I had been whipsawed by having to leave the trauma of the wildfire burning in my watershed to go to Arizona to help my daughter clean out her father’s condo, both heart rending events. When I start the car to return home and pick up the bag of chips I left on the seat to stave off hunger, I discover the bag is chewed open and chips are falling out half eaten and crumbling. This is a repeat of when the car was in the garage. I had assumed the mouse lived in the garage and only visited the car occasionally. It appears that the mouse lives in the car and has ridden down to Sacramento with me and stayed in the car for three days while i have been gone and if it hasn’t gone out after water through the undercarriage of the car, it is still in the car and will ride back home to continue it’s garage car life. I am both charmed and annoyed.
Charmed because, well, there’s a children’s story here somewhere. Annoyed because I really wanted the chips. And eventually the mouse or it’s progeny will chew something important like wires and cause havoc As much as I admire the mouse’s ingenuity, a car mouse isn’t going to work. Since I don’t have time to hunt mice, I drive on with my fellow traveler. But as I stop for groceries, something much bigger arises out of this experience. And I sit in the Trader Joe’s parking lot while it washes over me.
It is this: Life always insists on itself.
There are the green leaves sprouting through ash, and the trees buckling the sidewalk, the bacteria living off decay, the car mouse, and including both the malevolent force of invading armies marching to the benevolence of the sadhu sweeping the ground before he walks to avoid crushing a life. All the vast spectacle of this world overwhelms me. Everything stops. I am humbled beyond words for the gift of my life and sit quietly in the car with tears of both sorrow and gratitude flowing.
My life also insists on itself.
As the tears and grief and gratitude subside, as if to prove the point, I find I am trying to remember where I put the small have a hart trap.