Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Across the darkness of the morning sky, an incredibly bright star seemed to chase after an almost-half-moon today. Thirty minutes later, as dawn made itself felt, they were gone, the two of them ... poof!

In Oso, Wash., a town with a population of about 200, rain-saturated earth let go on March 22 and created an enormous mud slide that killed at least 14 and left others missing. Fourteen or more out of 200 ... poof!

In Malaysia, a passenger jet carrying 239 people -- more people than live in Oso, Wash. -- went down on March 8 in a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Searches today focus in the southern Indian Ocean, but certainty remains elusive as families and friends of the passengers grow frantic for news that will put a period -- however painful -- on the sentence that might read, "poof!"

A person would have to be a zombie not to sympathize with the anguish in Oso or Kuala Lumpur. Loss is not just some religio-philosophical talking point. Poof is no joke... and yet it's everywhere and always ... like air. Poof!

And in the same way that the poof of loss is endless -- where are the moon and star now? where did the past five minutes go? -- so too is what might be called the un-poof of things, the coming into existence. Poof of loss, poof of gain ... everything poofing all the time.

Where there is no escape, ignoring the situation hardly seems a useful escape hatch. Somehow there needs to be a way to make friends with what is not an enemy. And how is that possible?

I don't know. I'm still stuck in the southern Indian Ocean and in the sunlight that has replaced the moon and its friend.

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