Terminal Conditions


ImageCall it the last heady days of summer.

Saturday evening. Mazie and I have crossed the Sierras and bullet across the Nevada basins and ranges, hoping to make Elko or something farther by night.  All the way, electronic signs remind us that the Amber Alert is still effect. The girl and the man had headed north to Idaho or perhaps Canada. No one knew which. Had she gone willingly, I wondered. Was she part of a plot to kill her mother? And if so, what kind of future had her or this man imagined. And if she’d been kidnapped, what had he imagined? Under what circumstances could this end in something less than bad for any of them?   At what point does the line of thinking break, and in the moment of breaking, what does it feel like?

Mazie will be attending song school in the Rockies, still many hundreds of miles ahead of us. She feels scared, I think, wondering if she will fit in or if she will be able to hold her own. But her fifteen year old self isn’t able yet to divulge her feelings to her dad. What energy she has must be directed at quelling the fear rising inside her.

At any moment she could ask to turn around, decry that she has changed her mind, that she can’t do it. But we have to go on. Regardless of what happens, it will at least be something, and something is more than nothing at all. There’s no gain in turning back. And we should take what’s been granted.

Life, after all, is a terminal condition.

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