Harald

This is the short story of my encounter with Harald. It would never have happened if it wasn’t for the girl you see in this picture. She didn’t drop a coin by Harald’s feet, but stopped and gave him a few minutes of her time and attention. Only seconds before, I had passed by him giving him nothing but a smile. Seeing this girl do better made me return, after she had left.

I ask him first his name. “Harald, like our king”, he replies. Harald has sweet eyes and a warm smile. His face and hands bear all signs of years spent outside. Without me even asking, Harald tells me that he left his house many years ago, to see the world and experience life. He hasn’t slept inside since, he says. Houses are not meant for humans. Trees should be home. Pigeons know that. Houses and paper are bad, all paper: newspapers, documents, politics, bureaucracy.. nothing matters. Only trees, and pigeons.

I ask him if he’s cold (it’s 5 below freezing this evening) and if he eats enough. He’s used to the cold and every day manages to collect enough food, only vegetables though: animals should not be eaten. I ask if I can take a photo of him, to tell his story. He says he had a camera once, with film in it. He understands that I like to take photos, but photos are also paper and paper is bad. I respect that, no photo, Harald. I will remember you anyway.

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