Monday, September 29, 2008
All of It
When we got up this morning, it was sprinkling outside. It wasn’t like us to be out so early. 6:45 was usually when Mr. W was hitting the snooze button for the first time. But there we were, out in the street, taking a morning walk.
The sprinkles didn’t last. We only felt a half dozen each, but the sky had that streaky look off in the distance. Around the horizon, chalky orange and pink warned us that the sun would soon be up. We could see the downtown skyline bidding good morning in peaks and valleys of concrete and steel.
The air was slightly warm and I almost felt like we were somewhere else—on vacation in Hawaii on a spring day.
We wound our way up the hill, commenting on interesting architecture. A newly renovated home with a longhorn cattle skull hanging over the garage. A picturesque, ivy covered cottage. A miniature Taj Majal with meringue-like dollops punctuating its roof. As we continued in the direction of old Hollywoodland, we were met by 5 cop cars, yellow tape and a police officer. He told us we could go up the opposite side of the street—there had been an accident the night before that was being investigated.
I was a bit nervous about what we might see as we resumed our climb. We finally saw it across the street and I tried not to look too closely. A kid had smashed his sports car into the side of a U-Haul moving van. The sports car was demolished. The driver’s side was nearly flattened against the van’s front wheel well. Glass shimmered in the street. A tow truck pulled up and began to lift the mangled car onto its forks. I wondered how long it had been since the accident actually happened.
On my way home to my apartment, the rain picked up again. As I was coming through the freeway pass towards my exit, I noticed a rainbow creeping up in the valley to my left. I tried to take a picture with my camera phone, but couldn’t quite get the right angle.
I thought of the rainbows Mr. W and I had seen on our first trip away together last January. We drove to San Francisco for a long weekend, and were met with rainbows on the way there and back. I remember thinking it was a sign.
When I reached the off-ramp, I was surprised to see, yet again, evidence of a car accident. Orange cones circled part of the right lane where a traffic light had been knocked down and demolished.
I was struck by the dichotomy of images. An incredible sunrise contrasted with a terrible car wreck. A stunning rainbow juxtaposed with the debris of a fallen tower of metal. It made me pause for a minute and appreciate how varied life is. And how beautiful it is in its chaos.
It’s not just about the pleasant things. It’s about the range of the human experience; the depths of emotion we're capable of feeling. There is beauty in the pain, the heartache, the ills because it is LIFE. It’s all LIFE even when it’s tragic and horrible. It is the mix of all the good and bad and pleasurable and terrifying that make life what it is—and us who we are. And when I come to an end, I will be thankful for seeing, feeling, experiencing all of it.