Good Morning Google+ your daily story about art:
... will not be forthcoming today, and here's why:
After spending two wonderful days with my daughter in Vienna, I was on my way home to Carinthia, when, still within the city limits, all four lanes of traffic on the highway came to a dead halt. At first it was stop and go, then we stood for almost an hour - all four lanes. I could see a helicopter about a kilometer ahead, first circling and then disappearing from view, most likely to land.
We finally started moving again, very slowly and passed the site of a tragic accident. A car had gotten smashed between two trucks, one in front and one behind. It had been squeezed so much that at first I did not even notice it. This incredible scene had me preoccupied for most of my drive, which took five hours instead of the usual 3.5.
Apart from the normal feelings of horror, compassion and gratitude (but for the grace ....), two points kept revolving in my thoughts.
Firstly: There are no guarantees (or absolute certainties) in life,
and secondly: Actions and events are never private.
Let me explain.
On a very basic level, this accident involved at least 3 drivers, and possibly some passengers. Their lives, so they survived, will be changed forever. The consequences in terms of physical injuries, pain, guilt, "what if's", self recriminations and not least legal issues will follow them for a long, long time.
As well, I'm convinced that each of them has/had family and friends, who expected them home, at work, etc. and whose lives are also affected. None of these people had an inkling of what was to come when they got up this morning. It was surely a day like any other, with the usual routines, possibly arguments, or laughter and happiness. But that one moment, unexpectedly ending in such tragedy for all of them, unforeseen and certainly unwanted, will affect them forever.
But it was not only the people directly involved. As I thought back to the scene, the many policemen and firemen, who surely were met with a horrifying scene, I wonder how their
lives are affected. How will they
deal with what they were forced to witness, pulling at least one (hopefully only one) injured person from that car? Will they take their frustrations and possible feelings of helplessness out on their
families and friends?
And what about the thousands of us stuck on the highway for an hour? I was so lucky, I had no place that I had
to be, I spent the time on the phone. But others surely had appointments, picking up children after school, meetings to attend, jobs to apply for, even friends to meet.
Don't misunderstand, compared to those directly involved these are all minor inconveniences. But still, there are affects to literally thousands of people, which made me think of the famous Butterfly Effect.
The American meteorologist Edward Lorenz coined the term with his study about the predictability of weather by asking the question whether the "Flap of a Butterfly's wing in Brasil may cause a Tornado in Texas".
One can explain the phenomena as one of indirect causes in nonlinear, dynamic systems, and even look at the mathematical proofs, but I prefer to simply know that there are no guarantees.
When we get up in the morning, there is no
certainty that we will return home at night. All our efforts and striving for control over our lives are actually like the boy trying to save the dam by plugging his finger into the hole. It gives us the feeling that we are taking action,
and that we are in control,
when in fact, on a very fundamental level, we are not.
I was very reassured when crossing into Carinthia to see the mountains that I have come to see as 'mine', the chain of the Karawanks. They offer the suggestion of permanence, stability. But even that is not true.
So, what is my point? Maybe this: don't take anything for granted.
Enjoy your life, your family, friends and loved ones. If there are issues to be cleared up, do it soon, I for one, am off to contact a family member of my own with whom I have a fairly profound issue. We will probably not find a resolution, but at least there will be contact.
So remember to tread lightly,
be well and may you always return home safely.
Image is my own, from Ghorka Park in Nepal.#art #treadlightly #artandclassontheplus #EuropeanHistory #europeanpainting #yourdailyartstory #arthistory