Riding Metro-North. With Missionary Man.

What does it take to sit? No, I mean Sit. Not sit with your iPhone. Or sit with your iPad.  Or sit with your book. Or sit with your paper.

Just Sit.

He was in the window seat in a three seater. I took the aisle. The middle seat was empty.

It’s a one hour ride on the third train of the morning, the 5:56 Metro North to Grand Central, an Express.

His hands rested on his lap. There was nothing particularly distinguishing. Black loafers. Smart black coat. Black slacks. Thin brown leather case, comfortably worn.

He would occasionally glance out the window. And then return, looking straight ahead.

Man at Peace, of normal height and weight, casting a mountain of a shadow.

My hands would not, could not reach for my earbuds. The iPhone heavy, an anvil. My case, stuffed with other electronics and power cords, and papers, a barrel under arm.

I’m restless, fidgety, and shift in my seat — left, right, and back again. And do over. And over. And over.

I want to be that. Him.

The train arrives at Grand Central. He waits until the car clears and walks down the tunnel, alone. At an even keeled pace. He turns and heads up the escalator.

I glance at my watch: 6:55 am. Running late for my early morning call.

I look back up the escalator. He’s gone.

I exit out the double doors onto Madison, and get hit with a gust of cold air. Missionary Man vs. Man on a Wire?  

I pause at the cross walk at 6th Avenue. Peace. Peace. Peace. Peace Train.

No idea how it lands, but it lands… Peace Train…I twist in my ear buds, find the tune on the smart phone, and crank the volume. I’m two blocks from the Office.

Now I’ve been smiling lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun
Oh peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Come on now peace train
Yes, peace train holy roller
Everyone jump upon the peace train
Come on now peace train

I push through the revolving doors at the office, toss the earbuds and phone into my bag…and walk down the corridor…feeling…lighter


Man for a Moment…



  1. you walked in peace. at least for a moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Man, oh man, I ADORE these posts… I want to be Him too
    Of course I had to go get the song – you put it in my head. You must have a HUGE selection of music on that there phone of your’n… A friend of mine has thousands. I have. None.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. He was just there to remind you Peace is possible when we allow it 🙏🏻😇

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank David, you have given me an idea for my book there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 1st: I liked the other photo better, the one with a man lying comfortably on the street, head on his documentary case….
    2nd: Peace is such an elusive ‘thing’. I’ve found it and find it often but heck, it’s hard to keep it going in this rushed world. Also one has to be at peace with oneself first to be able to ‘live it’ (don’t know if I’m expressing myself coherently)
    I find peace is very hard to keep in big cities, much easier in already pleasant surroundings…. but work sadly isn’t where one would like to be able to live in peace!
    Beautiful, beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so observant (on photo swap). Never missing anything. So impressive. Peace is hard to find in the city. That’s why the parks and sitting areas are always crowded. Tranquility amidst the noise. Thank you Kiki.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The quest continues, pal. Maybe a meditation tape or app on your phone in addition to the music? Whatever you do, keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Baby steps…to get to the point where being in the moment isn’t a momentary occurrence. Music can get you there (Cat Stevens can…listen to Moonshadow too) – and it even has an effect that extends past the song.
    How’d that guy find his way there? If you see him again, ask him. His story would be share-worthy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Peace, glorious peace means sitting on a train, watching the scenery go by and listening the rhythm of the train on the tracks, and not having to listen to people talking loudly on their mobile phone, or playing music so loudly you can hear it hissing out their earphones, or clicking on keyboards, or squawking with friends at the top of their voices about their relationships, sex lives, and drunken nights out!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you David…a morning meditation…love the photo with him in repose, sun shining on him…beautiful writing, profound appreciation…your healing is extending to us!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I often just sit. Stare at the sky. Look out the window.

    It’s challenging now — counter-cultural — to BE STILL.

    In the summer of 2011 my husband dragged me (yes) to a 7 day silent retreat. That meant no speaking for seven days. Much listening (it was Buddhist teachings.) Much sitting. I sat for an hour in the garden in the sunshine watching a naughty rabbit eat lettuce. It changed me for good (and better).

    It takes practice to be calm and slow down and be still.

    It’s worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. And maybe that guy was a satisfied serial killer reviewing his sport. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a great encounter…and loved the record of it! On a side note: When I went to YouTube to listen to the song I hadn’t heard in a long time, there was an ad (I don’t have You Tube Red). The title was “calm dog classes”. An omen?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You, and we through you, have met some extraordinary people on your morning commutes. I look forward to them. Happy Valentine’s Day, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love your post as usual…but I found myself wondering how Observer Man was observing Man at Peace when you were both sitting in the same direction. I can just see you looking from the corner of your eye, or stealing a glance with every shift in position. So glad you made it to a place of peace in the end, for just a few minutes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Yes, lovely David. It becomes more difficult with entrenched habits, but not impossible to learn. To sit. Some find groups the way to learn this. I learned it in my early 20’s by moving to the woods of Maine alone. I thought I would go insane. I mean, no phones at All, and I didn’t own a tv. And keeping warm all winter was a full-time occupation. But somehow I knew I had to learn this thing, to be with myself. To sit Still. And I was pretty shut down at that time. But still I knew. Somehow. I remember driving into town, repeating mantras over and over again. Just to clear my mind of its constant habitual rambling. I really thought i would go mad. But I didn’t. I learned to Be. It took at least a decade, but I did, bit by bit, empty Out. Now I cannot imagine anything more nourishing than sitting alone in the middle of nowhere, gazing out over the ocean. Or mountain or fields. Maybe with the dogs, if they behave themselves 😉 xo

    Liked by 1 person

  17. We have so much going on in our lives. Sometimes it’s hard to stop the brain long enough to relax a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

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