Taking The Whole World Along

Spiritual teachings from many traditions tell us that everything is
connected, each raindrop, each ray of sunshine, each flower,
all of creation a vast interwoven web, which I understood, in my head, but
didn't quite get, down deep, where it really counts�until now, after
walking from the house to the garage, getting in the car, driving off. ..and
noticing the unmistakable smell of cat poop...
great! I'm going to be cooped up for the next
two hours inside a cotton-pickin' cat-box!

I find a place to pull over, near a vacant lot, check my sandals, and sure
enough, find a cat souvenir ground into the treads on
the bottom of the left one, from a recent deposit along the garden path,
where woodchips attract the neighborhood's little lions and tigers,
who use them to cover their craps,
in effect camouflaging booby-traps for unwary pedestrians.

I take the offending sandal off, get out of the car, find a twig to scrape with,
and weeds to wipe on, meanwhile meditating on this cosmic epiphany:
food from God-knows-where, involving a highly complex chain of animals,
slaughterhouse workers, canning company personnel, truck drivers,
grocery store clerks, an unknown shopper, and an anonymous feline,
perhaps Beau, my sister's cat, from next door, all participating in an
intricate circumstance that led me to park a vehicle made by a large
network of people in Japan, with materials from all over, shipped across
the ocean by sailors, unloaded by longshoremen, fueled by oil from Texas
or Saudi Arabia, et cetera, et cetera, myriad interdependent elements
combining to bring this moment of understanding and appreciation, as I
pour water from my canteen over the sole of my sandal, rinsing the last of
the cat scat off, and make a final swipe on the weeds,
actions exemplifying infinitely amazing interconnectivity, then
get back in the car, and rejoin the flow of traffic on a Wisconsin road,
heading to Mark's lakeside cabin for an amphibious weekend in the heart
of summer, a faint vestige of cat caca lingering in the vehicle's interior,
despite open windows, as I pop in a cassette,
aware that I'm not going alone, but am
taking the whole world along