I am in a constant state of judgment. The key, I think, is to not judge about that constant state. I do not have a life where I cannot sit at my keyboard, on a fall crisp morning, wife and child, loafing and loving, Springsteen singing about John Henry, warm team by my hand. This is the life I have. This moment is where I have brought myself, every moment before in complete integrity with my current breath.
Some may know this story. Others may not.
There was a grandmother and her daughter, driving one late afternoon. The sky was clear, darkening blue with high, while clouds. The air was still warm from the sun of the day and the women had their window down as they drove back the 5 miles from the store where they had picked up the butter and cream they needed, along with some fresh corn for dinner. In the back seat of the car, there was a 14 year old girl, daughter and granddaughter. She felt unusually at peace and didn’t know why but in looking back on it it was clear that the silent wisdom of three generations under one small roof has that effect. The young one wasn’t paying particular attention but the mother and grandmother were making light conversation about things already known. The sounds were more for the comfort of being than for any need to communicate words. The young girl was gazing and daydreaming as young girls do, head against the side window, lost in harmony.
There were no skid marks.
The truck was in the women’s lane when they came over and around the curve in the road. He was travelling at 60 mph and they were travelling at 50. There were no skid marks.
There was time for both mothers to hitch their breath, quickly in. No human sound escaped before the single, crushing thud of a million pieces being shattered at the same time. The mothers were gone in the time it took to hitch their breath. The young one endured more pain before she was gone and then they were all gone. Under the high clouds, on a darkening fall afternoon, five minutes from home. There was nothing more.
Who expects to die? Silly humans. So silly. So prideful that we are the greatest, that we have problems that require us to be sad, or perplexed or to suffer without thought or recognition. That we can change the vastness of space and time; oh my lord how we have been led astray and how we lead our children the same way. Oh my, oh my…what will it take…what will it take.