Just in passing
When the Angel of Death passes by a place, people die. When dignitaries or kings pass by, people stop and bow/salute/whatever. When regular people go by a place, not much happens.
It’s something that I think needs remembering—that the world does not revolve around any one person. That while the very passing of powerful people of things might be quite a thing, for most, the world would hardly shrug.
I thought about this a lot when I was driving this past week. Towns would enter and leave my view. As far as I was concerned, they were born and died as soon as I noticed and left them coming and going. In my world, in my life, these little hamlets could or could not continue in their lives after I had left. It didn’t matter to me either way.
There’s a disconnect there, I think, that so much of the landscape was just eye candy for me as I sped along. I let my mind wander—helped pass the time at least, through the creeks, woods, fields and hills. I wondered how many had worked those fields, what the landscape looked like before the whites came, how many had stood on that very spot…I tried to imagine all the summers that creek had seen, how many fishing lines had dipped in the stream through the centuries.
In every shadowy hollow, shaded brook, sun-dappled path, there was the hint of some millions’ childhoods. People lived here, died here, laughed—all that, in these houses, fields and hills that I roared past. Some exits from the freeway had names of towns some were probably proud of. Others probably with people just as proud to leave.
Still, it was too bad my journey began and ended with my car. It was like I had entered some sort of coma and woke up in a new world, far from Texas, now near D.C. What of the in between? Seems just a bit unnatural to miss all of the middle, I suppose. World being what it is, a man can’t rightly expect to take in all the adventure of a land traveled more thoroughly.
One day, though, I’ll probably have a go or two at it—not necessarily any one spot, but in general, letting life happen, instead of cruising by on some bypass, a mile a minute. Can’t appreciate distance like that. Can’t appreciate life like that.