from my the house across the street

live, love, laugh, and remember to play everyday!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Drive Time

Here I am, once again, heading down the road in Pearl, my trusty '99 Civic. She and I have been exploring and adventuring for eight years now. A glance at the odometer reminds me of the hours and miles Pearl and I have spent in each other's company. We've done only a couple long-hauls together; most of our trips are under three hours. Others have talked about how bored they get, especially when they travel the same route time and time again.
My drive time is usually my best "thinking" time. I settle in as my body takes over this activity that requires little conscious direction: put on the seatbelt, turn the key in the ignition, move hand to shift into reverse to back out of the driveway, shift again, and begin moving forward. Once I leave the city streets behind, when I no longer have to deal with unmarked intersections and traffic signals changing color, the right side of my brain takes over, and I enter a state in which anything can happen.
Sometimes I mull over puzzling and problematic situations. I might find myself mentally drawing up plans for a creative project, seeing how things will--or won't--come together, trying other approaches and possibilities. With mind wide open, the pieces begin snapping into place, the circuits make their fabulous connections, and the solutions find me.
Other times I ponder things that lead to more pondering.............what is the deal that churches are starting to look more like car dealerships than churches? And what about their huge marquees that tower over the freeway, giving the time and temperature in three versions: on earth, in heaven, and in hell. Or why would someone build a million-dollar home in a place where the view is of the four-lane highway that passes within short walking distance of the front door? Would I scream if I hit a deer on the highway? (Yes!) Why do they build bridges now that prevent me from seeing the creek or riverbed below? The sign at the approach says Peno Creek, North Fork of the South River, or maybe there is no sign. There is a bridge with concrete walls---I assume there is something it passes over, but you can't prove it by me! And do other people think about these things?
Yesterday I drove under a brilliant blue sky, past fields that have been harvested, wooded hillsides and bluffs, and patches of red, yellow and orange scattered here and there. The bright hues, against the deepening blue of a sky at dusk, with the nearly-full moon on the rise, imprinted themselves in my heart. Emotion was stirred, my breath caught sharply in my throat as I felt the swell of tears---how grateful I am that there is such beauty. How lucky I am that I get to carry this image with me, breathing in the colors over and over, letting them fill me up, centering and grounding me in absolute bliss.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sobering Thoughts

Many times, after being delayed, or taking a wrong turn, I think about what the delay may have saved me from. If I had been on time, if I wouldn't have had to backtrack, maybe I'd have been at the place on the highway where a driver crossed the center line. Maybe the delay somehow saved me from something much worse than being late.
Yesterday, I was 15 minutes late leaving the office. I stayed at a home visit 20 to 30 minutes longer than I had planned. When I was finally nearing home, I was delayed yet again: all four lanes of the highway were closed, all I could see ahead in the dusk were the flashing lights of countless emergency vehicles. I waited in my car, in a long line of other cars, and watched while the helicopter landed to airlift someone. After a quarter hour of sitting and waiting, the cars ahead began to move slowly. Some were turning around to go back to the last exit, others---like me---chose to take the county blacktop that twisted and turned and put me back on the four-lane a few miles past the accident.
I use the word accident, but I don't think that's quite right. When I think accident, I think of bumps and bruises, scratches and scrapes. This was much more.............I had quick glimpses of ripped and twisted metal, things that were crushed and smashed until they were nearly unrecognizable. At least two vehicles appeared to have been flung upon the landscape, maybe more. It was hard to tell in the dimming light. And I didn't want to stop and gawk, didn't want to add my car to the many that were stopped on the side road.
Later, it occurred to me that cars must have been crashing into each other about 20 to 30 minutes before I got there. Had I not spent extra time at the home visit, being escorted by a friendly 10 year old to all his favorite places in his magical world, my car could easily have been pitched and flung into the bean fields along with the others. Or maybe not.
Many people spend time thinking about the different things they might have done, the things they shouldn't have done, believing they would have created a much better outcome. I say you can't know for sure. Maybe the outcome would have been far worse. Maybe it would have been the same. No way to know. Just as there is no way to know where I'd have been at the moment cars began crashing had I jumped in the car and sped away rather than enjoying the extra time connecting with that child.
I suppose I like to think that the choices I made yesterday were not made randomly. I like to believe, I need to believe, that my choices affect outcome. I need to believe that, what often appears to be a mistake, a wrong turn, a delay, is somehow positive in the end. Perhaps, all along, I was exactly where I needed to be, doing exactly what I needed to do, at each moment.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Guardians

Mixed media sculpture.

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