As I drive by the city this morning, the blurry sun is silently bouncing on a sheet of overcast clouds at the horizon. A light fog covers the frosted grass, slowly rising to the heat and noise of automobiles on the highway. I must have seen this a hundred times, but there is always something new about how our world looks at different hours on different days – sometimes hurried; sometimes relaxed and often harping its own tune – strange and indifferent. Drivers rush by – listening to loud music, sipping Starbucks coffee, talking to a distant person over phone, unaware of who is driving in the neighboring lane and who is sharing their destiny if they’d make even a slightest mistake.
A song comes alive and I think about you. It has been more than two decades and our life has been pretty much like this highway – crowded in happiness and deserted in pain; burdened with responsibilities, smooth as love and bumpy with disappointments and loss. Ahead, there is an accident in the HOV lane and the road turns stationery with a string of red lights – antsy yet beautiful amidst the gray background of winter. A few honks rise as some cars try to push their way out. I crawl ahead taking a peek at the crushed car and an SUV, hoping the damage is limited to vehicles only. The flourescent clothes of paramedics and policemen flash an urgency as they guide each vehicle to manuever away from the accident. Haste continues within drivers who show off their freedom racing the cars away as they find the open road. I wonder if any of them are thinking of anything but their appointments, deadlines, meetings or morning coffee turning cold.
The song continues and so the hum of our thoughts. We have made our way through misfortunes, we have encountered callousness and we have been hurt. We have also been bystanders with little to contribute and finally walking away, but we have saved a little space of compassion for strangers. Did that come from the fact the everything has turned out to be bearable in the end or is it because we have encountered suffering on our own to relate to others’?
I glance at the sky again – the sun is out of the duvet of clouds; the fog has disappeared and the dry grass is sucking on the sparkling dew and somewhere within this splendor and the chaotic highway, a mystical answer stands to my question.