Ever get that not-so-powerful feeling?
So let me get this straight:
Now, this is just the stuff where the death toll is expected to be over 1000. So it doesn't include floods in China (killed at least 500 people), or anything mechanically-related (train, plane, automobile accidents), or terrorism.
Well. What can one say? ...Bring on the bird flu, I'm feeling lucky.
Every day I get up, turn on the radio and take a shower. I pretend that this is preparing me to leave the house for the day. "If I just know what's going on, I'll be OK."
On Friday, I sat on the train, half an hour late for work, because what a bomb-sniffing dog down at the Market East station thought was bomb was actually just a construction worker. Or something, I still don't know all the details. Did I know about this? Yes, I'd heard that all the trains were backed up, that nothing was getting into Center City, that I'd be lucky if I made it to Temple.
But I still got on the train. I had to. I had to go to work. Every day, they could tell me a bomb had gone off downtown, I'd still be expected to be at my desk in North Philly. Tell me the bird flu has hit and everyone should stay home, I'll still be on the train, admittedly probably wearing some sort of mask.
When the attacks in New York happened, the library didn't shut down, they didn't let people go home. Nope, the university must be open at all times, all hours even, and no, national emergencies are not a reason to go home and cower under the bed with a bottle of tequila.
The fact is, life goes on, whether we want it to or not. You can plan, you can worry, you can listen to/watch the news all you want, and you still have no control over what's coming down the pike. Maybe you can get out in time to miss the hurricane, but that earthquake, that tornado, that pandemic, it's still going to get you.
Death is everywhere.
Have you seen The Seventh Seal? All joking about morbid Swedes aside, it's an amazing film. That final scene, when Death comes for them all, and leads them out in the Danse Macabre, and it no longer matters who is a knight and who is a peasant...
On the Death card in the Tarot, death rides a pale horse, and tramples upon bishops and farmers, it makes no difference to him.
We are in the dark part of the year; soon it will be Samhain, when this world and the next are close. It's a season of harvest, and with harvest comes death. And without death? No harvest.
I've never held to linear views of history. Or, I should say, there are only about seven basic plots, and it's pretty easy to plug in different names and characters. Big wheel keeps on turnin, and we vainly believe that we are new, unique, and utterly important.
And we will be ground under the wheel like wheat into flour, until we are no more than dust.