Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Winding Lines

West 44th Street quivered with life.  People pressed into pizzerias to savor myriad combinations of toppings that graced a simple dough.  Entertaining Broadway shows, their neon lights blaring for attention, curled tempting fingers at passers-by.  And, winding lines of Discovery museum fans spilled into the normal flow of biped-traffic along the sidewalks.  Under the main door awning, a museum worker haltingly requested visitors to align along the block.  My heart stopped.

"Is this for the Pompeii exhibit?" said my friend with incredulity dripping in her voice.

"Oh, no!  Please come in!"  Relief struck both her panic purview and my het up heart as we by-passed the line for observing Harry Potter paraphernalia.  Those waiting near at hand protested to our quick admission.  If only they had been as interested in lighting upon the unearthed remains and surprising finds from Pompeii and Herculaneum after Vesuvius' wrath decimated the Italian towns almost 2,000 years ago.

Molds of victims scattered one room: here, a chained dog, there, a man face down at the base of a staircase; a smothered family of four; a woman clutching the spent folds of her tunica close to trembling lips; a figure huddled on the floor and wrapped in his fear at the monstrous calamity overwhelming him.  Their remains are long gone, but the essence of their experience on a warm August day in 79 AD has been captured for us to remember and reflect on how we face the disasters and challenges of today.

Friend, can you imagine the welling panic and resolute end that these people faced?  What about the survivors?  What nightmares woke them in the middle of the night?  Whose names leaked from their lips as they longed for loved ones lost in the volcanic eruption?

Perhaps I should place my own frets and frustrations into perspective, and remember that I have a life to live and to share with those I love.  It's difficult to cast away the burdens we daily face, but we can chose to change disgruntled attitudes and focus on what matters most.

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