Terrible Disparity

The sun is shining, it’s 75 degrees and the humidity is low–ideal weather for a noontime run.  I live in the perfect place for it.  Situated on three sides by the confluence of two rivers, a golf course and a wildlife refuge, my neighborhood rivals an exclusive resort.   I’m not the only one pulled outside.  The marina is bustling with people busily making their leisure. 

Three aged women walk along the water. As I pass them on the path they are laughing, and the ringleader shouts encouragements to me.  Each is wearing an expensive sweater and all of them have bright white hair against deeply tanned, leather skin.  They must be snow birds, returning to their yachts from further south.

A group of young mothers perambulate their infants.  They stop at the pavilion and draw their babies out onto the grass. I can’t help but notice how young they look.  I wonder if I once looked like that, too.  I mentally tick off the battle scars I’ve gained along my way: graying hair, pudgy flesh, wrinkled skin, a heart forged from ten thousand hugs. Two other women push babies.  They remain outside the group, older.  Grandmothers?  Great grandmothers, perhaps?

A young man maneuvers a ladder onto the top of a truck.  He begins to light a cigarette, sees me and stops.  He apologizes for “fouling my air.”  I smile at his ridiculousness and tell him it’s been twenty years and it still smells good.  He tells me he really needs it, “I quit drinking eight days ago.”  I give him a thumbs up and pick up my pace.

 A couple passes me, walking their dog.  She is dressed in a sari.  He holds the leash.

This is the first mowing.  The new grass is damp and smells delicious.  Brown men pitch steaming, stinking heaps of browner mulch.  Every tree has a bud or a bloom.  Tulips dance in the breeze.  An osprey hovers over a tree, motionless for a time.  It makes its choice, and with a crack, flies away with a branch in its talons. 

From threat of snow only days before, sand is still gathered in small piles on the asphalt. 

Sweat begins to bead on my forehead.  The taste of salt is on my lips.  A drip forms.  I don’t know it yet, but as it falls, seven thousand miles away, millions fear the sea will swallow their island.

I’m baffled how anyone can believe in—trust in— a god when in this second, in this moment of time, such disparity exists.

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About Brick Window

A mother and an atheist--Just trying to do the best I can in a suburb full of believers.
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20 Responses to Terrible Disparity

  1. prosey says:

    What a lovely entry! I knew what “ambulate” meant, but “perambulate” is a new word that I get to add (thank you!! :D).

    I frequently wonder about people who look around them at all the wonders to behold and then feel the need to *attribute* something to them, rather than admiring the wonders for their own sakes. Where I live, on a clear night, the stars are incredible (particularly with the minimum street lights) ~ and I love counting the stars in the heavens…without wondering about “living there”… 🙂

    • Brick Window says:

      I used perambulate because the women had strollers, and perambulator is the British word for them. I thought it would illustrate without too many words. I love it how you, another writer, noticed.

      This whole idea that I’m blessed and you’re not really gets to me. Like I deserved this beautiful day, but in Japan? Those heathens get what they deserve… grrrrrr.

      • prosey says:

        I adore words, and the more I can add to my vocabulary, the better *nod* 😀

        You hit it JUST right. They also seem to have no answer to why, outside of the current disaster in the Pacific Rim, on a clear spring day, Japan is exquisite…their comeuppance claims kinda ring hollow. Then again, I doubt most of them have ever bothered visiting. I have never been, but my dad has visited all over southeast Asia, and confirmed that it’s not unlike Hawaii climate-wise…and the people are wonderful. Silly sanctimonious christians…

  2. fribnit says:

    good things happen to bad people, bad things happen to good people, the earth moves and shakes. life begins and life ends. it has nothing to do with the imaginary guy with the lousy attitude. Really wish people could just accept this as simple fact

    I love the word perambulate. I use it myself. It means a leisurely walk. great choice

  3. Jay Walker says:

    I’ll third the use of perambulate. If variety is the spice of life, then vocabulary is the spice of writing. If you haven’t read anything by Christopher Hitchens, you really should. Not only is he a card-carrying atheist, but he is the most eloquent writer and speaker of our time. When I read his books I find myself reaching for the dictionary every few pages, not because he uses obtuse and arcane words, but because he chooses the perfect word for the situation and that many of those words a ones that we just don’t see much off. I’m so excited because I will get getting to hear him speak in two week!

    The way you wrote this was brilliant. The contrast of the final line with everything that went before is so poignant. It’s like walking into an invisible wall that you didn’t know what there; it is sudden, unexpected and conscious altering.

    • Brick Window says:

      I read God is Not Great and I really liked it. I saw a segment on Hitchens on 60 minutes recently and I decided he was my hero. What an interesting man he is. I need to read more; I learned from the broadcast how prolific he is.

      Thanks for praise. I am glad you were able to see “crash” that I felt on that day, Jay.

  4. Jay Walker says:

    It is due to the generosity of a good friend that I’m able to go at all. She gave me the money to register for the conference. 🙂

    • Brick Window says:

      what a great friend. You are lucky, Jay.

      • Jay Walker says:

        I certainly am! Not only is she a good friend, but she is the editor of the JREF blog, which I have already had an article published on and have another one set to publication this Saturday. There is one more in the pipeline as well. She has asked me to be a regular contributor, which is awesome! She has been a huge influence on me.

      • Brick Window says:

        That is soooo great. What an honor to be a contributor. Be sure to post the link.

  5. Brick Window says:

    OMGOD! Did anyone else see PZ just used the word perambulate??

    What’s that called when you’re pregnant and you see pregnant people everywhere??

  6. Jay Walker says:

    I am 100% in agreement with PZ. Words are more than just their dictionary meanings. Hell, dictionaries are just peoples’ lame attempt to describe their language. English is alive and like all living things, it changes, mutates, and evolves. It is the MEANING behind the words that matter.

    I LOVE your comment! So at least one person read it! 🙂

    BTW – Did I tell you that I’ve met PZ? I interviewed him for a book I’m researching. I get to meet him again next weekend! He is so mild mannered in person, but tough as nails when he is speaking his mind. He is the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet!

    • Brick Window says:

      He really gets ’em going with this topic, doesn’t he? Sheesh, people get so upset!

      WOW, I can’t believe you met him. AND YOUR RESEARCHING A BOOK?!?! Gobsmacked. You can’t just *say* that so casually, and walk away, Jay. I need info!
      You’re mean for just leaving me hanging, dude.

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