When the kids and I were driving to Alexandria last week I had time to sit with my earphones in and listen to my own music as they sat in the back and watched Toy Story for the 800 gazillionth time.
The drive was quite nice, through the country side of western Louisiana, past many green fields and the sky was blue with lots of puffy white clouds. The kind you can see shapes in. “Oh look, there’s a turtle!”
But they didn’t hear me since they were listening to “This isn’t flying, it’s falling, with STYLE…”.
As I was bemoaning the fact that modern technology (A.K.A. the portable DVD player) has taken over in the department of family car rides, I realized something. My kids don’t usually SEE the colorful countryside or the livestock or the fields growing with the cotton that makes their clothes. They don’t see the bright sky and the water flowing under the bridge.
And while I liked the fact that they were occupied that morning and not asking “Are we there yet?” until my ears bled, I also felt it was a bit of a shame that they saw very little of the scenery out of their tinted windows…
But then I was kind of glad that they didn’t see HIM.
The man by the side of the road.
The one sitting on what were probably his only belongings, with his wrinkled, sun-stricken skin, puffing on his cigarette.
For some reason my heart went out to him and I started to think about his life and where he came from and how he got there and what if that was my child some day, sitting by the side of the road.
In a perfect world I could have turned around and helped him in some way.
In an even more perfect one he wouldn’t have been sitting there in the first place. You know, unless he really wanted to…
But then I started thinking about something else.
Where does his simple (but probably hard) life take him?
Who does he answer to? Only himself?
And the stuff. He’s pretty free of that for sure. Only as much as he can carry.
Oh to be free of some STUFF.
As my thoughts wandered and I continued to watch the road lay out before me, my eyes wandered up and followed the one lone bird that flew right in front of the car for about 10 seconds.
And then it was gone.
I wondered what it would be like to just ‘fly away’ for a bit. Into the turtle-shaped clouds.
Away from all the world’s problems…
And then I wondered if Man By The Side of the Road ever wondered the same thing.
Just fly away…