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  • Writer's pictureBernard Beitman, MD

Two Strangers Cross Paths in a Forest; a Coincidence Blooms

Make your life a musical. Sing where you are!

Two strangers are about to pass each other on a forest trail in the city of Malden, Massachusetts.

I needed a woods walk and stumbled upon this trail, while visiting from Virginia. After the walk I would return to the house of my son and his family.

Feeling good! Singing love songs to the rhythm of my strides. The man approaching me, appears happy and greets me warmly. We stop. I say: Life could be a musical.

He: Are you saying that because I was singing? I: No, I was singing. He: I was singing. I: No, I was singing. He: I was singing.

(This pleasant argument goes on for a while. We could not hear the other one singing because each of us was singing.) He: What song were you singing? I: “How important can it be, that I’ve tasted other lips. That was long before you came to me with the wonder of your kiss.” He: Lovely. I: What were you singing? He sings his song. I join him for the last few notes. He: Why don’t you join our male acapella group as a baritone? I: I don’t live here. Thanks for inviting me. He: That was an easy invitation. Singing in the woods was a giveaway. He: What’s your name? I: Bernhardt (we had spoken a little German with each other). He: A long story about my father who had earned a doctorate in Germany in 1933 just as the Nazis were limiting Jewish opportunities. He was an anti-fascist and got beaten up a lot. He moved to Israel, made up a name and continued to write against the Nazis. My mother allowed him to give me this name. For that reason my children are David and Sarah. We say a warm goodbye.

I tell my son the story. He cuts me short and says the man’s name and describes him accurately. The man is a member of my son’s synagogue.

Ah, the joy of accidentally finding a friend of my son!

Was it an accident? Upon hearing the story, the rationalists dismissed the meaning, focusing on probabilities. The intuitives embraced the dance of it. Was there a rhythm each of us singers was following? I think so. Your choice to hear it. If you don't listen, its not there.

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