Put together a small, historic street edged in snow, ten degrees, wind blustering through, add a sprinkle of ice with a major snowstorm on the way and presto: terrible drivers. This is giving the benefit of the doubt that Massachusetts drivers even know on a good day that the white, blocked out area glowing in the dark means pedestrians crossing.
Today I stepped out onto one of those very white, obvious crosswalks — a third of the way into one to be precise — and a small red car blew right in front of me by inches. I couldn’t help myself.
“HEY” I shouted in a most unladylike manner. She never hit the brake or looked at me. “I get so angry when this happens,” I said, turning to the gentleman walking a few steps behind me.
The hood turned. Dark eyes looked at me solemnly.
The beard spoke softly, “You got to let that go.”
Long hair blew across his chin, wrapped around his jacket.
He continued, “Anger is the red bull, it does not give you wings.”
I stopped on the other side of the road and thanked him.
Well, readers, I have certainly been thinking about that red bull all afternoon. Am I getting to that age — that ‘freeing 50’ — that somehow gives me the right to tell off strangers? That I know what is right or wrong, absolutely? Horrifying. Maybe. Sometimes.
But I am really thinking about those wings. What transcends us out of the dark days of January, the dangerous crosswalk, the difficult days?
I like to look at this photo and remember: My mother had a year left when I photographed her that day. Would you know that in this picture? She had her lamb, her scottie, chickens were squawking at her feet and the sun was beaming down on her. She was a master of staying in the moment, especially in 1984, chemo options exhausted. She was looking at the bright side, the wonderful day, her beautiful farm.
“It’s a good day,” she would say when I got grouchy about something that spring.
“So shut-up about that.”
Take the moments. Let that red bull out to pasture. Feel the sunlight of family and friends. Keep each other safe.
Thanks, strange guy. I will not forget you.
I will look both ways, everyday.