Saturday, September 19, 2015

Impermanence Imbued with Presence

Early in the morning, as the day was dawning, the flatbed showed up and took away our van.

It was a good old van, a white 2002 Honda Odyssey, bought very lightly used thirteen years ago.   Nothing fancy.  Nothing special.  Just a thing.

There is nothing more practical and perfect than a van.  

And after all that time, it still ran like a top.  Sure, a few dings here and there, and the rust spots and scrapes of a decade.  But as we watched it driving gamely up onto the back of the flatbed, donated to a wonderful charity that gives reliable vehicles to families that need transportation, we knew it'd serve another family well.

We'd replaced it, because we've been blessed enough to be able to get another van.  Used, again, of course.

Letting it go was interesting, because though it's just an object, and a relatively generic one at that, it's imbued with memories.

For a quarter of my ever lengthening life, it was present.  It was the van that shuttled kids back and forth to an endless stream events, that took us on long road-trip vacations.  To the beach.  To the lake.  To ski.  Across state and national borders.

My older son sat in his car seat as we listened to Bert and Ernie sing.  A decade and change later, it was the vehicle in which he learned to drive.

I sat with the boys in the back, doubly sheltered by the hatch and the carport, as we watched the trees shake and rock while Hurricane Isabel blasted through.

Seats lowered and removed, it has carried mulch and bricks and dryers, or the futons of friends on the move.  Seats up, it has been filled with children and grandparents, or packed with an entire birthday party full of 13 year old boys on their way to ice cream and laser tag.

It drove back and forth to schools, and to concerts, and to swim meets, and to drum lessons, for hours upon hours, days upon days, the equivalent of four times around the planet.  Assuming an average of 35 miles an hour, we spent an average of one hundred and twenty one entire days in that van.

It's given so many memories, yet is is not a place or a home but close, a capsule in which the souls that make a place home moved and journeyed.

And now, it's gone, as the things we suffuse with our presence do go.