Tuesday, March 10, 2009
"We all feel the riddle of the earth without anyone to point it out. The mystery of life is the plainest part of it."
-G. K. Chesterton
In order to catch a bus to the local library I must cross the road- always a precarious venture- and make my way along a footpath for three hundred feet before I reach the bus stop.
If that footpath should ever happen to be coated in a film of ice, sprinkled with clumps of snow and sand and salt and resemble a muddy, slippery slope of certain doom, then I am obliged to set out a little earlier and proceed with increased caution in order to get myself to the designated point in one whole piece.
I stuck my nose out of the driveway this morning to ensure that all was well before I crossed the road. To my great dismay I saw the bus- my bus- already hurtling along on the other side, bound for the library, of course not stopping at any point unless a person happened to be waiting there, and I could not see anybody.
The early fellow had just negated all my well-coordinated hurry and haste.
I gave up immediately, having temporarily considered a mad dash across that deadly glass- a move that would likely be, if not fatal, then futile, for I surely stood no chance.
Before I returned to the comfort of my home, I observed that the bus had stalled at traffic lights within a few feet of- how utterly, magically convenient- the bus stop.
I am loathe to run after a bus: I fear I look foolish when I fail to catch it, but my spirit of adventure roared back to life: I tore across the road- as much as one can tear when leaping over the rough patches and endeavouring to miss the ice and looming vehicles- and still the bus had not moved. There was yet a tantalising, narrow wedge of possibility and I proceeded along the menacing conveyor belt of endless snow, hopping along and wondering, as I attempted to remain upright, when the driver was going to start moving again and put me out of my misery so that I might go home and lick my wounds, for I surely stood no chance.
I could hardly believe my good fortune when I arrived, weak-kneed and gasping, at the still-idle bus. I waved frantically, the doors slid open, I stumbled on, thanked the driver loudly, purchased a ticket and selected a seat, which I sank into with a hefty sigh.
And then two souls, a man and a woman who must have been waiting nearby- in my panic I had not seen them- ambled up the steps with a distinct and astonishing lack of urgency.
As the bus pulled away with at least one rather grateful passenger, I wondered how on earth I had acquired a seat against all odds.
But I also left ample room to muse on the most intricate riddle of them all: just how did I propel myself across the glazed road and down the slushy, ice-stricken street and onto the bus and into my seat before two people had time to shuffle from the bus stop?
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 1:43 PM