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Yesterday, I learned that a friend had been in a bad car accident. I haven’t seen him in over a year but we send emails from time to time. He is young and very fit, a yoga instructor, and a spiritual one at that. Not just a bendy-flexy, hot dude; he walks the walk as they say. Apparently, he was riding his motorcycle on the Pacific Coast Highway en route to one of his classes and although he had the right of way (a green light), somebody else felt the color was different or was (what do you bet?) on his/her cell phone. My friend went over the handlebars crashing to the pavement, lucky not to be hit by other traffic. His pelvis is shattered and I imagine other painful things are occurring in his body. He has a huge support group and a positive disposition and though I suspect the pain is shocking to him, he will handle it with his usual grace and dignity.

I like those words paired together: grace & dignity. My yoga teacher likes to say “come down with grace and dignity or as much as you can muster” when we are coming out of postures like headstand or some other humiliating position intended for 19-year old bodies.

I’m not going to talk about yoga; I’m going to talk about Death, again. I got the news last night about my friend’s accident and it upset me. Suddenly I was confronted with the prospect of death, again. It’s been some time since someone close to me has died but I remember the feeling all too well. Those particular deaths were almost all drug and alcohol related so somehow this seemed more violent and violating. A truly loving, compassionate, and kind human being was almost snuffed out, and not of his own hand.

I’m not going to talk about the violence related to cell phones. That’s obvious now, isn’t it?

This morning, I sat in our sunroom (think den with lots of windows) and by chance, I looked at one of the window sills (panes?) just as a rather ugly spider (black & hairy, with striped legs and red back) killed an unsuspecting bumblebee. As if bees don’t have it hard enough these days with that killer mold or whatever it is that is killing our honeybees across the United States. This one was in the wrong place at the wrong time, just like my friend. This time I had to see it happen. The spider wasn’t on his cell phone, he was doing his job but it was still violent to watch. I watched in horror as they tumbled over the ledge and onto the floor, knowing that the spider would win. I hate that spider. I know, I know, he was only doing his job.

I put the image out of my mind and went on with my weird day.

Later in the afternoon, I went back to the house where I have been house/dog/teenager-sitting. The cleaning lady and I exchanged a few jokes about the calluses on her knees and ankles (from cleaning the floor on her hands and knees), and she left for the day. Actually, it does a better job cleaning the floor when you get down and dirty…way more effective.

A minute passed and she came back beckoning me outside, saying “There is a snake in the driveway.”

Can you see where this story is going? I sure didn’t.

I’ve never seen a garter snake but I knew what they were supposed to look like. This one was about 2 feet long, grayish black with a yellow stripe. We stared at him in wonder like two children giggling, with a bit of fear. We agreed we didn’t like snakes and she went on her way home. I skedaddled back into the house and called a friend to confirm the kind of snake it was.

About an hour later, I walked outside to see if the plumber had arrived and, while I waited for him to get out of his truck, I glanced down the street. Right at that moment I watched as a rather large raven took off from the ground flying up to the top of a tree. I looked at the spot where he alighted (from?) and there was the snake. My heart sank. I was pretty certain he was a goner but I had a small hope that he was still alive and I had interrupted the Raven’s late lunch. As I stood there motionless, the raven returned…to his meal. I watched as he picked sinew from the snake’s lifeless body. What a friggin bummer.

No, I don’t much care for snakes but I will admit it was a beautiful little creature, elegant in his movements and dapper in his attire. An hour earlier he was en route to killing a mouse or something equally as pretty. Now, his lifeless form rests in the gutter.

I’m not sure why some days we see things like this as if they are being performed for us and other days we barely notice a bee unless to swat it. But death is brazenly lurking around me right now and it is unsettling.

I guess I won’t go into my worries of the possibility of some psycho opening fire in a very busy Starbuck’s yesterday. I know how possible it is. That’s why I make my coffee at home.

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