By all accounts, I should be dead.
There was the time I lived in rural Kenya. While playing on the back porch one day, I noticed our dog staring at something under the chest freezer. Taking a look, I found myself staring face to face with a spitting cobra.
Thankfully, the dog started barking and distracted the snake – keeping it from going after me.
There was the time I got malaria. With the upset stomach that won’t keep down anything you eat, the fevers that make you want to sit in a bath of ice water, and the chills that drive you underneath the the thickest blankets around, it’s not a fun disease. But it’s much worse if you don’t have the treatment. It can kill.
I was a lucky one. I had access to the necessary drugs and got better in a few days.
strong as a hippo
There was the time I was hiking near Lake Naivasha with my parents and brothers. To get to the lake, we had to pass under an electric fence, which had enough voltage to prevent a hippo from getting into the campground. As I ducked under the wire, my back grazed against it. I got a shock.
It doesn’t take much of a shock to stop the heart. But I didn’t touch the wire too long, and felt fine after a bit of rest.
There was the time I walked down the sidewalk in my neighborhood. Just as I prepared to cross an alley, a vehicle rushed passed me. The driver, distracted by her cell phone, didn’t pay attention to the sidewalk or slow down as she exited.
If I had been a few steps further, her vehicle would have hit me.
not much lies between
death and life
These are just some of the incidents I remember. And there are countless times I’m not even aware of – where I walked the line of death and life and lived?
You probably have stories of near death experiences too – moments where a second’s delay or lucky step stood between you and the end.
As far as I can tell, this business of living is one big miracle. We don’t deserve to be here. But we are.
It’s a gift.
And so we walk, pausing to notice the beauty all around us.
Go out for a walk in the morning sun
With just a touch of chill upon the air
Have not a bit of hurry to be done
Slowly wandering without without a single care
Converse with your imaginary friend
Think all about your hopes and fears and dreams
Ponder the many ways you wish to spend
The time you have remaining through the years
Stop suddenly and take a closer view
At the wonder of a frozen puddle
Crystalline bubbles trapped like frozen dew
Beneath a surface glassy and subtle
Walking you never know what you may see
Open to the unexpected beauty
So we drink our tea in stillness, giving notice to the sun and rain contained within.
The songs of Kenya dance within my tea
A hymn of rolling hills with lovely green
And clay red dirt upon the still ravine
And on blue sky above the clouds float free
A melody of high humanity
An anthem of the fairest people seen
And notes of love with joy sprinkled between
The song from echoes of my memory
Within silence I take a mindful sip
The first notes of the chorus are begun
As breathing becomes slow and soft and deep
As harmony rests lightly on my lip
Silent tears fall as I begin to weep
By the song’s beauty I am overrun
So we eat with our family, celebrating the blessings of food and fellowship.
Gather round the table on back lawn
Join in the feast of food and pure delight
With plates and silverware resting upon
That tablecloth of checkered blue and white
Sip sweet refreshment slowly from your glass
Each drop of water mirroring the sun
Rest two bare feet upon the soft, green grass
And eat without a hurry to be done
Although the food may seem so fresh and sweet
It is not the highlight of the evening
The great joy comes from those with whom you eat
And the fellowship that makes the meeting
It is a day well spent with family
It is a fun day in their company
So we engage in our work, no matter how trivial the task may seem.
Up against the edge the soapy water splashes
From hands that swirl and scrub within the sink
The steel pans ring together with a clink
To remove the food and soot and ashes
Sparkle yet again the pretty glasses
So that from them someone may have a drink
Pause over every dish to give a think
As the time spent scrubbing slowly passes
Is this humble task a chore or pleasure
A job to do before having dessert
Or a chance to savor water’s treasure
A work far more than to remove the dirt
It’s up to you how you perceive the time
But if you choose it can be rather fine
So we sleep and enjoy our rest.
So marvelous it is to go to sleep
After a day filled up with work and play
To lay silently still without a peep
An end to match the delight of the day
Laying down and turning off all the light
Pulling the warmest blankets to your head
Settling in for another sleep-filled night
Resting softly within your own sweet bed
As your eyelids shut out the world outside
Slip into a state of peaceful dreaming
In an unconscious world you go abide
The broadest smile on your face is beaming
Farewell my friends for my time has now come
To sleep until the rising of the sun
For if we can’t enjoy the life we have, what good is today. Tomorrow may not even come.
PHOTO: Yay! I’m alive.