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This starts with a snowstorm.

It was a recent one, the big and unexpected snowstorm that bombarded the northeast during the end of February. About six hours into the snowfall I realized it wasn’t going to end, so I trudged uphill to the only bar I knew would be open. I grabbed a few beers and a growler to go.

I don’t live in the friendliest area of Philadelphia, but that night? Man, every single person I passed greeted me. We all shared that look of, “Holy shit, you’re out in this too?” It was a genuine feeling of camaraderie. At the same time it was a bit frustrating that it took a god damn snow storm to bring us together.

The Picture

I don’t say it with any pride, but I’m a redditor. I saw the image used above this past weekend and fell in love with it.

Let’s cut through the BS and be honest; we live in an era where bullshit is standard and lies are expected. I’m not talking politics. I’m talking about amazing creams that banish pimples from your flesh, or cruelty-free and naturally-based foods that we can eat without guilt. I’m talking about musicians who peddle the performances of pieces they never wrote. Even our protests and fights against “the man” are doctored and modified to feed into whatever fifteen-minutes-of-fame we’re attracted to this week.

And then there’s this message.

One Race: Human.

It reminds me of mixed martial artist’s Genki Sudo’s message, “We are all one”.  It’s what I experienced in the snowstorm.

All of the people I encountered were folks sharing that same, ridiculous experience of being on foot during a genuine ‘Nor’easter. Even at that bar. We might have been at the only bar that was open, but we were also a bunch of folks putting up with the same onslaught of bullshit.

In times of trouble, people will find common ground. Don’t forget the folks who stayed at home sharing common ground with their neighbors who made the same choice, even if they didn’t recognize it.

We’re All In It Together

This is a common theme in my story. There’s so much distension in our day-to-day that seeks to drive wedges between us. We don’t need more “I’m special and unique!” messages. Nah, we need messages that say, “We’re all in this together!”.

Don’t mistake this for Communist Manifesto BS, because it isn’t that. This is a reflection that when we’re putting up with an ugly and vicious storm, we’re always able to find common ground. Sometime’s it’s because we’re sharing a beer, and sometime’s it’s because we’re hunkering down.

When you read this, please don’t take the words too closely to heart. That’s not my intent. Instead I want you to keep in mind that we’re all of us going through this shit together, so we’re better off sticking together.

Even if our only common ground is walking to a bar in a snowstorm.

Matt Suwak
About the Author

Matt Suwak was reared by the bear and the bobcat and the coyote of rural Pennsylvania. This upbringing keeps him permanently affixed to the outdoors where most of his personal time is invested in bird watching and hiking. He presently resides in Philadelphia and works during the day as a landscaper and gardener, and by night a freelance writer. He can throw a football ten miles from a stationary position and has grappled mountain lions and lived to tell about it. The lions cannot say the same.

His other writing can be found at www.heyplantguy.com

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