Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Divided Highway

Last week, the temperature was about 70°, the wind was whipping through the open windows and I was driving north in Michigan on US 31 (a divided highway with very pretty trees and natural-landscaping). This section of highway was the type that improved any car -- as long as it windows can open. In normal circumstances I would've been impressed and slightly elated at how pretty and emotionally-full the drive was.

But . . .

While I was driving, I was listening to a two-part story on NPR. The first part of the story was recorded in 1994. It involved two 13 year old boys who had overcome some obstacles and were placed in positive-habit-forming foster homes. Listening to the innocence and openness and world-is-my-oyster views, one got the feeling that these young kids were initially given a sour deal in life, but the next 15 years looked like they would be full of improvement.

Skip ahead 12 years to 2006. Adult male voices fill the speaker with background noises that do not bring to mind pictures of the pleasant life. The echoing other voices and the clink of the metal impart that this voice is confined. And this boy-now-man has the better story. For whatever reason, life continued to give this person bad blows. Or ultimately he found himself in this predicament. But, his life is still working and (presumably) can still be improved.

The other young boy's voice can no longer be heard. He died this February mostly from his environment.

Where does it happen? How does it happen? Does the marching of time keep time with things going downhill, or are there specific and unique occurrences that provide turns for the worse or turns for the better? Listening to the innocent voices, then skipping 12 years to a man's voice and cell doors. . . Argh.

That stretch of US 31 which should have been a very enjoyable and very pretty drive through tree-lined roads will not be remembered by me as such. It will remind me of, well . . . Crap, life is not only unfair, it can be harsh, unrelenting, and hard to stomach. Posted by Picasa

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