There’s about 400 miles (and change) between my home base and the residence that I took up space in over the weekend (that’s roughly 6 hours, give or take, depending on your acceleratory habits).
The windshield of my car is coated in a thick residue of lost insect life, and I have the new John Mayer album so thoroughly memorized that the sound of one track ending triggers the mental intro of the next.
12 hours in close quarters with yourself can be any number of things. For me it was a good time for the dust in my life to settle back to its rightful corners.
The past few weeks have been filled with a frenetic energy meant to keep the clouds of diversion aloft, and, to be quite honest, the energy spent attempting to distract yourself is exhaustive. Meaning, it depletes. And it has.
After the first few minutes of quiet, the panic I felt subsided and I found myself resting back into the comfortable rhythm of old habits.
When I was little, my parent’s sent us to a parochial school about 20 miles from our house. I’d spend those morning and afternoon journeys wrapped up in the spine of a book; face first in some other world that begged at my imagination and swaddled all of life’s accumulating insecurities between its leafy pages.
When I would forget a book, though, I developed the tendency of mentally penning out the things happening on the other side of my window. I’d wonder, if I were to commit these things to paper, how would they look, or taste, or feel?
The rise and fall of the roads, the sprawling ropes of electrically charged lines, the tiny houses between big trees; the debris of people’s lives craftily shuffled in with the detritus of nature in gutters and along neighborhood sidewalks. I catalogued it all, and I kept it neatly folded in the tightly bound book of my developing fascination with life.
I still do this. Or should I say, did this.
All the way home.
The most interesting thing noted on my trek back to St. Louis was the multitude of lifeless animals scattered roadside…all in various stages of decomposition.
In true form, my heart cringed at the lifeless eyes staring up at me through the tinted windows of my vehicle.
And this is where my mind began to stray.
I wonder how long ago that deer came into fruition. I wonder how many miles away it was when it was labored into the world. I wonder where it spent its time prior to leaping into this intersection. I wonder how many people spotted it in their backyards, pointing excitedly at the brief observance of wildlife in their city space.
I wonder who hit it. I think extensively on where they were going, who they might’ve been with, and how much damage there was to their car. I wonder if they pulled over, or if they kept on driving down the massive expanse of grey highway.
I wonder. And I wonder. And I wonder.
Before I know it, 2 hours have lapsed because I drove past a dead deer. And I’ve written half a novel about its existence and the person who caused it to no longer have one.
And all I can repeatedly think on behalf of this lost life is, what a waste.
And at the very same time, what a miracle.
We don’t often give pause over the fluidity of happenings in life. But think for just a second on this.
This deer was conceived, birthed, and existed in its own part of this massive world.
And this person was conceived, birthed, and existing on their own part of this sprawling earth.
Completely separate and independent of each other.
And then this person, who was inside of a car, that was manufactured (somewhere), and purchased (somewhere), was en route to somewhere when this deer happened upon its path.
And they collide.
Of all the times and places available to us in this universe, these two things found each other at the exact moment necessary to startle time.
One survived and keeps moving. The other is lifeless but causes me to consider a string of random and unlikely happenings.
And then I wrote this blog.
Which you are now reading.
…And the string continues.
It’s so strange to me.
And then it makes me consider that perhaps this is what life is; a steady sequence of miraculous collisions.
Where suddenly we are faced with the headlights of some foreign object hurtling toward us.
Or maybe we’re the hurtling object.
And one of us gets to keep moving…and the other one just gets to be something someone with an active imagination writes about one day.
It makes me think about relationships.
The improbability and the complexity of somehow ending up in the same space at the same time as someone else…who you actually end up having things in common with. Not just common things, but things that evoke a connection and trigger that warmth you feel between your rib bones. The kind of connection that ties knots in your chest and weighs down your eyelids with contentment. That electric attraction that generates and elicits joy in your movement.
And, when this unlikely collision is all over, I think those very same thoughts.
What a waste.
But, also, what a miracle.
Because it is, isn’t it?
Do with that what you’d like.
A life lesson in road kill, people.