When I put on my "scooter helmet" (an oversized dirt bike helmet) there was a bee trapped inside it frantically slamming itself against the plastic face-windshield looking for an escape. It kept bouncing off my cheek bones and my closed eyelids and my ever-protruding 'Spanish nose'. I yelped like a little girl trying to yank my helmet off without getting stung. A hidden camera would have captured footage that could have deeply effected my masculine reputation doing irreversible damage to others' confidence in my already volatile manhood. But thankfully--to my knowledge--there are no surveillance cameras monitoring my private life. So this whole experience is between me and God.
As I pulled out onto the pavement and headed down the road, I couldn't help but noticed the inordinate amount of roadkill emanating the pungent smells of rotting dead flesh. The animal that seems to have the hardest time getting across the highways and byways recently is the ill-equipped turtle. Its shell can protect him from critters seeking its life, but for some reason all-terrain vehicles and garbage trucks don't find the protective shell all that intimidating.
I've noticed multiple turtles making their way up from the swamp and into my lawn to lay their eggs, a process which is nothing short of awe-inspiring to watch. But on their way back to where they came from, they are getting disoriented and moving East instead of North and this is taking them through the "valley of the shadow of death" otherwise known as Parnell Ave., a highly trafficked shortcut used by many hurried humans to cut across the countryside. These poor mama turtles don't stand a chance but for the grace of our Lord. I couldn't help but notice their crushed carcasses lining the road as I scooted by them holding a momentary funeral in my head for each and every turtle that gave its life that the next generation may live. They would just stay in their swamps and oversized mud puddles but for the God-given urge to be fruitful and multiply in this spring season of sexual reproduction that fills even the most reclusive species within the animal kingdom with a passion to procreate.
But the scooter ride was not all death and dirges, it was a glorious time to reflect on the good things granted by the Father of Lights in whom there is no shadow of turning.
One of my favorite things is the the smell of fresh cut alfalfa. The night before, a whole field was cut lying there to dry. The smell was intoxicatingly delightful, so much so that I pushed every bit of breath out of my lungs and breathed in through my nose taking in the aroma like a nature junky. It's like the smell had little nutrients tucked in the oxygen that injected vitamins into my system and awoke my senses with a poise that reminded me of what I think of when I think of Spiderman's "spidey senses". Steroidal Sensual Sensitivity. Yes, that's it to a "T"!
As I tucked my head down, pulled my legs in to avoid wind resistance, crouched down to get the better part of my body behind the infinitesimal wind shield and aerodynamic plastic frame, and tightened my arms close to my ribcage making my body as "limbless" as possible, I picked up another 2-4 mph of speed taking me just above the 40 mph dash on my speedometer.
Simultaneously, I was dodging Michigan pot holes that would have sent me catapulting over the handle bars before I could say "Jack be nimble, Jack be...". Some of these potholes are big enough to repel into, so avoiding them is not just a good idea, it is a way to keep from dying a humiliating death. I cannot think of a more humiliating way to die than "death by scooter". I mean, I know that people would be crying at your funeral, but let's be honest, part of you would be laughing your head off inside. I mean, come on, "a scooter accident"? It's one thing to die in an epic battle to protect the innocent from the clutches of an arch villain or to plummet to your death as a paratrooper shot down on a world saving mission, or to take a knife to the vitals in an effort to protect your family from a burglar who wanted to abduct your little girls, but a pothole mishap while you were trying to get to the coffee shop for an early morning stimulant? This is nothing short of embarrassing.
But none of this happened to me due to my mad skills in navigating the perilous post-winter Michigan back roads. This randomly place potholes only serve to provide a little sport to my morning commute.
I looked to my left and a bean field was filled with turkeys gathering what was left of last years harvest spillover. They were huge birds and my mind immediately undressed them (that sounds bad) and pictured them atop my Thanksgiving table glistening with the glow of a shellacked piece of furniture. My mouth started to water thinking about breaded stuffing and sweetened squash. And, oh yes, those beans! You know, the ones mixed with cream of mushroom soup covered in brittle dehydrated onions and baked to perfection! Holy molie out-of-controlie! To die for!
Before long, I circled into a parking spot in front of Ella's coffee and cuisine and made my way to some little nook to read and think and write. As I sipped my morning brew, I thought of how sweet it is to be alive and to have my 5 senses in tact. But even better than that, I thought about having the 6th sense given by God's Spirit to pick up on the "why behind the what", to see and sense the "what for" and the "who by" that makes all the other senses all the more vividly awakened.
The 6th sense is the best one because it takes you beyond the scent to the flower, but even better, it takes you beyond the flower to the Power. The Power that makes everything a thing. Everyone a one. Everywhere a where. This is the 6th sense of salvation that takes worldly beauty and transports you otherworldly beauty.
His name is Jesus. He gives all men life and breath and everything else. In him we live and move and have our being. He is the author and finisher. He is the provider and sustainer. He is the love and the life. Without him, life is nothing more than potholes and pinheads.