extra, extra (the retractions/additions reprint)
The metro is only 5 or 6 blocks from my house. I walk to and from the station everyday as part of a routine that should be old and boring by now. But its actually the walk to the station that keeps my entire morning routine fresh. Each day I seem to find something new to notice on my walk, or if there is nothing new then I can rely on a few standard things to happen. I know that the stray cat who likes to dart out from the porch of the red house to crawl under the porch of the blue house next door will do so everyday at 8:07am. I know that Ill see my neighbor and he will refuse to say hello because he’s weird or maybe because he thinks I dont/wont like him because he’s weird and old and gay and lives by himself. After his snub Ill probably realize I left my blackberry or wallet at home, or that I forgot to put on my belt or shave or something, and I’ll have to turn around and walk back home. On my second attempt at walking to the metro Ill pass by the neurotic collie who barks at the wind while running back and forth in her owner’s yard, turning habitual running routes into trenches. I like that collie. I think I like the collie because she reminds me a bit of myself…running in the same circles day after day after day, making a bunch of noise and barking at nothing but the wind.
(WARNING: The next paragraph doesnt have anything to do with the rest of the post, and if this post were to be given to an editor then I am fairly certain that the next few sentences would be promptly and justly cut out. Should you want to skip ahead to the more relevant parts of this post, find the next section that begins with an ** ) So I like the Collie because she’s either a crazy bitch like myself or because she looks a lot like my first dog, Tippy. Tippy (and dont ask me how I, a 5 yr old boy at the time, came up with the name Tippy) was a great dog. But in those days my parents moved around a lot, and we had to give Tippy away when it came time to move to a new house that didnt have a fenced-in yard. Fortunately, my grandmother agreed to take Tippy in so that I could come over anytime and play with her. It was extra cool because grandma owned Tippy’s mother, Heather. Well, after a few weeks grandma got tired of having two dogs to feed and gave Tippy away without telling anybody. I can still remember the Sunday afternoon that we drove up to her house and found that Tippy was no longer in the backyard.
**It was quite windy this morning. So windy that a discarded newspaper had found a new life as a dozen different kites, each page swirling up and around and out- wherever the wind willed it to go. One page found its destiny with me as it tumbled over itself and collided and clung tightly around my leg. It refused to let go for nearly half a block, despite my best efforts to kick it away. Finally, the wind took to another direction, broke the page’s clasp and sent it away in the same tumbling movement with which it had met me.
(Heres the part where I make the turn from interesting observation to cliche object lesson through the use of heavy handed metaphor) As I continued my walk to the metro and left the pages skidding around the sidewalk I thought about something- I thought about how such an insignificant occurrence has such significant roots, how the so many lives and events had to happen to bring that newspaper to its spot on the sidewalk, and how so many lives and events had shaped the course my own life so that I could be there to meet that newspaper at that spot on the sidewalk.
And then I thought of how the winds of destiny (or fate or chance or sovereignty or Calvinist predestination- whatever you choose to call it) blow from directions unknown and usher people and events into our lives that serve to not only move along the timeline of life but act as a catalysts of the kind of people we become. Sometimes the events that shape us are profound, sometimes they go unnoticed until the moment we look to the past and see how a single insignificance turned out to be quite weighty in the whole scheme of things. And then there are the people, the consistent shuffle of souls that shifts throughout life, who tumble into our lives until we kick them away or until they are pulled away by a change in the winds of destiny. And no matter how long we live the wind wont ever stop blowing, bringing on change after change, and all we can really do is bark and howl at it, and then change.
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