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Influential People

The other night, like every night, I prepared myself and my old house for bed. I let the dog out and filled her dishes on the side porch with food and water. I walked to the outbuilding and turned the outside light on, shooting a gray glowing cone downward through the faint mist in front of the building.


The moon and stars were hidden by the clouds, and though the night was cool, the mosquitoes were vicious and the air smelled like rain. I rolled up the windows on the truck, let the dog back in the side door, walked around to the back porch and closed the storm window on the back porch door after I had entered.


I walked through the kitchen turning off the light above the stove as I passed. I left the windows in the house open to the cool air. I knew if it stormed, I would wake up anyway. I walked to the bedroom, undressed, and as I crawled into bed I stopped for a minute to look out the window above my bed like I always do.


As I looked into the night toward the northwest; where the farm access road that runs in front of my old house crosses the township road at the top of a slight hill about a quarter of a mile from my bedroom window; a green glow began to appear in the intersection. It remained for an eerie moment, and then disappeared as a pair of car headlights cleared the hill and turned north along the township road.


It has been a good wet August. The corn on both sides of the access road is a full six feet tall and as vivid green as I have ever seen it. It was only the chance meeting of car headlights, green corn, and a misty night, that produced the green glow. It was no mystery, just an ordinary living thing accidentally coloring an ordinary night.


Our world is full of influential people. Whether they convince, coerce, deceive, patronize, bully, or sell us; they consciously influence us by force. We often call influential people great. They are not great, only influential. Show me a man with a life so vibrant that it colors and changes the world around him accidentally. That man has no need to influence me. That man has only to live. That man is great.

T M Malo