On winter nights in our village, on the outer fringes of the universe, the S.U.Vs. slink down from the hills and gather hungrily around the gas bar.
Coming out of the grocery store the other day I stepped out into the parking lot, watched my chance and skipped between the cars to my van. A familiar act, performed many times over the years. This time was different, as though a veil had slipped from my eyes.
All those massive steel cars, the reek of exhaust, those shadowy figures hunched behind steering wheels, all totally strange and totally obscene. My familiar way of life held up to a mirror and seen in a nightmare light. Sure we all are aware of the problems associated with fossil fuel use, we may even somehow know how recently the world has become dependent on it, but to see it so clearly and unexpectedly, as in a vision of the future, is unnerving.
Visions are not usually thought of as being like this. The Lady comes wrapped in light to comfort us, we see a hopeful picture of our future, not this old testament kind of revelation of ‘woe unto you’. So where does one go with something like this? I cannot see myself giving up the van right away, and besides, I had a sense that the mental leap was not just about transportation.
That shift in the parking lot spoke to a complete world view: my culture, my outlook, language, words, concepts. Everything I thought and how I did it was called into question. How does one even think or exist, be human, without that framework that has been abuilding since I was born? We all, no matter what our culture, what world view, swim in a stream of life among our fellows. We may be able to imagine life in other streams, other cultures, but to imagine the valley, mountains, the deserts beyond, would take an imagination formed somewhere outside of streams. I have just leapt briefly out of the water, glimpsed the shore and understood the water and my place in it for a moment. Do I put aside this disturbing thought or use it as a springboard to see further out beyond my stream? Of what use would that be? Crazy making. Ah, but to see a greater world, wouldn`t that be grand!