Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rapture and Recycling

Wild week: crazy day. Where to start! High winds and drought drove brush fires across New Mexico- and I passed great swaths of charred country as I headed for Amarillo. Move on to Joplin, which I drove by this morning. The highway near Joplin was teeming with trucks saying "Mobile Therapy", "Disaster Relief Team", "Help on Wheels" etc. There wasn't a healthy tree left along the interstate, as crews worked to clean up the uprooted, mangled, splintered remains of once lovely plantings. Rows of stumps, like the tomb stones in the national cemetery in Santa Fe, just wait by the roadside for- what? Chains and tractors I'm afraid. Rip them out. Start over. I have managed to pick a good week to drive thru tornado alley- but suddenly New England is torn apart. Springfield MA.? Not Springfield, Mo.? Bizarre. What's happening? Blooms of jelly fish wash ashore in Florida over the holiday weekend, stinging children and others playing in the sand and sea. 30 minutes outside St. Louis- in the homestretch for my motel- I started hearing this rising and falling hissssss- radiator? Oh hell. Over the hum of the a.c. and the book on tape I could hear it- and louder when I cracked the window. Damn. Pulled onto a side road, turned the car off and got out. Deafening. Cicadas! And let's not forget the forgettable non-Rapture this last week. Oops. Did it occur to any of those who had arranged care for the pets they'd be leaving behind when they ascended to the Celestial Inn and Suites- that they had not been wrong- that that was indeed the Rapture? And they hadn't been invited? Double oops.Okay, let's get real. Or at least really appreciative of what's on terra firma. For instance, this morning in Oklahoma City my motel was next to a Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Gift Shop. Ever been to one? While you wait for a table, you are stuck in the gift shop- and it is a fine place to pass 20 minutes. Or 5. I scored Green Tea bags for my sister- "Scripture Tea"- each bag comes with a bible verse. And a wonderfully tacky hand held, battery mic that lights up and illuminates your face in rainbow pulsating colors while you sing. (I know a little girl in Saratoga who'll be extremely happy!) They had Moon Pies, candy in vintage styled boxes, books on tape, and rocking chairs to sit in while you waited for your table...or you could buy one and strap it to the roof of your car. Then the high point of the day- bringing my beloved dog into the hotel tonight- to ascend to our own cloud # 206. Sometimes elevators don't phase him- but tonight- as soon as it began to go up- he went up on all his toenails and skated around like a spider with too much caffeine. Nearly wet my pants. Later I walked him around the little neighborhood behind the motel- and thought about my parents, as newlyweds, coming to St. Louis for Dad's first teaching job at St. Louis Country Day. The school occupied the land where the new airport is, so visual memories are buried. The dog and I passed rows of little bungalows, cheek by jowl, and it dawned on me that I was conceived right here- in Saint Louis! A few weeks before Christmas vacation 1951. What do you know! I don't think it means much- no miraculous conception or anything- but it was a nice way to end a week fraught with wind, bugs, tornados, stinging sea slimy-s, and raging fires. Brimstone it was not, but maybe an admonishment from the planet to behave ourselves. A new reader of mine, Blayney Colmore, wrote to me: "If we end up being a brief- if noisy- phenomenon in the geologic history of the planet, as hard-headed consideration might conclude, I wonder if consciousness may turn out to have been an unproductive and self-defeating avenue because it caused us to believe and act in ways that separate us from what we are irrevocably connected to." I agree- I have always assumed the earth would absorb and recycle us- as it does detritus of all kinds. A brilliant but nervous friend of my son's frantically asked his mother when he was five- "I need to know what comes after people!!!!! What comes after people??????" What did he mean? "Well- we know what came after dinosaurs- what comes after people?" Can't even wait and see! Meanwhile, we clean up the tornado damage, and dance with our dogs in elevators, and replant trees and crops, rebuild our barns, bury our dead, drink Scripture Tea (while giggling), learn how to use less and give more, bow to our neighbors and bow to your corner. We keep dancing. Perhaps most of all- be ever so grateful to be conscious for this experience- and at least try to live consciously. Maybe I'll get to come back as a praying mantis.


  1. Brilliant. I laughed, I cried. XX

  2. i love reading your thoughts! you don't know how much.