I wish i could stop myself, arrest my forward motion, always in a rush the way i am, to be there for someone who is calling on me, in a hallway, on the street, out in the front yard or on the sidewalk heading to or from work or errands. Often they call and they always have. Years ago i stopped stopping for them, to give them my time and attention, no, i taught myself not to give my presence and maybe only a smile or not, giving nothing else but a smattering of words, before making my way to the next destination in a rush. i was usually in a rush. i still am. but it was more than that, i was also fearful and guarded of people from a young age, you see, i was the exact same age as the first kid whose face was plastered on the side of every whole milk carton back in the 1980’s. those kinda happenings were iconic then and remembered dearly today, too, for they changed the operation of many a nuclear family, and likely the percentage of latchkey kids fell down for a moment, as mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles began to watch a touch more closely their kids. all i remember is i was called home many early evenings when i preferred to be out wandering the streets with my young friends. i thought surely when i reached double digits i could be trusted to come home in my own time, but nope it rarely happened. sure there was a lot of freedom, after all, this was america and this was new hampshire and this was live free or die country. so i did my fair share of wandering, skateboarding around playing cards, chewing bubble gum, and making out with other kids. still, guardedness got drilled into my dna and today it takes a concerted effort to open my heart to anyone at any time, for i always feel like many particles of magnet being sucked north. there must be a mantra in my head to help me along back into my original open and giving ways. give free or die! that’s the one! i found it! now to put it in motion and change my life, i cannot wait! to start stopping for them again! fresh! to stop when i think i am in a rush and ask myself, why, katya, are you in such a rush? where really do you think you oughta be at this moment? can it not be here? with this one who is calling upon you in a simple greeting and willing to stop and give themselves freely to you? are you not honored? and can you not stop also and honor them with your presence? give of yourself freely today? what is the cost of all these moments in the halls, on the sidewalks of the world, in the streets, in the parks? the cost, my friend, is the life itself. for what is living if not sharing and loving and caring? these small exchanges, when widened and opened and made space for, they are the life! are they not? please, give free or die, i pray that i may answer the call of my people in the world, and today may i be with you. for you are all i really have, and i am yours.