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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Floods and Periphery

Tonight, as I tucked my seven-year-old son in, his fan caught my eye. It's not a particularly interesting fan. In fact, it's the fan that was here when we moved in years ago. From the 1980's. Brass. Ugly. But it works. And as it spun on medium-high, I stared at it. Its blades blurred into a smear of cool air. Then I looked up, into the bottom of the top bunk of my son's bunk beds as I lay with him as he dozed off. I noticed that the fan--in my peripheral vision--became more defined. The blades no longer spun in a blur, but were individual. My eyes shot to the fan, then to the bunk above me. An experiment of sorts that continued to validate itself.

As I lay there, visions of recent events fell into this perspective. Just today, I worked along side a dozen high school and middle schoolers as they helped two "older" couples expel inches of water from their basements. The collective was a blur of buckets, water being tossed, furniture moved, mission accomplished. But as I observed each one of the kids, I noticed their smiles. Their enthsiasum despite spending an unexpected day off of school by helping their neighbors dump water methodically, tediously, one bucket at a time. Instead of seeing the haze of a downpour, I noticed the individual drops of rain splattering my windshield. How they are individual and only one. But together, they flood basements. And highways. And fields. And move concrete, and mounds of earth, and change landscapes.

In the chaos and wreckage, I was inspired.

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