Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Cycle of Life

            I didn’t notice them until well after I had arrived.  The entire morning my singular focus was on getting to dance class by 9 am.  I’d gotten up at 3, was on the road by 4 and drove 389 miles from Half Moon Bay to Los Angeles in a personal best 4 hours and 45 minutes.  The class was so great and so full of life that it only made their death that much more shocking.
            I had said goodbye to my friend Sukha after class and stepped off the curb and into the street.  The late-morning, early July sun was hot on my forehead and earlobes.  A steady stream of three lanes of cars was plowing west just a few feet away.  I was feeling nourished by the ritual and deep play of the class; I was feeling gratitude for seeing several dear friends during and after the dance; and, catching a glimpse of the front of my car, I was feeling stunned and guilty at the sight of so much death.
            I kneeled down before the light blue bumper to inspect it more closely.  Splattering the full width of the bumper’s arcing nose, in a band close to 20” high, hundreds and hundreds of tiny black flies lay cemented in the blood of their own demise.
            A moment of intense shock and sharp sadness rippled out from my heart.  Then there was an injection of visceral fissures running in the opposite direction; for the briefest of moments, I was fucking pissed.
            I was pissed because just hours before, I’d been bombing along Interstate 5 through the golden, flat and arid Central Valley of California, completely oblivious to the mounting death toll.  I’d been busy listening to music on my iPod; busy following the Wimbledon’s Men’s Tennis Final on the Sportacular app of my iPhone; and very busy passing cars on the left and right of that two-lane stretch of road, fully unaware that scores of flies were ‘passing over to the other side’ as I sped along.
            That sense of outrage moved through like a flash flood though, and before I knew it I was pulling out my iPhone to make a short video of the front of my bumper.  It was such a spectacular and fascinatingly sculptural sight, I felt compelled to capture it and, until just this morning and nearly a week later, I still hadn’t washed my car.  That I had been busy was no excuse, nor is it the real reason why.   It’s because every time I caught a glimpse of those flies (they’d also peppered the front of each side-view mirror), it called me to pause and breathe.  Not out of guilt or shame, but out of appreciation for being, itself. 
            I know it is part of the cycle of life that something must die for something else to be born.  I know those flies didn’t consciously ‘give’ their lives over so that I could keep living.  But, I also know their presence reminded me that I am alive.
            In this aliveness, there is gratitude, but even more there is this challenge to wonder; "So, what would I be willing to consciously give my life for, so that something else may live?"


  1. Brilliantly written. Yes it is a shock and a great reminder and it triggers so many questions within us doesn't it?
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Your blog is excellent as your notes and photos at your fb page! Thanks for sharing! May i post a suggestion of mine? Do you use sites like, cafepress. com, fiverr? They could be a good way to promote your works and to help "remove" stupidity in the streets like headlines on t-shirts, fridge-magnets, cups, etc: My Boyfriend kisses Better Than Yours, FBI - female body inspector, etc. Not everything we see and think of should be about sex, right? It would be much better if there were more nice pictures (even of mythical creatures), good thoughts, poems (from any genre are welcome I guess), etc? I'm allanbard there, I use some of my illustrations, thoughts, poems from my books (like: One can fight money only with money, Even in the hottest fire there's a bit of water, Money are among the last things that make people rich, or Love and happiness will be around,
    as all the chains will disappear,
    and Mountaineers will climb their mount
    and there won't be any tear!
    etc). I guess such lines sound and look much better than the usual crap we see every day ;)? Best wishes! Keep the good work going! Let the wonderful noise of the sea always sounds in your ears! (a greeting of the water dragons' hunters - my Tale Of The Rock Pieces).