Transience

                An old truck lay alongside a seldom traveled road; left behind, not cast aside. Time had finally caught up to him one day while tiredly chugging along and he’d felt compression leave his engine, life leave his heart. On that lonely two-track he’d died. Now grass grows through holes in the floorboards, and sun and rain and rust are slowly eating away, along with time, at his bones; as the old saying goes, “From dust to dust.” If only he’d been able to speak of the amount and manner of life he’d witnessed.

                He belonged to a young couple in his early days. He’d felt and smelled and looked young; shiny and blue, like clear morning sky after a night of rain. Oh the power that coursed through his body in those days and what glory could be experienced in exerting himself! The couple was so happy to have him. Carrying them around for hours through summer evenings had been the greatest of joys, coasting with windows down and the warm breeze rolling gently over them all. Other times with the windows up the couple had sat tensely upon his long bench seat, a world apart, quietly stewing over the reckless words they’d spoken to each other. One autumn afternoon they had made love in that very same place while the radio crackled, barely unnoticed, in the background. In any case the old truck was happy to be spent offering himself as a vehicle of joy, sanctuary, and Life.

                Some years were admittedly more difficult than others. After suffering several physical setbacks and being restored, as much as was possible, to new, Truck had become friend and carrier of a woman advanced in her years. They seemed an unlikely pair and enjoyed one another’s company immensely. She’d hum quietly as they rolled over hills and under bridges and would rarely turn on the radio as she had “no time for the nonsense they all kept on about”. The span they were together was better measured in months than years. One day her son had steered in a panic to the hospital while she lay motionless in the seat to his right. Carrying him back home the next day, Truck learned that she hadn’t made it; they lost her in the night. As they drove the son cried and muttered to himself in a muffled voice that he wished he’d seen her more often… that he should’ve called and found it in his heart to forgive and be kind. Racing to the hospital was the first time Truck had ever met him.

                                They gradually came to know each other well, the young man and the truck. He was attentive and patient which Truck appreciated greatly as he was now the one slowing down. His roar often changed unexpectedly to a sputter those days and the joints and springs that had once supported him over rough roads now creaked precariously, especially on winter mornings when he was called upon before even the sun had risen and neither he nor the air had yet warmed up.  There were so many memories stored, scenes witnessed and words heard throughout his life to this point. He thought often of the young couple from the days when he too was in his prime; undoubtedly much had changed in their life. He hoped they were happy and still together. Often they’d quarreled but companionship and friendship, not to mention Love, are hard to find and should never be carelessly discarded. He remembered also the old woman from time to time but not as often as he might have preferred. Even the memories of those who pass away seem to fade, dimmed by new experiences and the fresh life that inevitably takes their place. In his younger days this forgetting and changing had seemed cruel somehow, as though winter had some right to be remembered after spring arrives. The old truck now realized that this was simply the pattern of things; seasons as well as people pass and this shouldn’t be mourned too long, for lamenting over the loss of summer can cause one to miss out on the beauty of fall.

                The day came gently, expectedly, when he discovered his final resting place. The baby blue paint that once gleamed proudly had grown dull and scarred and told of the life, both quality and quantity, that the truck had enjoyed. They were hauling wood, he and the son, on a beaten country path when the time for rest came upon him. There was no long goodbye, they’d both seen this moment coming. The old truck didn’t even hear the kind words spoken over him as the man patted his hood softly before continuing on foot down the two-track.  Solomon, a wise man, once said, “There is a time for everything; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to be born and a time to die. There is nothing better than to be happy and to do good while you live.”