Monday, August 13, 2007

What Happens Next?

What happens next? That's always the question, isn't it? I THINK I know what will happen in the next few days. Our plans are to go a week from tomorrow to Asilomar, that wonderful State of California resort near Monterey, for three days of a family reunion and the celebration of Otto's ninetieth birthday. I look forward to it with pleasure and every expectation that it will be wonderful in every way.

Yet I have recently read the news about the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, and I can imagine the ordinary, daily expectations of a commuter returning home to supper, to reading the paper, watching TV, overseeing the childrens' homework or getting dressed for an evening out. How could that commuter foresee that a moment later he miight find himself in the Mississippi river or balancing on an unstable sloping slab of concrete among tangled wreckage?
Here is my take on the unpredictability of fate:

The day of destruction dawns like any day
- birds at the feeder, crumbs upon the table -
“We’re almost out of toaster bread,” she says
They hear no murmur of subterranean stresses

to cause new rifts to gape, to split wide open
when earth’s crust slips or an inadvertent word
release tsunamis of ocean or of tears.

The day of destruction dawns like any day.
Perhaps the undetected clot will migrate,

the rusted bridge truss break.

“I’ll buy another loaf on my way home.”

And who knows?
Maybe this is not the day
the world will end.
It might still be a day

like any other day.
Phyllis Sterling Smith

Sounds pretty gloomy, doesn't it? I don't mean it that way at all. Life is rich and wonderful, and my real point is that I want to be sure to be in the present moment, experiencing it in all its wonderfulness.

I've been copying old photos of Otto for a board that Dianne wants to assemble for the Asilomar birthday party.
Here is a tiny sampling of some from different stages of his life: baby, young father, grandfather, recent.

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