Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tsunamis and what we live that's life threatening

Can you imagine what it would be like to see a wall of water coming towards you?  Or perhaps you don't even have time to react before it swallows you up.  In the movie, "The Last Wave", water was the Aboriginal prophesy of the end.
    What was the most life threatening situation you have ever been in?  Thankfully, nothing as extreme in my life (so far) and most have been of my own making-none of the horrors of the revolts of nature.  Most recently I was swimming in Florida when a fisherman on shore said, "You'd best get out of the water now.  There's a shark."  I moved as if in slow motion to reach the shore. 
    When I was younger and far less mortal (in my mind) there were many incidents.  On a beach at night at Pie de la Cuesta, Mexico armed men tried to hold us up.  The memory I have is still of men pointing shiny guns, blending into the night.  Then there was the time I jumped off a moving train near Brindisi, Italy. 
    Most foolishly was my year spent in Medellin, Colombia in the mid 80's at the height of the drug violence.  There I ducked under a table in a restaurant as a shootout was taking place, saw a man shot on a street corner, and found the windows blown out of the lobby of my apartment building.  And tanks riding up the street while I was sitting at a cafe. Towards the end of my yearlong teaching stint, I was worried I wouldn't get out.
     Youth brings some freedom from fear.  But it's a lot to sacrifice if something goes wrong.  Take Rachel Corrie with all her bravery, facing the Israeli tanks.  And take Christopher McCandless (Into the Wild)dying when he was so close to a highway. 

The Buddhists Say

The Buddhists say
death never jilts you
at the altar,
or finds you
hunched over an e-mail
in eternal wait.

My friend,
tried and true forever,
the black dog nipping
at my heels,
the ever present guest.

We climb Everest,
float down in mists,
drive the empty roads
of West Texas,
speeding past buzzards
perched on posts.
Why not?
 I am never alone.

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