All through the vigil that I held - helpless to do more - while all my family and countless cherished friends waited, with humour, courage, and in some cases, indifference - to see if the hurricane that was headed in their path would, indeed be the 'hurricane of the lifetime' - or if it would end up being downgraded to a tropical storm. An over reaction. And all through that time, one song kept going through my head:
With my father already gone, my brother had found himself, like that old cliche, to be the 'man in the house', and had to make choices about where to take his daughter, and our mother. And I felt for him, and supported whatever he chose, and he made the right choice. And all that time, waiting for the storm to come, and to pass, this song, continually playing through my head, because he is my only brother, and because I love this song.
The same day we went to Kew Gardens, and took the photos of me in the pale green dress, I stumbled on this man, in the feathered hat. I have no idea what he was doing with that iPad - I had just stepped out into the sunshine, and he was part of a very large group from somewhere in Africa, speaking a language I didn't understand. I just followed him for a few minutes, trying to see what he was seeing, and photographed what I thought he saw.
I remember watching To Kill a Mockingbird with my parents, and my baby sister, before my brother was born. It was the first film, first grown up film, I saw, and my dad was so like Atticus Finch. So my memory of the line 'you don't really know a man til you've walked in his shoes' is forever blended between coming from Atticus, or my dad.
When Frida mentioned me doing a post on Kew (ONE post - these just go on forever, it seems), she asked me to mention about the 'different worlds' exhibits. And - since this was just the day after Irene left my loved ones alone - all I could hear, over and over, was this song.
And I will probably never know this man's name, but I will always remember him, fondly. I have a new word for the day: empathy.