Picture 14

I think her name was Katherine, on her way to a haircut. She was up front, just boarded, watching bright-eyed as I greeted the masses on the 10. We were talking about positive energy. I was telling her what I often say, about how when you put a lot of yourself out there, you get a lot back (this is one of my reasons for picking the routes I do; why is the heavy work so much more conducive?).

“Yeah,” she said, listening. “It gets magnified by the universe and then it comes back to you.”
“Yeah, and– wow,” I said abruptly, more carefully registering her thought. “That’s a great way of putting it, magnified by the universe. I’d never thought of it in those words.”

I repeated it, to make sure I’d gotten it right. The notion that the energy we put out there didn’t just simply come back, but that it underwent a process by simple virtue of existing in our world. Of course, I thought. Our efforts and perception return to us colored and seasoned by the pulsing universe, coming back around as something fresh, de novo, unexpected… and yet also, yes, vaguely familiar, that distant echo of ourselves we’d feel lost without. We are the world we see.

She shrugged a natural smile, youthful and easy, tossing her braid back like it wasn’t any big thing.

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Nathan Vass is an artist, filmmaker, photographer, and author by day, and a Metro bus driver by night, where his community-building work has been showcased on TED, NPR, The Seattle Times, KING 5 and landed him a spot on Seattle Magazine’s 2018 list of the 35 Most Influential People in Seattle. He has shown in over forty photography shows is also the director of nine films, six of which have shown at festivals, and one of which premiered at Henry Art Gallery. His book, The Lines That Make Us, is a Seattle bestseller and 2019 WA State Book Awards finalist.