I would have preferred someone else to have been in charge of rescuing this story, but once again life has taught me that my role is to be a witness, not the leading actor.  —Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Parking Lot

Last weekend, I had to take my dog to the hospital. I wasn’t allowed inside, of course, because of Covid-19. I had to hand him over to the vet tech and wait in the car. I sat in my parking spot, staring at the tree directly in front of my windshield. The leaves were just unfurling, miniature purple maples. A gray bird with a rose chest perched on a branch, and I thought about the purpose of life. The tree was so lovely that I wondered if it might be enough to simply observe the tree. If that might be a purpose.

A Tree Falls

We are the witnesses that make sure the tree is heard.

A zen koan echoed through my mind: If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? And then I realized that observing the tree and how being a writer or an artist means being a witness. We witness beauty, joy, sadness, beginnings, endings—moments large and small, in worlds real and imagined. We are the witnesses that make sure the tree is heard.

Your Story Matters

Whatever your story might be at this moment, it is important. Both your personal story and the story you are telling are valuable. When we say that one person can’t change the world, remember that each person is a world—a whole universe—unto him or herself. Whenever you have an impact on someone, you are changing a world. So please keep working on discovering and telling it. Even if the person you impact is yourself.