15 Oct

Wawa

The local convenience stores have all installed fancy touch screen computers that allow customers to place their order without even uttering a word.

Late at night, I am the only person standing in front of the deli and its technological testimony to efficiency. The young man behind the counter stands there silently, waiting for my fingers to beep away my desired sandwich until a purchase order spits out of the printer in front of him.

“Hi,” I say.

No response.

After paying for the sandwich, I return to the deli to pick it up.

“Thanks,” I say.

Again, silence.

The sustenance of the sandwich is of little comfort when the sustenance of human interaction is missing.

I leave the store, my soul growling in hunger.

01 Oct

Autumn’s martyrs

Fiery leaves signal the dawn of all middles, a waning bell curve between the activity of summer and the dormancy of winter. Autumn – the midpoint of all that lives and all that dies. I stand in the sun’s light and feel the warmth of summer months in the midst of fall. Stepping aside, however, into the oak tree’s shadow, and the chill of winter rushes me forward a few months. So too is it when the clouds pass between the earth and the sun. Nature centering itself – the apex of autumn!

The clouds pass by and the sun beats down on the picnic blanket, seeming to know that its days of blazing are fading away as its daily work shift grows shorter and shorter. The last remaining yellow jacket of the season wanders in and out of the soda can. It too is at nature’s crossroads. Gone are the days when its yellow and black brethren busied themselves with scenting the world. Yet not all have fallen to the clutches of coldness. This one remaining survivor at my feet perseveres, hoping to conquer the cold and to buzz its wings all winter long in defiance of the very nature that has all but decimated its race. Or so it hopes.

And so there it remains, always on the lookout for that autumn picnicker, hoping to extend its already overdue life by getting drunk on a Coke – its much more nourishing flowers all fruitless, wilting to whence they came and in so doing providing nourishment for future generations. The leaves begin to join the flowers, giving life – through death – to the soil and the seeds it will bear.

The yellow jacket is not far behind.

Such selfless beings, autumn’s martyrs.