The Reason We Need Miracles

comments 32
Creative / Fiction

The electric yellow moped caught my attention because it was bright as an eye exam, despite the distance, and because it was tracing a gentle line through space, humming its way along a cock-eyed geodesic around the hill.  My focus collapsed, and I lost myself into a cloud of blank-faced calculations.  When I came back from wherever it is I went, I was convinced the small vehicle and it’s intriguing cargo were very likely inbound.  This realization was quickly superseded by the fact that I was hanging out the side of a backhoe by the steering wheel, shouting in two languages at once to a platoon of unflappable ditch diggers.  I had two other machines working the area fairly intensely, stacks of wooden pipe tucked here and there in the lee of small rock formations, and a little hut on the far hill where the moped had just cruised past– full of plans and surveyor’s instruments.

The bill of my ball cap was a salt flat of dried sweat.

The moped and its curious pilot disappeared behind one of the crazy geographic features we were hoping to circumvent, and I hopped down from the machine to inspect the most recent assertion of certain failure by one of the workers.  Sure enough, at the bottom of the half-baked excavation, I saw it.  A clay pipe the diameter of a redwood, thousands of years old, well-preserved by some freakish characteristic of the local shale, and filled no doubt with the explosive gas of fermented triceratops dung.  Just like the last one.  I put two fingers to my lips and let out one of those ungodly whistles that tells everyone in hearing distance– which was me and the two guys beside me– to stop moving until further instruction.

I couldn’t believe it.

A steady rainfall of molten swears began to come out of me, as if I was muttering spells.  It’s a strategy I had used many times before in similar circumstances, in an effort to soften up the land and reduce obstacles in our path into mush, and with similarly negligible results.

The electric yellow moped arrived shortly thereafter and glided to a halt, ending the only residual motion in the entire canyon.  The driver deployed the kickstand, rotated his satchel around, flipped his hard hat onto his balding head, took up a position about three feet to my right, and made a show of putting his clipboard in the business position.  Then he began to study our linear hole in the ground, our machinery, the offending pipeline, and our means and methods.  It was a clear attempt to try and discern just what in the hell was going on, but it seemed to be biased with the expectation of benign novelties.  After a few minutes of placid observation, he smirked at the sky and scribbled down a few notes onto his notepad.

He was so far down my list of urgent mysteries, I couldn’t even afford him the benefit of a well-mannered guess as to who he might have been.  Chuck arrived around the same time as our mystery contestant, and I pointed into the hole while looking away towards our thatched hut of drawings and field instruments.  I’d already seen the damage and couldn’t bear another look.

Chuck whistled appreciatively.

Most of our best communication with each other involved whistling of one sort or another.  Then we shared a wordless moment full of thoughts about the local economy, the relative scarcity of employment unrelated to the Prince’s obsession with full-scale reenactments of Mesopotamian river gardens, and the implications of yet another unforeseen obstacle of massive proportions.

“The Universe writes you a blank check,” Clipboard finally says, “deposits it at the center of your being, so that you can do anything you want, and this is how you cash it in…?  You guys are pressed right against it around here…  Wow.”

He was making a careful study of my facial expressions through eyes that were twinkling pageants of generosity.  For a moment I wondered if he had any vacancies.  I had a sudden feeling about moving in.  Then I made a mental note to tighten security on the job site.

I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about linked chains of cause and effect too big to touch that had been pummeling us for years– the absurd shape of the earth out here, with its stubborn geological fortitude, the Prince and his steady diet of gaudy projects, the plowable pile of invoices for equipment and fuel, and the gargantuan task of motivating farmers from the next principality to trade in their hoes for jackhammers and uninterrupted sunshine.

“Look,” I said, “we’ve got to get water to the seventh mesa resort by the third full moon after the Prince’s birthday, or heads are gonna’ roll.  This rock is a phenomenon packed tight as a traffic jam of black holes lined up for the Apocalypse, and it’ll be a month of Sunday’s before we can get any hydraulic fluid delivered out here.”

Clipboard nodded, content with an undisclosed conclusion.  He slipped me his business card, winked, and spun back around to hop on the moped.

“Well,” he said, before gliding away stage left.  “…we all have our reasons…”

I look back now on those days from time to time, and reflect on how insane it was to keep that card.  The sheer madness of it.  The card that didn’t fit anywhere in my life.  The card that felt like a ticket to somewhere else entirely.  The card that said:

Hafiz
Expert Witness of Transitory Phenomena
(Remodels Accepted)

32 Comments

  1. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    Haha! Of course Hafiz was the moped pilot!, humming along as he does. I should have realized that at first sentence! I like that blank check deposited at the center of your being. A miracle indeed.

    A ticket to somewhere else entirely, His card.

    Btw, can you whistle like that with your fingers to your lips? I have tried and tried that until close to passing out. Never could do it. I have to resort to walkie talkies.

    Peace,
    Mary

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ha! Good question, Mary. I cannot whistle very well in any form. I think I would need a personal trainer and months of failed attempts to discover how it all works. It’s kind of like miracles in that regard, isn’t it? They provide something we couldn’t have previously known. Walkie-talkies are a life-saver in this regard to be sure!

      Cracking up over here!
      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish Michael it is easy to cross the line of cynicism that makes one think that sometimes that cheque just bounces.. the universe’s banking system is somehow flawed.. or maybe accepting the flaws might actually set a person free? Love your writing…always look forward to your posts.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Rajani, yes I know what you mean. It can seem at times this blank check is a lie. A carrot dangled out in front of our cynicism to keep us moving forward in some semblance of direction, but on a sort of Sisyphean track. I think at some level this is actually true, but only because I think the check isn’t good at the types of stores we usually frequent. It’s more like a gift card, but we try to spend it in the incorrect establishments, and then we can become morose… It’s only that we keep trying things that can never work, that we fail to understand the gifts we have been given…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a strange place to hang out for sure, Brad. You’re a buried treasure down there! Sometimes we misinterpret our treasure, and we catch ourselves in the often dramatic act of trying to get it out of our way. So we can proceed on our path to the treasure. Ha!

      You may have a hard time finding a check-cashing outfit willing to take that one on! That’s what we are of course. The blank check, and the cashing in, all at once!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 4 people

    • Hi David,

      The depth of our misperceptions can take a few reads to truly fathom… Then we realize the import of that winning lottery ticket at the center of it all… It is such an extensive cast, to create the experience of such an important realization… No expense has been spared in this regard…!

      Blessings
      Michael

      Like

  3. It was the ‘clay pipe the diameter of a redwood, thousands of years old, well-preserved by some freakish characteristic of the local shale, and filled no doubt with the explosive gas of fermented triceratops dung.’ It was this one that stopped me. Amazing story Michael, and the fragility of the half seen vehicle of Hafiz’

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Tiramit! Much appreciated. The absurdities of this world are always in the details aren’t they? It’s reasonable that we should be able to pull a device out of our pocket that lets us communicate with most any point on the globe, but it’s astounding that this device won’t let me type what I want! It’s always correcting me, and about half the time incorrectly. There’s something crazy about all of this! Alongside the seeming fragility of grace…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmmm there’ll probably be an upgrade or a new more expensive or less expense version on Sale later, that does it all properly, thinks what it is you want to say absolutely perfectly. And that’ll come out shortly after I’ve spent a fortune on an inferior preceding version…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, of course…! That’s exactly how it works. But we need the early adopters to pave the way, don’t we? Peace can be quite a prickly undertaking for the frontiersman, but it gets easier for those who follow along the well-worn trails…

          Michael

          Like

          • I think I see what you mean, the Pioneers for Peace holding high the banners as they plunge into some kind of metaphorical tangle – a battle; rattle of sabres but no bloodshed. That sort of thing?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes. Like that. A stare down with illusion that seems it could get out of hand, then is resolved as the path becomes clear. One healed mind heals all minds is the adage. The path is there to walk…

              Liked by 1 person

            • Well then, that’s good news, looks like we won the game. We can congratulate ourselves indeed, without letting it slip and come crashing down to nothing, but in the meantime we celebrate. See you next season…

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Good thing we sometimes have the sheer madness to keep the cards that do not fit anywhere in our lives.
    This captivating writing gave me a feel of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in so many ways. Thank you!
    Kristina

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Kristina,

      Thank you for such a lovely reply! And yes, I couldn’t agree more. Half of the miracles in my life have been keeping the cards I couldn’t play at the time. To look back and realize how uncertain we felt about a decision– how arbitrary it almost seemed at the time– and then to discover years later it’s import is always amazing. It’s like we couldn’t really have done it any other way, but that is not how it felt at the time at all… Miracles are always sliding the stones beneath our feet that we need to walk our path…

      Joyously!
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Expert witness of transitory phenomena, hahaha. That is cool. Aren’t we all employed in his office when we go to the witness state?
    Next time I stay calm during turmoil, I will think of this expression.
    Hope you got a miracle to fix fhe situation.
    Love,
    Karin

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I think so, Karin. Once we go to the witness state, we all merge into that omni-present holiness. Next time I don’t stay calm in the midst of turmoil, I will hope to remember this moment… 🙂

      Love to you also,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I wonder if we all take turns playing Hafiz for one another? Do you draw some of your inspiration from your job? Are you an engineer of some kind?

    Have you written lately about your writing process? ( have I missed it or perhaps you have not written on it? I must say I am curious. 🙂

    We all need miracles Michael. This reminds me of the song by the Dead ” I need a Miracle Every Day”.

    thanks for offering us glimpses of lite…

    peace, Linda

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Linda,

      Yes I am an engineer, and I think it would be impossible for the experiences of my professional life to avoid spilling over into my creative efforts at various levels. I work on energy generation and distribution systems– most often combined heat and power plants or central energy facilities for campus settings where a single organization owns multiple buildings, like a research complex or a university.

      I haven’t written much previously about my writing process. It is an interesting idea, but I don’t know exactly what I would say about it! Ha! It almost always begins with a hunch or a feeling, and I try to follow the thread, describing what I envision or feel, and then another comes. And then another. Like with this piece, I only began with the idea of Hafiz indicating we all have our reasons, and the idea was that we create our lives in ways we really don’t understand. It’s never obvious. Our lives simply ensnare us, almost. And at times if someone says, this could be different, our initial reaction would be to protest. To explain why we have to do what we’re doing. Why choice has been taken from us. Why we can’t just willy-nilly go and do or be something else entirely. And then there’s Hafiz… shattering this fiction… Well, we all have our reasons…

      And then the rest was just creating a system of details to build around it. To make it more of a story. But I don’t know as I captured the essential feeling all too well in this one. Sometimes the details take off into paths of their own and it can be hard in a small space to make it all work…

      Peace to you also,
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

      • thanks for providing those details. I know on some level they may not matter, haha matter!, but your pieces contain many portions that are foreign to me, as I am not particularly familiar with the technical or mechanical professions. I am often interested in one’s creative process, so thank you for providing me with a feel for yours. Keep on doing what you do, it works beautifully and supplies so much love and wonder…..
        peace,
        Linda

        Liked by 1 person

  7. “Just like the last one” – makes me grin – Ka boom, again…I love to see all the ways the key dropper makes his entrance in your created worlds. I get the feeling he reads every script of yours with delight, collaborating with you to surprise you every time.
    a rare marriage exist within thee, this time around, M!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Marga! You have it exactly. I’m always surprised when the next idea arrives– when the next key-of-the-month arrives in the mail. In a way, it’s like reconditioning myself. I sit down and try to write my way out of some box I’ve been in. There’s always help that arrives when we sit down to receive a path out of the absurdities that form the bars of the cages we occupy…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  8. You have made me laugh heartily this Saturday afternoon Michael, with your most imaginative allegory of the absurd, for which I thank you. “Just like the last one.” – this was my favourite line. Great comic timing my friend. XD

    Just on a rather mundane note, yet one that intrigues me nonetheless, what is your conception of a miracle? Is it related to ACIM, and if so, what is the conception there? I never quite know where you stand in regards to the supernatural.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Hariod! I love that I have tickled your comedic sensibilities, and that a moment of joy has rippled across the pond and bounced back and forth a few times!

      I hope you will permit me to defer an answer to your question briefly, since I decided the commentary section may not be the most appropriate venue for what would undoubtedly be too lengthy a reply. It will be the subject matter of my next post…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  9. I wrote myself a check from the universe and marked it paid in full. Since that day, as I sat a gifted small red colored happy Buddha upon it and some words that fill my heart, the miracles keep pouring in, and as soon as I wondered about the yellow moped, I figured only a happy soul like Hafiz would be the mad driver careening in utter happiness, getting there when he got there, no rush as he already knew he’d find a friend for life in you. What a wonderful story, and Hafiz is a miracle, as is everyone who touches our lives in small or large ways. Thank you for another fine gift of words, peace and love, always, K

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Kim! We truly are miracles to one another as you noted here. I love the way you responded to this piece, knowing that one moment of true bounty begets a few dozen more. The miracles keep pouring in once the dam is broken open. My apologies for the delay in responding to you here. It is always a joy to share a moment with you!

      Blessings
      Michael

      Like

  10. Wonderful Michael, you are such a gifted writer, thank you for the lift. I am putting the yellow moped in my toy chest along with the raspberry popsicle and the nerf football. Godspeed, Harlon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds good, Harlon! I appreciate the kind words. And that’s quite a set of props for glorious living you’ve assembled! Happy travels and Godspeed to you also! Michael

      Liked by 1 person

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