Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Most Of Our Lives

Most often when we talk about traffic it's to complain. We focus on the jams, idiots, and accidents, but most of the time, especially in frequently congested urban and suburban areas, traffic is a kind of miracle. I'm especially aware of this while on the freeway with thousands of other drivers, barreling along at high speeds in our tons of steel, and somehow, most of the time, we aren't killing one another. Indeed, we are an accidental fellowship of travelers cooperating with one another according to a shared and often complex body of rules, agreements if you will, about how to use the roads to get from here to there. And while any given day may offer us plenty to gripe about, any given moment can in the right light be viewed as a testament to our human capacity for getting along.

Maybe I'm stretching the example a bit, but I figure if one can find this sort of beauty in traffic, then certainly it exists throughout the rest of our lives. 

I tend to write here about conflict between children, but from day to day, from moment to moment, our days are full of these small, inexperienced humans just getting along.

A pair of two-year-old boys were driving their construction vehicles near the playground grazing garden. 

One of them, intentionally, bumped the trucks together, a wordless way of saying, "You're in my way," or perhaps, "Do you want to play?"

Still, without a word, the boys bumped their vehicles together several times, gently. They synchronized with one another, drawing back, then pushing forward, bumping solidly, but without violence, seven, eight, nine, ten times. They shared a smile with one another. Then, one boy picked up his truck and moved away, announcing the end to this game just as clearly and effectively as a driver using his left turn signal to let the rest of us know his intentions.

We talk about the jams, idiots, and accidents, but if we remember to look, we spend most of our lives surrounded by this kind of simple human beauty.

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