After my last blog, The Black Snow Queen, appeared, my daughter, Aeron Hansen, wrote this beautiful essay. I want to share it with my readers:
Is every trip to the market the same? Sometimes it can feel like you’re just going through
the motions, since it’s a regular task, but each visit offers a slightly different experience,
and often times, a touch of humanity from someone who warms your heart, makes you
feel alive, connected and excited about shopping for produce. Each time I go to Top
Banana, a simple produce stand by my home, Dan, the produce guy, will say, “Hi Aeron,
how’s it going?” He will ask me if I want a sample of something juicy and ripe that’s
recently came in. The last time I was there, I sampled an unknown melon that looked like
a honeydew had made a melon baby with a cantaloupe. Dan, who resembles a hobbit,
with his stocky stature, untamed curls, scruffy face and chubby cheeks, shoots me a
warm grin every time I see him. I always leave that place with a warm heart and a
bit of produce: a fun fact.
Today, about one week after the shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota
and the five white policemen in Dallas, I set off for a 4-mile run, to the place where my
soon to be husband and I run most of the time – my daughter’s middle-school track and
field. I set out to clear my mind of the internal chatter – I’m worried about my daughter’s
trip to cater an event with strangers tomorrow, what if something horrible happens to her?
I should have done a background check, oh I’m sure they are kind people, but people do
messed up things, look at the recent events in our country and in countries targeted by
Isis. Will it ever end? We are also in the midst of the most twisted presidential election.
It’s hard to comprehend Trump becoming our next president. He will make things worse
by creating more fear and dividing people. There is too much negative press and my cell
phone is giving me brain damage.
Steadily, at about a 9.5 minute mile pace, I run the track while getting passed in spurts by
a strong, athletic African American man with bulging biceps and calves. We work the
track in melodic intervals, me in a steady cadence and him passing me with speed of a
cheetah and grace of a gazelle, and then coming to a stop, which allows me to catch up
and then pass him. We didn’t make eye contact.
At one point, I watched him running from the other side of the track, and I thought to
myself, how are black people reacting to this movement of Black Lives Matter? Is it
demeaning in any way to have a national campaign support a group of people that belong
here? It’s the year 2016. We have made much progress over the years. Why do black
people need a rally cry that their lives matter? We, as a nation, seem to have surpassed
racism and hate on a broad scale, but unfortunately people of different races, religions,
gender and sexual orientation are still mistreated. Our nation is made up of so many
races, which is what makes our nation diverse and rich. All lives matter. Yet with the
recent shootings and media coverage on racism, it seems like we have taken a few steps
back. I felt compassion, confusion and a deep sadness as well as hope, running around
the track with this man.
Soon I noticed a young, bright-eyed boy, who looked about 8 years old, walking up the
stairs to the track with his family. They looked like immigrants from Somalia, with their
dark skin, slender bodies. They wore nice clothes and the women wore hijabs. The boy
was curious about the running man and watched him with intrigue. I looked at the boy as
I rounded the track and we smiled into each other’s eyes. I felt so present and alive after
receiving the boy’s warm, innocent smile. I made another round and then noticed the
running man was speeding up and was about to pass me on my right. The boy slowly
approached the man on the side of he track, raised his arm and opened his hand. The
man reached out and met his hand as he flew by. I wanted some of that too, so I shifted
my direction so I could get closer to the boy and I reached out and he gave me a
My entire body started to fill up with joy, starting from my feet, then to my belly and up
to my heart, until a few tears rolled down my cheek. My earlier feelings of fear,
worry, and anxiety from all the mind chatter were gone and what had replaced it was
love, hope and a sense of what really matters – human connection. I turned the corner
and saw the running man stretching on the side of the track. He looked up at me and we
gave each other a smile. This boy brought us all together on the track that day. It was a
nice reminder of how human interaction can be so powerful and free from prejudices, hate
or biases. Just every day people reaching out.