Friday, November 2, 2007
I'm not a very good driver. Good drivers stick to the speed limit, remember to blink before turning or switching lanes, and don't regularly run red lights. Good drivers also keep their eyes on the road ahead. But, the view in front of me while driving is usually pretty boring. To the right and left, though, are all sorts of colorful and interesting things, and though they only spend a moment in my field of vision, their impact lasts for a while afterward.
On my right, a scene straight out of a yearbook or inspirational video. the greying, stooped grandfather holds on tightly to the hand of the small boy walking beside him. A picture of peace. A picture of love. A picture of continuity. I contemplate the cycle of life from the time we are born to the time we return to our maker. I imagine my own father one day walking hand in hand with my future children. By now, I have left my own quiet neighborhood and turn on to a busy highway full of sights and sounds that keep my head swishing from side to side, much like windshield wipers.
On my right, an oversized picture of a sleek and gleaming convertible, promising contentment and prestige to those who purchase it. On my left, Donald Trump's face scowls down at me as he invites me to yet another convention where he will tell me how to make it big and turn all my dreams into reality. I ponder the materialism of this world; how, in the minds of so many, more money equals more happiness. I think of how untrue this is as the images of all the wealthy people I know pop up in front of me and I remember this one's sick child, the other's marriage problems. I think of the sheker pervading this world and the empty, meaningless goals so many spend their lives chasing. I feel a wave of gratitude for the truth and meaning I have in my life, and for the health and well-being of myself and those I care for.
When I emerge from these musings, it is only to be confronted by the stunning beauty of Hashem's creations surrounding me on all sides. The clear, azure blue of the sky on a cloudless day, the brilliant greens, yellows, and oranges of the many trees along the road. The list goes on and on. I'm almost afraid to drive upstate in the summer, because the view at the end of the Tapanzee Bridge is majestic enough to make me cry, and it is not unusual to see me swerving desperately to avoid crashing into the car next to me, because It was that hard to pull my eyes away from a perfect cloud formation nestled in the most exquisite blue above the sparkling, constantly shifting water side by side the lush and verdant foliage resting right beneath the horizon. How can white dashes on black asphalt compare?