Monday Musings: On pollen, tragedy and rubbernecking.

(I know it’s not Monday, but let’s just pretend it is.) And I won’t wish you a happy Monday, because it wasn’t.

But, first.

When I lived up north, I forgot about the dust cloud of pollen that envelops our southern cities for a couple of weeks in the spring. I’m lucky that I’m not much affected by it, but I can imagine the agony of those who are during this time. It’s just inescapable.

That fine, yellow powder is a blanket over every outdoor surface. Our cars turn yellow, our wipers work overtime and pollen crust clings to the sides of our windshields. The air hangs heavy with it until a soaking rainstorm comes along to wash it away. Then we’re left with the chalky remnants along street drains and sidewalks.

Even Oliver isn’t immune. During a walk last week, he was just rifling along, nose skimming the grass. Then I looked down and saw this. Pollen nose.


As we all are, I’m just stricken by everything that happened in Boston yesterday. But, at the same time, not surprised. Is that just the world we live in now? One in which I’m desensitized to violent news or the prospect of terror events in America? That’s the shocking part. And it scares and saddens me. 

Don’t get me wrong. though. Not being surprised doesn’t mean I’m not interested. Every time there’s a news event like this, I just can’t get enough information. I refresh constantly if I can’t watch TV. I troll Twitter news feeds. It’s like a car wreck from which I just can’t look away. And I feel like it’s a well-honed routine, since I’ve had a lot of practice in the last several months: Aurora, the Empire State Building, Newtown, now Boston. It sickens me to do it, but is in some way a comfort to dig into the news reporting and watch the footage and try to sort out and make sense of something entirely senseless.

It’s at night — when I’m brushing my teeth, for some reason — that I think about the people affected. Those who brushed their teeth that morning and left their homes, like any other day. How, when — if — they returned that evening, everything had drastically changed.

It’s also weird that so many tragedies have happened during this week, between April 14 and 20. Have you ever noticed that? President Lincoln’s assassination, the sinking of the Titanic, Waco, Oklahoma City, Columbine, Virginia Tech, now Boston. CNN tried to make sense of the timing, but it’s still really eerie.

I can’t say anything more profound than what Mr. Rogers or Patton Oswalt or anyone else has already said. All I can do is draw sustenance from these words:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

It’s a time — again — that we lean not on our own understanding.

Have a good week, all. Be safe out there.


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