Strange Reflections

Standing silently and motionless, the outline of her body as withered and worn as one of the leaf-bare Baobab trees silhouetted across the dry scorched African savanna around her.  Patiently, she watched and waited. Her aged but familiar body comfortable, as the first of the rainy season’s thunder clouds and lightning, swept rapidly across the darkening plain towards the small clay hut that was her home. She remembered the pure joy and elation that had coursed through her as a child the first time that she had seen the vast herds of springbok and buffalo moving with quivering expectation towards the now muddy brown watering holes in the distance.

She knew as well as she knew her own name, ‘Leloe’, that this would be her last season.  Yet with that knowledge came a sense of anticipation. A feeling of rebirth and newness just as the animals were feeling now.  She stood there for a long moment lost in the coolness of the breeze. As the first light drops of rain touched her skin and with a small smile she turned and went to prepare her evening meal.

I gaze at a man on a busy street corner in Calcutta with his chair and his broken mirror giving shaves,  another man sat cross-legged on the bustling sidewalk with a small tool in his hand, repairing broken, worn-out flip flops, to those who stopped from the rushing multitude of passing bared legs waking around him. I reevaluate the meaning of my own life. I can come to no conclusions.

So, a Blue Whale walks into a bar. The bartender asks him what he wants to drink, and the whale replies a long glass of pale pacific currents with glacier ice cubes and a sprig of algae. You know, make that a double, and then dejectedly lays his head down on the bar.

The guy sitting a few stools down catches the bartender’s attention. “So, What’s the big guys problem?” he asks.   Leaning in close and whispering the bartender replied, “he waited an entire year for his perfect mate to find him, and then when she finally arrives, she just turns around and swims away.”

“Why would she do something so cruel?” The patron asked perplexed.

“She said that he didn’t look anything like the picture that he sent to her in his Whale Song.”

There cannot be a North without a South. It cannot be a River unless it flows. There can be no death without life. Yet our consciousness creates all things. Illusion and the hope that it is all real.

I sense the Endlessness wonder and beauty of the universe. I reach out my hand and I cannot feel it, yet I can touch it with my mind. When I look at her, I also feel the Infinity of possibilities. I call it love. I reach out my hand.

In the absolute stillness of her once-bustling kitchen, it wasn’t quite clear to her why each methodical tick of the clock increased her feelings of time standing still. 

His teeth clamped firmly to the lion’s cheek, arms around the muscled neck, his legs wrapped tightly around the taut feline torso, he hung on for every precious second, knowing a swift but violent death was only moments away. He almost smiled as he thought, ‘this is how my life has always been.  How odd to think that it took me until now to realize it’.

With a razor in his hand, he stared mystified at the matured but not unhandsome reflection of his face in the mirror. He recognized it of course but realized he had not quite caught up with it.

A young man sat on a knoll by a quiet lake procrastinating about the direction his life should take.  He shifted his attention and contemplated a shining silver and gold butterfly that had landed on his arm. “So, little one”, he said to the oddly colored little creature. “I have heard it said that if a butterfly were to flap its wings a tsunami could be created on the other side of the earth. I wonder what would happen if you flapped your wings.”

A man was walking in his neighborhood when he was distracted by a young voice calling out to him.   “You got a dime to buy some of my lemonade Mister.  Turning toward a small table with a pitcher of yellow liquid and plastic cups, he replied. “Yeah sure kid, I have a dime, but I’m not thirsty”.  “What’s that got to do with it”, the young boy replied.  “It’s for a good cause.” 

Looking slightly perplexed the would-be buyer walked over to stand in front of the table and asked the boy, “now what on earth would make you stand around all day pestering the good citizens of this neighborhood to fork out their hard-earned cash for your lemonade?”  With an easy response, the young man replied immediately.  “You see, it’s my old man. He’s a little cheap and won’t give me any money to take my girl to a movie.”

After a moment of contemplation, the guy replied. “Well, if he’s the scrooge you say he is, why don’t you, oh, say, move on to greener pastures, say Cleveland or Omaha.  The weather’s not bad and I hear that the people are very nice there. I would bet that you could sell a bucket load of lemonade in Cleveland.”

“Well, the boy replied, pausing for dramatic effect, a slight glimmer in his eye.  “It certainly has possibilities and is worthy of consideration. Most of the time he doesn’t give me too much of a hard time.  He’s just old, and old guys of his generation just don’t get how complicated it is to be a kid nowadays. I keep thinking that if I stick around long enough, he could, you know, learn from me and that he might come around.  You know, loosen up, go with the flow a bit more.”

The man pursed his lips, his face unreadable, and gazed at the boy. “Well, good luck with that”, he said drawing out a dime and laying it on the table and grabbing a glass of lemonade, turned and started to walk away. The boy smiled as he put the small coin into his pocket, then yelled “hey” after the man who stopped and looked back.  “Thanks, Dad.”

Why does hot air rise and cold air fall, the child asked in class.” “Well”, the teacher replied, “the molecules in hot air move faster, and are farther apart, that makes them lighter.” 

“What’s a molecule”, the young girl asked.  Her teacher let out a breath and began very slowly to explain. “Molecules are a very tiny piece of the universe that are made from atoms, and atoms are made up of particles. Particle are very very small and are the building blocks that make all things; chairs, birds, even you,” the teacher replied.  A perplexed look came over the child. “So, if particles are like really tiny balls of clay that God made to make everything, then what’s God made out of”? 

A young man sat on a knoll by a quiet lake procrastinating about the direction his life should take.  He shifted his attention and contemplated a shining silver and gold butterfly that had landed on his arm. “So, little one”, he said to the oddly colored little creature. “I have heard it said that if a butterfly were to flap its wings a tsunami could be created on the other side of the earth. I wonder what would happen if you flapped your wings.”

To his astonishment, the butterfly responded. “Well, if I flap them once a new timeline would be created, one in which you would find true love and have five happy and healthy children.”   “Hmm”, the man replied, “and if you were to flap them twice?”  “Well, in that universe you would be hit by a truck and die horribly on your forty-sixth birthday.”  After a moment’s hesitation, “and if I don’t like any of those options the man asked cautiously.”  With that the butterfly flapped its wings three times, lifting into the air and was swept away on a gentle breeze.

It was one hundred and two in the shade and the heat of the day burned through the soles of his shoes. If he didn’t make this last sale he was going to be finished.  His life would be over. His boss, the owner of his firm, with his fancy cars and stupid bright ties, had it all, the perfect life, but was a real bastard when it came to quotas. He began walking more quickly down the virtually deserted sidewalk, the few people that he did meet moved hurriedly along, heads down, scurrying to some unknown but obviously important destination. Checking his watch again, sweat and fear poured over him in waves.  As he turned the final corner, he reached into his suit jacket pocket and grabbed his phone that he realized had been ringing for some time.

“Hello, listen, sorry, whoever you are, but I can’t talk now”.  He did not recognize the voice on the other end but somehow knew immediately that it was ‘God’.  “Hey,” God said, “listen I know that you’re busy, but I have a little job for you, and it can’t wait.” “Uh, yeah, sure,” the man said, anything, anything you need!”

“I want you to go down to 9th avenue and third.  There is a liquor store there.  I want you to knock it over”.  “What do you mean? knock it over!” The salesman now stopped dead in his tracks stammered.  “You know,” said God, “rob the joint.” “What? why would you want me to do that!”  “We can discuss that later, just do it for me, ok?”

The dingy yellow and black sign over the door read ‘Billie’s bargain Liquor’.  Cheap metal bells made a worn-out attempt at a clang as he entered the cool air of the surprisingly immaculate interior of the shop. Abba was singing Dancing Queen over hidden speakers and a tall, very dark woman in brightly colored Caribbean dress and head wrap stood reading the racing sheets behind the counter.

When he just stood sheepishly in front of her, she looked up and asked, “What can I do for you, mate”? Her broad British accent startled him back to the moment.  “Well, uh, I”, and he raised his eyes from his feet.  “I am here to rob you.” 

“Now why on earth would you want to do something like that”?  She asked, waiting patiently. “It’s, it’s God. He said he had a little job for me.” “Well Bloody-ell,” she said in an irritated but not unsympathetic voice. “That’s the second time this month.” They stared into each other’s eyes for a long moment. “How about if I just give you some crisps and a couple of cans of soda at no charge and we call it even?”  “Well, I guess that would be ok, you know he wasn’t very specific.”

She went over to the end of the counter and reaching into a cooler brought out two diet cokes and laid them on the counter alongside a bag of Frito Ley’s sour cream and onion potato chips.  Instinctively he began to reach into his pocket to pay and she shook her finger at him. “Uh. Uh, this one is on the big guy.” He took the items and awkwardly wedged them under his arm.

Stumbling towards the door he stopped as if confused and turned back towards the woman. “You said someone else came in about a month ago.  Do you know who it was”?  “Not sure, ‘love’, never got a name.  It was a bit peculiar though. He was dressed in a very expensive suit, but he had on this bright orange tie and he wore the same gormless expression that you have on your mug.”

Stepping out into the sweltering heat once again, he looked in the direction of his business appointment and turned and walked in the other direction.  Not knowing what to do, he opted for a park bench in a small green area surrounding a fountain throwing plumes of water into the air. He sat for the longest time, watching as a mother stood smiling as her two young children took turns rushing through the splashing downpour, squealing and laughing with each new effort. It occurred to him, ’not only had he talked to God today but for the first time in as long as he could remember, he could see him, ‘God’.  He was right there in front of him.’