He spit another sunflower seed shell. It tumbled, point over curve, tick-tick-tick down the glass panes and metal framing, finally tumbling into a groove and sliding down to the gutter.
“You realize one day they’re going to catch you doing that,” she stated matter-of-factly, and took another bite into her lunch wrap.
“They won’t either,” he replied amiably, popping another few seeds into his mouth. “I’ve been doing this for years now. And I clean them up, once or twice a month. Amazing how many seeds a man can eat.”
“Or, you know, you could spit them in a cup,” she continued, undeterred, “so you don’t have to go pick them up.”
“But then I’d have to carry the cup down and throw that away.”
“Instead of drolling all over the dome of the basilica.” She sighed. “Doesn’t that strike you as, oh, maybe a bit sacreligious?”
“You have to believe in something first if you want to sacrilege it.”
“That’s not a verb.”
“Sure it is.”
She smiled. As much as he did get on her nerves from time to time, she did enjoy their basilica-top lunches once or twice a week, while they were up there doing regular maintenance work.
“Surely you believe in something,” she persisted.
“I believe in now,” he said simply. “Reality.”
“And yet, you work for a church.”
“No,” he countered. “I work for a building.”
“But don’t you…” she let out a breath. “I don’t know. Forget it.”
“What?” He asked, glancing over at her. When she made eye contact, he spit a few more shells, and winked.
She groaned. “Forget it.”
“Fine.” She stared out across the countryside, seeking out the words. “I just think that everybody’s got to believe in something. Something that explains what happened in their past, or guides them to their future.” She leaned back on her hands and looked up at the sky. It was no closer to her now than when she was on the ground. “Don’t you have hope?”
“Sure I do,” he replied. “But I don’t get hung up on what I can’t change. The past, the future, what could have been, what should be,,, none of that does any good to me now, does it?”
She shrugged. “I guess not.”
“You guess?” He sat up, setting his empty lunch wrapper beside him. “You know it. Why worry about what you can’t change? Live here, today. It’s all you’ve got.”
“Tomorrow will take care of itself.” Another shell, ticking its way down the building.
She nodded thoughtfully. “Fair,” she acknowledged. “It will. It always does.”
“Of course it does.”
“You know what won’t take care of itself?” she asked.
“Those sunflower shells.”
Source: This blog series is inspired by the book “Earth from Above: 365 Days” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Click here to read more about my Creation365 series.
The top picture is from “Ivory Coast. Yamoussoukro. Dome of the Basilica of Peace.”
Arthus-Bertrand, Yann, Isabelle Delannoy, and Christian Balmes. 2005. The Earth from above: 365 days. New York: Harry N. Abrams