Tales and Insights: Why Are We Here?


Suzanna peers before her at the unlit street light and wonders, contemplates it, why is it here?

Suzanna shifts her gaze to the left and watches the man with a cigar, the one sitting beside her on this park bench in Phoenix, Arizona. She wonders, contemplates the man, why is he here?

Suzanna closes the book of Hemingway poetry she was reading and stands up. She precedes a casual walk around the park on this evening in May. She is only 20 years old, but she already ponders the age old question, why are we here?

Towards the end of her walk, when she is back beside the noisy street of cars, she notices a man lying in the grass under a fichus tree. He is a feeble looking elderly man in ragged clothing. She walks up to the man, filled with curiosity, and stands before him. He does not notice her at first, but after a few moments he feels her presence.

He opens his closed eyes, but says not a word.

Suzanna asks, “Why are you here?” her voice is not rude, but filled with innocent curiosity.

The man raises his eyebrows and responds, “Dear girl, I am here because GOD told me to be.”

“Hmm,” responds Suzanna. She takes in that thought for a moment and then excuses herself and leaves the park.

She strides down the street with a head filled with thoughts, but only one can be put into words. The reoccurring thought is the meaning of existence.

She strolls a few blocks, down an alley, and turns onto another busy street with now a lit streetlight. Ironically, a bench is beside this street lamp. This street is near an apartment complex.

Suzanna sits upon this bench and looks out to the sea of cars and headlights; the vibrant life of a city. She is still pondering that same question, why are we here?

A pigmy owl lands beside her.

She speaks to the owl, “hello there, Owl, why are you here?”

The owl turns his head toward her.

A thought with a voice that she perceives as old wisdom enters her mind. I am here because the wind carried me here.

The owl then flew away.

Goosebumps form upon her skin, but not the scary kind. It was the wind

“Hmm…” she says out loud. She absorbs the words from the invisible voice. She then stands up and heads toward home.

As she turns the corner to the neighborhood where her house is, she notices an older woman who is sitting under the streetlight she is about to pass.

Suzanna smiles and nods a hello to the scraggly haired woman. The woman smiles back, a smile that reaches her droopy eyelids.

As Suzanna walks pass this woman the woman enters into a coughing fit.

Suzanna stops in her tracks and turns toward the woman. She waits for the woman to control herself. As she waits she studies the woman. She takes note of her yellow skin and her thin shape and saggy skin. She appears to Suzanna a being of only skin and bones.

“Hello,” says Suzanna once the woman is through coughing, “why are you here?”

The woman smiles a small smile. She makes eye contact with Suzanna and states, “I am here because I choose to be. My time is coming, I know all I need to know. I learned it this moment.” Her eyes then close.

“Hmm,” says Suzanna. She takes in the woman’s words and a calm feeling seems to enter her soul, and her wandering thoughts cease. Her mind enters clarity, and that seemly unanswerable, or maybe just too many answers, question leaves her mind.

The lady from across the street is now standing outside her house. She notices Suzanna and calls out, “Is everything alright?”

Suzanna speaks calmly, “She has passed on.”

The woman hurriedly went inside.

As Suzanna is standing there a thought enters her quiet mind. There is no one answer to the question of life. Be who you are. The rest will follow suit… there is no answer greater than death. 

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