See that? Even these old rusted out cars aren’t alone. Wonder where they were headed? Seems I read about them travelling somewhere in Asia. An earthquake hit and everyone who was able, evacuated their cars and walked to safety. No one ever retrieved their cars as the road was no longer useable. Cars all crushed and mangled together. It’s been many years since. Vehicles as far as the eye can see. This is prompting me to think way more deeply than I have the time to do so.
Imagine. In each of these cars was at least one person. A life with it’s own intricate story to tell. I have ignorant sounding real world questions to ask; like, did he/she take her keys with her when she started walking? Where did they all go from here? Did anyone arrange for bus transportation? Was it an area where there was even cell service or cell phones? How long ago was this? And when I’m not thinking strategically, it’s beautiful to me…the simplicity, the stillness, the life that has sprung forward witnessed by the greenery; the organized chaos is breathtaking to me. Cars in fairly neat rows. And also it’s quite tragic.
It’s as if pandemonium hit with a sudden blast of fear and panic, crying, wailing, bloodshed, maybe even death. While years later all we see are the leftovers resting peacefully as statues that have rusted and yet remained to tell these people’s stories of a day that made them reprioritize their lives. This is that moment that they told their children and grandchildren about. This was the day that at least one woman despite the shock, thank God, finally made it to the hospital with the aid of a young man who’s car had been flung into hers with such force that he’d been temporarily knocked out. He’d been on his way to his parent’s house to enjoy dinner just prior to this disaster. With his help, she was able to give birth to her first miracle, who she named “Grace” or “Faith” or something fitting to the miracle that it was. This day, memorialized in the form of hundreds of cars trapped together on a road now covered in vines and ferns, bushes and trees, is very possibly someone’s cemetery.
And we all have one thing in common if nothing else. Dead or alive, the beat goes on. Life does not stop for divorces or death or broken hearts or fractured legs or concussions or mental illness or babies or marriages…
That single thought really just blows my mind. There are actually more people than just ME in this world, my world, our world; that (son-of-a-bitch) continuously evolves. What the F? How could I have missed that? I remember that first time that I felt deep enough pain in my very soul that I thought the world must surely have stopped in order that I might just have enough time to collect myself and return to it at my leisure. You know, when I felt sufficiently healed that I might rejoin in a way that would at least contribute something. Anything other than the absolute desolation that one can feel upon realizing that someone or something is gone, never to return in that way ever again.
I think about my beautiful grandmother who I called, Meme. She was the most alive woman I have, to this day, ever met. She died suddenly from a stroke about twelve years ago. I couldn’t get there in time to talk to her, tell her that I adored her and needed her to teach my kids how to sing French songs like she’d always done with us; make her chuckle over my strange observations about human nature; apologize for not finishing the book she’d made me swear to write. Sure, according to my mother, she had a dark side; but not around her grandchildren. To me she was all love and light and life. She was up for anything and wore her clothes with color, which was similar to her personality. I like to say she “lived out loud”. I always said I would do that, live out loud, though I much prefer to work the puppets in back of the stage really. I do have a penchant for her color choices though!
And somehow the world just kept doling out days and nights, one after the other, same time…it seemed so strange to me, too. How could I go through a Thursday anymore…? I called her every Thursday for as long as I could remember. Gone. Wiped out in a matter of minutes. My routine or “normal” all gone.
Then again when my firstborn was three we shared such a moment. This was a kind of anticipatory anxiety; that time and space where you both know that life is never going to be the same routine tidiness again. You feel in your bones that a huge change is coming and it suddenly frightens you. Your impulse is to panic. We only had to look into each others eyes before we cried and held each other tightly on the living room couch. And then I had to go. We separated with me trying to be reassuring while blowing my snotty nose and tear streaming eyes. My mother had arrived to take my place; snuggle with her on the couch we’d been bawling all over.
I cried all the way to the hospital, so pitifully sad that I was altering my first baby’s life so dramatically. And so freaking guilty for not feeling truly joyful for my incoming new love. I was very happy to be having this second child. I had so much more love yet to give, and yet change was beyond belief scary to me and I wasn’t quite ready yet. I was supposed to have two more weeks so I felt cheated. My first baby needed more reassurances from me. My first pull to remain in the present while my future needed my attention. I needed more time. I needed time. I need. time. Never seems to be quite enough of that.
And then to illustrate how utterly ridiculous my brain works, an image of Sonny and Cher springs to my mind-that-refuses-to-sleep. He with his big moustache, longish hippy hair and bell-bottom pants and she with her long silky black, stick-straight hair, shiny skin-tight outfits and go-go boots…and they assure me that, (darnit!) the beat goes on….
My Greeting Card to Those Who Wonder…
Those who wander are not lost, Silly Girl!
You are deep and introspective and creative and nice.
Time increments held in moments you like to stop and give advice;
It’s not your place to yield the world because you need to digest it first.
Let it happen. Sing the verse. Open wide and live it; no need to rehearse.
You say the world moves much too fast, that you need to savor it and belong to it and manage yourself while it lasts.
Please do! And be my guest! But the beat goes on…you’re in it and you’re blessed.