefully measured pace.
After walking down several city blocks the beggar man arrived at the park. An aura of peace and serenity filled the park. Large oaks and majestic elms formed a border along its outside edges shielding it from the frantic pace of the surrounding city. The sight of greenery and the smell of flowers never ceased to please the beggar man. Every day a magnificent feeling of lightness of being and supreme happiness overcame him as he entered this wonderful park.
On this particular evening, many people were enjoying the comfort and quiet company of the flower gardens and the cobblestone walking paths that this natural gem had to offer. Children played boisterously, lovers leisurely strolled arm-in-arm, and the elderly fed the flocks of seagulls. It was as if entering the park was a cue for people to slow down and to appreciate and enjoy the fruits of life a little bit more than they normally did.
In the center of the park stood a majestic water fountain. The fountain was made of white marble and sandstone. A beautiful carving of an angelic being with wings was perched on the summit of the fountain. Water flowed from the narrow top level to the wider lower level creating a large round pool of water. The beggar man approached the fountain thoughtfully and paused upon reaching it. He lowered the heavy satchel on to the ground before raising it again and pouring all of the coins that he had received that day into the fountain. His greatest joy was to help people. He enjoyed helping people to give, for it was in giving that they truly received. There was nothing more that the beggar man enjoyed than helping people to become as free as the birds that soared through the open blue sky.