"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Monday, April 21, 2003
Accidents can introduce destiny into our lives
ser-en-dip-i-ty Function: noun
Etymology: from its possession by the heroes of the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip
1 : the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for
2 : What can happen if you just keep your eyes open
I think it was about a year ago today that I had dinner with a wild rabbit.
It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was going absolutely stir crazy. My wife was at work and would not be home till late that evening so I got in my car and just drove.
I soon found myself heading out of Richmond towards the Eastern Shore of Maryland taking a route I had never taken before. City quickly gave way to suburb, and suburb gave way to country as the miles passed. Pretty soon I was in that strange place where every third house seems to have an RV for sale in the front yard, and towns are few and far between.
I had some new music for my CD player and plugged it in, listening as I drove, trying to clear my head of the stresses of my job and my life. As I drove traffic became sparser and sparser until there were few cars on the road at all. After a particularly long stretch I came to a country store and stopped in to get some fried chicken and took it to the car. I knew I was close to Maryland and figured I would stop somewhere on the water and enjoy my dinner.
It could not have been two miles down the road when I was caught in the traffic jam.
Cars were bumper to bumper. The road was hilly so I could not tell how far up ahead it reached, but since I was in no hurry I just relaxed with my music and waited. And waited. And waited.
An hour passed, and I traveled about a half of a mile. I crested a hill and for as far as I could see, there were cars and more cars, all pretty much stopped. I pulled out my map and saw that the bridge to Martyland was still ten miles further on, and assumed it was an accident on the bridge that had stopped traffic.
I did not intend to wait that long just to cross a bridge, so I turned around and took a side road.
Traveling was easier once I got off the highway. This was all country, all forest, hardly any houses at all. Then I came to an old plantation that was open for tours. I turned in to the parking lot.
The mansion was less than impressive, and I vaguely remembered being there before years earlier. I looked at the map of the grounds and spotted a picnic area, so I drove over there, took out my chicken, and sat down at a picnic table.
The chicken was quite dry, as is often the case with chicken from country groceries. I got up to get my drink from the car, and spotted something out of the corner of my eye.
On the path next to the shelter, a small bunny had ventured out and was carefully munching on some dandelions.
He looked at me, and I looked at him.
It was one of those moments that are hard to describe, where animal and human seem to touch in some way. I stayed still, and he, thinking I was no threat, kept eating. So I took out my dinner and ate too, each of us watching the other.
There we were, the bunny and I, having dinner together. I the interloper in his world, I the guest, he the gracious host giving me the courtesy of his presence. We did this for at least twenty minutes, and I was transfixed.
There is nothing, I think, more apt to take our minds off of the cares and worries of our workday world than a chance encounter with something wild, something untamed, something out of our experience, even if it is just a wild bunny rabbit.
As the sun set, he turned and vanished quietly into the brush, and I got back in my car and drove home, touched and at peace.
Of one thing I am certain, the body is not the measure of healing - peace is the measure.