December 24, 2021

Two sides of the same road

Helicopters are whirring above. I heard the first sounds of sirens about thirty minutes ago; they started and then they did not stop. It is almost 9am, and today it is Christmas Eve. It rained all day yesterday and it rained all night long, too. Someone—multiple people—have had a car crash just near my house, on the southbound freeway below Dodger Stadium. I have checked the news reports and it appears that there was an eight-car pileup involving two semi-trucks. One person has died.

It is a strange thing to hear the noise as I sweep my backyard from the flooding we experienced last night. There is also the Christmas music coming from our living room. I wonder what is it like to wake up with feelings of joy and celebration, only to have those feelings turn to darkness and death before it is lunchtime?

There is a family who soon will know. They will see what an empty chair looks like at their Christmas dinner, presents left wrapped underneath the Christmas tree. In their home, there will be nothing; and just next door, there will be everything.

Christmas Eve used to be a day for family—grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles—Midnight Mass and too much food. But this morning, I am sweeping wood chips—fragments of the greater tree.

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Brando Conklin © 2022