Author Archives: wlebolt

Under the overpass of life

I am paused for a sip of refreshment from the Swell water bottle I’ve pulled from its cage which is mounted on my bicycle. I have chosen this spot for a water stop because it is nicely shaded under the highway overpass. Here I can shelter from this Florida sun I’m not used to — it is January, after all. Overhead, gigantic cement girders support a six lane highway. I can hear the traffic whizzing by… at considerably more-than-highway speed.

No, I do not lament the pace of life that it is passing me by, ever at breakneck speed. Rather, I am perfectly satisfied to pause and sip in this shade as the other cyclists pedal by. I acknowledge some with a nod. Others pass without even a glance. A few alert me that they’re coming. “On your left,” they say. And they are for a fleeting moment and then grow smaller and smaller in the distance.

Suddenly alone with my thoughts, I let my eyes travel upward to the giant grey girders over my head, silent and strong but massive. For a very split second, I imagine what might happen if they came crashing down. But I dismiss this thought quickly. I am confident that a capable architect, an accurate building engineer and a diligent construction crew erected this structure. Certainly, all necessary precautions have been taken and the required inspections have been made to guarantee its structural soundness and assure safety.

Standing here alone astraddle my bicycle saddle, a cycling helmet the only form of protection I have, I suddenly realize I’ve put a lot of trust in a whole host of humans I’ve never met.

In this moment, something inclines me to look upward and past the girders.

When I do, the dazzling, impossibly-azure sky peeks from beyond the bridge’s span and compels my gaze. “Why,” it seems to say, “if you trust these chunks of cement to protect you, why do you not trust me?” The voice-that’s-not-a-voice goes on. “I am the architect of all that is, the designer of all that will be, the builder of all that is becoming. Why, if you trust the work of human hands, do you not trust me?”

The Lord of Universe now has my full attention.

Why don’t I trust the Lord of the sky to protect me as I go along my way?

When I look around at all that has been made, why don’t I trust?

When I survey all that has been given, why don’t I trust?

When I recall the many instances from which I have been rescued, why don’t I trust?

In that moment I turn my eyes again to the ghostly white of the cement girders, ominous in their row-by-row alignment overhead. I notice the rumble of traffic which now echoes in thunderous tones on all sides. I permit the thought which had been holding itself back: if I heard the structure of this bridge crack and start to give way, would I be able to extricate myself in time? Could I dive to safety? What about the other cyclists? What of the unsuspecting motorists?

No, I decide, I could not save myself. No, we could not save ourselves.

Slowly, I take a final swig from my Swell, carefully screw on its top and slide it back into its plastic cage. Looking to left and to right, I ease my bicycle back onto the trail and propel myself into an easy rhythm.

Pedaling on

I probably won’t stop here on my return trip. I’ll pause in the shade of a nearby tree, greened by the sunny days and watered by the summer rains. And I’ll listen.

Climbing down from my control tower

Control … such a buzz word. Who has it? Who wants it? Who’s in it?

Don’t be so controlling! we say. Because we want to have our say. We want to have our way.

What if, 
instead of loose-ing our control,
we climbed down out of our control towers?
down the steps from the platforms
where we otherwise attempt
to play God with our lives?

"But..." I say, "from here I can see it all!
All incoming traffic
All outgoing traffic
What approaches and what departs..."

From here I can see everything!
It's clear. I'm clear for take off.
"You're clear for take off," I advise myself.
"Runway 4-9, four-niner, clear for take off."

Oh my, why?
You're not cut out for this kind of work, Wendy.
It takes a cool head to be an air traffic controller.
Confident.
Detailed.
Conscientious.
Certain.

Make a mistake and people die!

Lotta heart disease in this profession.
Lotta cardiac arrests,
Lotta blocked arteries,
bypass surgeries,
early retirement.

Who in their right mind would willingly assume
control tower duty over their own lives?

Me,
I'd rather listen for instructions
from a voice I recognize and trust.

Wendy, you're clear for landing on runway 2B.

Roger that.

Hidden Majesty

Alas, winter chill,
you cold-hearted soul;
you interrupt my
intake of reverie.

In sweet, sweet sorrow 
I clip the last blooms of fall --
wildflowers glowing in
fuchsia, crimson, burgundy and linen.

This daybreak, just past the first frost,
the browning of burn now
presses their edges.
alas, valiance on display until the very last, 
but for one.

     one

One set of glowing petals peeks from below,
having crept around and under;
its parent stem bent and broken to the ground,
yet, this one has found its way to shine upward.

… diminutive, brilliant, petite and perfect.

Why am I surprised this vine has bloomed so,
has outlasted its fellows 
there in its poverty and low estate?

Why?
In its meekness
Its humility
Its hardship
Its fortitude
All of these and beauty, too.

Why, did I presuppose?
its offering would be less,
its contribution trivial,
overlookable
pitiable
weak.

Look beyond!
the bridal bouquet awaits 
its day at the altar,
its fulfillment in the one
counted out,
now counted upon. 

there.
now
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