Rush hour
Cobb County
Nothing to mess around with
And yet, and yet
Amidst sirens, fast tires, honking horns
On the corner of busy Barrett Parkway
And Old 41
I hear them
First through my closed window
at the red traffic light
I stop mid-thought
Stunned by the sound
Of spring peepers in February
New Life
I roll down my window
Stick out my head as far as it will go
And listen
Take in the sweet little sound

Thank you, God, for
Moments like these,
Glimpses of grace
In a world gone mad

Riding with Angels

October 24, 2014

“There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
Of walking in the noisy street
And being the noise.”

He told me not to worry
As I headed home from Tucker
Angels surrounded my car

I-285 is not a piece of cake
Nor Spaghetti Junction.
Nor I-75
Nor US 41
Nor anywhere in Cobb County
Even Paulding now.

I used to enjoy driving
Have driven across the U.S.
Up and down the East Coast.

I’ve taken highways and byways and any kind of road with a kind of gusto
Singing often at the top of my lungs
Listening to the radio.

I’ve carried young people
Driven vans of old people
Travel groups to Milledgeville
to visit Flannery O’Connor’s hallowed ground
pick up a peacock feather.

But now I’m terrified.
Driving is not what it used to be
Trauma is involved

Lanes change daily
Road work never ends
Sudden deathly stops on Interstates shock the senses.

Cars brake red for no good reason
The Fast and Furious weave in and out
Semis roar, accelerate, their wheels next to my window.

Stressed drivers honk if one pauses a nanosecond
when the light turns green
Or ride your tail when you slow down to turn in a driveway, then honk,
as if it’s your fault you need to go home.

Ambulances scream to push through intersections
Not get hit as they help others.

I cross myself and pray for the wounded
Safe travels for the medics
And cars to HEAR the sirens
compelled–convicted–to pull over in time.

It’s all too noisy–loud–and–fast!

So, the man’s words comforted me that August Day
Barely two months ago.

He gave me a gift–
“My car is surrounded by angels
I need not worry when I drive”, he taught me.

But I do.

My hands shake. I scrunch my eyes as a car almost merges into me.
Plead to God that I won’t get hit or hit another
Continuously multitask as my gaze goes from rear view to side mirrors
to the situation in front
I grimace at the one who tailgates me
Tensely grab the steering wheel to swerve the stalled car in front of me
Keep my foot ready to accelerate or brake at the first moment’s warning.

I –and you–take our lives into our own hands everyday
when we are out Metro-Atlanta traffic.

Help me, Angels, to ride with you. Help us all, I pray.

Rumi teaches us to become the noise.

I would prefer to escape it.