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Wishin’ I was Knee Deep in the Water Somewhere…

Gonna push the world away for a minute, pretend I don’t live in it…

I was on the periphery of a tragedy today, one that wasn’t mine in any way, so I won’t go into details. I did what little I could for the people closer to it, and thought about how communities are when sudden grief strikes: first things fall apart, as people find their day-to-day routine interrupted, and there is a flurry of regrouping, and then they pull together.

So I don’t really want to push the world away, except for a tiny minute. Mostly I want to embrace all the times I have seen people pull together—the lines (they were extraordinary) of people trying to donate blood or volunteer in Manhattan ten years ago, the babysitting and casseroles that fall into place when worlds fall apart or just take a sudden unexpected turn. The way when things happen, people just want to help, even when there isn’t a whole lot to be done other than to be there.

I was driving along, kind of pondering this, and singing along to this song, and trying to just get my little ruffled self back in order, and the little voices in the back seat kept interrupting. You know how those little voices are. They do not want you to get yourself back in order. They want you to get them a muffin, or let them role down the window, or take the wrapper from their cheese stick. They want, they want, they want.

You cannot tell the little voices to hush while you just try to soak up the chorus. You just have to take a breath, and answer. The good part, I guess, is if you can manage to be awfully, awfully glad that you and your little ruffled soul are still just drivin’ along, singing, or not singing, your song.

I’m still ruffled, but only in the way everybody ought to be ruffled, when we’re forced to remember that cherry blossoms were meant to be ephemeral, that nothing is forever, and all that other stuff we usually push away. I don’t get any “sunshine blue skies gonna wash my blues away” like the guy in the song. But the song itself—and yeah, the little voices—they help.


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