As part of my post-operative pause (coming to an end, FINALLY!) yesterday morning I walked to the convenience store that's not much bigger than a pair of phone booths joined together with two gasoline pumps out in front on Washington Street, heading towards Backus Hospital. I usually buy a paper (the other New London County daily newspaper) and it's a snug fit inside with merchandise stacked to the gunwales.
It was a pretty crummy Friday morning weather-wise, rain and wind a sort of typical mid-October New England day that never gets depicted on the calendars for some odd reason. Coming out of the shop there were a cluster of kids, elementary- the ones with backpacks bigger than they are- waiting for bus(es) as their school days start.
Kids in our schools have been hitting the books (actually the computer screens) for well over a month now and have finished up the Connecticut Mastery Tests (started before No Child Left Behind which is now blamed for all manner of evil, real and/or imagined, to include the often less than stellar performance in these tests) so between now and the holidays they can concentrate on the real purpose of education (to learn the rules of the game better than anyone else and then change the rules).
Their bus was slowing to a stop, yellow lights flashing (their sole purpose is to alert all and sundry that the red lights are about to flash and then no one should move until the children board) as its human cargo queued up in line still buzzing about whatever eleven year-olds chatter about (similar to what sixty year-olds natter on about, but they remember the details). I smiled admiring their enthusiasm and imagining just that one bus as a dynamo filled with enough energy to power the whole city.
At that moment, perhaps on its way to Maplewood, a long black hearse glided by, headlights on and leading a motorized procession of mourners to accompany someone on a last journey. I was slightly startled at the symmetry of visual bookends and awaited further enlightenment until I realized I had already had it. But it's alright, Ma; it's life and life only.