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A Moment Inspired

    I got a bit contemplative about my car this evening. Not about "What is wrong" or "What can I fix next", but as I sat out on the front stoop, enjoying a bit of vanilla scented black cavendish, looking out at the fireflies dancing around in the late dusk I had a thought. A musing to be sure.

     I looked out through the puffs of smoke and flickering lights of the fireflies which seemed to celebrate in some unknown revelry about the Spitfire. This car. This automobile... and had the strange feeling of contentment.

    Each morning I leave for work, not knowing what awaits me but the daily drudgery of work and responsibility. And at the same time as I have those thoughts of futility of arduous existances, and the beasts of burden that bear them, that I open the front door to see this
smiling visage that I see each day.

    The analytical part of my mind knows it is not a smile, but the clever arrangement of a toothy mouth-like grill and headlamps simulating wide open eyes, that gives this man-made construct the illusion of a smile.

    But it's not JUST a smile I see. Certainly not a smile of laughter, derision, or even of self-satisfaction. No, this an-animate object of  metal, rubber and glass, seems to capture a special feeling with it's smile. A simple pure smile of happiness. Perhaps one might describe
as contentment.

    I continue to puff away on my pipe as I consider the movement of the car. Because even though it sits as still as a corpse, the car has about it a 'feeling' of movement about it. It's the flowing lines of the car's skin which gives it the appearance it is dashing away at some angelic speed. Though no matter how long I gaze, it sits unstirred in front of me. Still, silent and smiling.
I'm amazed by the simplistic beauty of it all. No power anything. No radio or reclining seats. And at the same time the complexity of the machine that operates day-after-day, when something as simple as a mis-gap of a plug, or grit of dust in a float bowl should bring it to
a sudden halt. The simple loss of a piston ring could render it an 1,800 pound lawn ornament in the blink of an eye. And yet it eternally it smiles, as if carefree and unfeterred by any concerns or appreciations I might have. And seeming to have none of   it's own.

    I wash it (after a time), and I keep it up (when I feel the need), and attend to it (when it demands). And in return, I obtain a thrill to be behind the wheel of this mechination. It responds without question or complaint to each of my commands. I speed along a country road at some surely unsafe pace. I eagerly accelerate to reach the next turn to experience the strange feeling of being pulled back into the driver's seat, instead of being thrown to the bolsters as I might expect. To feel as if some unseen hand were holding me back in place like the outstretched hand of a mother protecting her child in a short stop.

     So as I finish my smoke and I tap out the remaining burning embers from the briar, I turn to go back inside my house and take one last look at this inanimate object which is still smiling at me. And I reply in kind with a smile of my own. Then I realize perhaps it is a smile of contentment I see. Maybe it is content knowing how happy it has made me.

author:  Terry L. Thomspon  -  posted here with permission upon orignal submission to the NASS email list 6/31/04
Terry's 'inpiration' can bee seen at

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