Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Bounty of the Highway Ditch



At one particular spot on my daily commute where four highways merge in a tangle, debris seems to accumulate.
Each week has its own theme. One time, it was an entire wardrobe, strewn for hundreds of yards: shoes, underpants, sweaters and dress shirts. Often, there is furniture.
I have followed (at a safe distance) a pickup with a dresser on the back. As the drawers rattled out and shattered on the dotted line, one by one, the driver continued on his way, oblivious.
The week after that, a series of smashed windshields lay in drifts of mini shampoo bottles. How could this have happened? I imagine a tractor-trailer full of shampoo, battling its way toward the I-76 on ramp. The glass truck refusing to yield…Boom! Suddenly we have a modern art installation right there on the highway.
On the guardrail, half of a manufactured home has split open like a hot dog bun, appliances spilling out. That's a lot worse than a tree branch through the roof.
In our bountiful country, you could find anything you wanted on the side of the highway. It's there for the picking. But I think most people would rather go to the store and pay. It's safer than doing wind sprints in 70 mile-per-hour traffic. Plus, the stuff at the store doesn't have tire tracks on it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lava


Ecclesiastes has done it all and had it all, and it was for shit. So you shouldn't even bother. He said, "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was before us."

I get it: the sun just keeps rising and setting, the wind blows in circles. You can't trust anybody.  And after all your struggles, you can't take anything with you when you die.

It does seem pretty pointless.

But what if it's the opposite?

Think of lava, bubbling up from the core of the earth, spilling into the sea to form new land. In this way, we are all built of the raw material of the universe. And in a way, each of us in wonderfully new and unique: new land.

But also in a sense, we can never die, never fail, never be alone.

Because underneath, we are all lava.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Letter to Infinity


Dear Infinity (or whatever you're calling yourself these days),

We're sick of your bullshit and we're not going to take it any more. You think you're so special with your mind-blowingness. But that doesn't give you the right to invade everybody's time and space, ignoring common sense, the laws of physics and etiquette.

Why don't you just butt out?

What was wrong with black and white, good and bad, now and then, paper or plastic?

We want our little worlds back: places where things are predictable and we don't have to make all of these decisions. What good can come from confusing us, thrusting your chaos into everybody's business? We don't need your leading questions and your irreverent attitude.

Stop trying to make us wonder. All that effort, and for what? It's not like we'll ever be able to understand your hoity-toity perfection or that bullshit about oneness.

We like our suburbs and our mini-malls and our televisions, and we don't need whatever it is you're pushing unless it will defend our homes against intruders.

So just go back wherever you came from and leave us alone.

Sincerely,

The Whole World

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Synchronicity


Synchronicity is more than just coincidence. It's an inside joke with the universe.

It's when you miss your plane, only to be rescheduled on a flight that arrives earlier.

It's tripping over the one rock in a field of scree that turns out to be an ancient fossil.

It's finding the book with the wisdom you need, lying face-up on a desert highway.

It's when you and your beloved meet by chance in the cereal aisle of a grocery store miles from home.

It's the frozen waterfall that collapses above you, yet leaves you untouched.

It's the strange dog that appears at your knee in a blizzard and leads you to safety.

Like an inside joke, synchronicity is a sign of affinity: affinity with the universe. A clue that you might be able to work with the universe to make your thoughts materialize. Sometimes.

And yes, all of these things happened to me.