After a stretch of time, when commitments in my business and personal life keep me away from posting I sometimes feel like catching up by integrating various topics into one piece.
A few days ago I was pondering how I might be able to roll Duck Dynasty, winter weather anxiety and Christmas into one viewpoint.
Then on Friday morning I walked upon a scene that eerily resembled a sad memory from thirty five years ago involving a lunch hour tragedy, a diesel truck and a young woman.
On this day it was mid-morning. I had just dropped off my son, a ten year old fifth grader, at his school and I was driving on my way to a business appointment in Queens. The destination was Northern Blvd in Woodside, to be exact, for those of you who are familiar with NYC. As I exited the ramp from the Brooklyn-Queens Expwy several police cars and caution cones were in place and traffic was being re-directed. There was no obvious sign of trouble and at first I thought that this might be part of a systematic shut down of ramps and roadways by the NYPD, which is routinely done when a dignitary is escorted through the city.
I was directed to the right when I actually needed to go straight and so I chose to keep going right for a few avenues so I could get clear of all the snarled traffic. Then I looped left and back across Northern Blvd to a metered parking spot on a side street within a couple of blocks of my meeting place.
As I gathered my materials and headed for the office building I was immediately struck by the vast silence. I turned the corner onto the Boulevard and tip-toed along a city block that was entirely squared off by a police line except for a small path of sidewalk. A large tractor-trailer truck sat dormant on the asphalt pavement. There were a few dozen police officers, some crossing guards, many local residents, business owners and a news crew present. But most notably there was stillness.
Remembering back to college and a similar scene in lower Manhattan during a coffee break when I worked at Barnes & Noble I did not need to ask anyone what happened.
But before being admitted into my meeting on the second floor of the company two blocks away I asked the receptionist if she knew exactly what had happened. A young boy, a third grader, was run over and killed as he was heading to school. “I feel bad for everyone”, she said. Speechless and knowing this was the last day of school before the Christmas break I nodded and thought how sometimes I wish we could just turn back time.
After the appointment I had to walk back past the same route. It looked as if everyone had been stopped in time for the entire hour and no one had moved. Few words were being spoken. On the periphery, by a 7 Eleven, I could see some folks using hand gestures to explain where the vehicle came from and how the dreadful accident occurred. The truck’s bulky engine, cab and container were shrouded in yellow tape and it loomed ghostly and mummified in the center of the street.
I was thinking about how it is typically challenging enough to sense and feel the wonder and beauty of the world amid all the dangers and heartache that abound. Gut wrenching events like these would seem to move the challenging to the impossible for the families involved.
This is the season of joy and merriment. But it’s a man-made season. The seasons of life and nature work beyond our control and don’t always allow for concurrence.
In times of despair some people turn closer toward faith. Others turn full steam away from conviction.
The longing for a higher power is clearly understandable, especially in the face of the incomprehensible. And the dismissal of any possibility of a Godly being is equally understood.
In my speechlessness, as I looked around, I can only reflect upon the two thoughts in my head. Eight year old boys go directly to heaven and I hope to God that it exists.
© 2013 Christopher’s Views