This man’s loudest voice is as soft as a whisper. Beaten down by luck or fate or the elements, my friend Bill will talk and talk, but not so he can be heard. His words are more about recognition — letting someone in on the fact that he’s a man, still alive, and not a lifeless fixture like a tree or a bench in the park where he sits. For at least two winters now, he has been out on the streets. A day like today — temps in the 40s, nearing 50 — is an unexpected blessing after nights sleeping on frozen pavement and frosted ground. But it’s a fleeting reprieve. The weather will turn again soon, and while the rest of us retreat inside to jobs we’d rather not have and homes that seem like burdens, we are alive. We speak. People see us. These are bigger things than we realize.