Saturday, September 7, 2019

Wrestling with life

Once again a person (female, 68 years of age, resident of Mississippi Mills) has died in a car accident on March Road. Aside from being sick about the incident, I am angry. Yesterday's drama unfolded more closely to Almonte than others in the past. The incremental proximity has provoked a commensurately heightened repugnance. The venue where it happened is without question one in which it should not have occurred with such catastrophic consequence. Right or wrong I am disturbed by repeated impatience and speeding in this particular area.  While I certainly don't want to make an inductive leap about the reasons for the disaster, I cannot help but feel a sense of outrage. The roundabout on the edge of Town has become a launch pad for senseless drivers.

September 6, 2019 - 12:39 pm

On September 6, 2019, around 9:00 a.m. officers from the Lanark County Detachment of the OPP were dispatched to a serious three-vehicle collision at the intersection of March Road and Greystone Drive, near Almonte, Ontario.

The female driver of one of the vehicles involved was pronounced dead at the scene.  The three other parties involved were transported to hospital by ambulance.

The Millstone News

March Road is the main highway from Almonte to Ottawa.  It is the most popular route to the city especially for morning commuters.  Drivers traditionally accelerate aggressively upon leaving the roundabout on the edge of Almonte. They regularly exceed the posted speed limit of 70 km/hr which prevails until after Greystone Drive where this latest accident occurred and which marks the final residential subdivision entrance before leaving the Town limits. Though I haven't got exact detail I am informed that a West End Forming cement truck was heading out of Almonte. Presumably an impatient car driver shot out of the roundabout and hurriedly attempted to pass the truck and the tragedy ensued.  Even if the woman killed (who was apparently driving a small car) were exiting Greystone Drive onto March Road in an inopportune manner, the speeding passenger car attempting to pass the truck would have magnified the circumstances. The lack of patience has exacted a horrible price.  Whatever the precise cause of the disaster there is no doubt in my mind that snappiness and urgency played a rĂ´le.

In situations of senseless loss it challenges the mind and spirit to rationalize human existence.  I cannot but recall the mocking comparison of humanity to ants.

“And crawling on the planet's face,
some insects called the human race.
Lost in time, and lost in space.
And meaning.”

Richard O'Brien, The Rocky Horror Show

The hurtful pain of what at times seems the manifestly whimsical human experience is hardly fodder for championing a positive outlook, much less sustaining it.  In the past twenty-four hours I have recalled those instances of woe with which I have been acquainted, some closely, others only indirectly. The scope of misfortune is unbounded, no one is spared by any qualification. When the adversity affects the young, the innocents and the talented the loss is especially egregious. I have heard it said that a parent never recovers from the death of a child. It is arguably the supreme dissatisfaction of a parent to outlive his or her child. We are likewise moved by the seeming contradiction of premature loss of successful people as though entitlement of any description were a licence for longevity. But of course it is not.  The dread is sometimes made all the more alarming by the association with unanticipated and unpredictable results.

Normally I wouldn't have much truck with those whose ideology is aligned with idealistic doctrine.  Many of such ethics or morals are merely religious principles amounting to visionary speculation. However in a recent documentary about Warren Buffett - who aside from being one of the most successful investors in world - he struck me as patently sensible. On the subject of his own impending death (he's now 89 years old), he gleefully acknowledged that his capital is diminishing.  More significantly he related his demise to an exhaustion of utility.  This is a meaningful observation because it captures the alliance between resource and productivity - with the same generation that a seed derives from water.

The cogency of that style of reasoning does nothing to palliate the loss of many but it certainly operates as a springboard for those of us still whinnying. It is a reminder that the object isn't merely survival but also contribution.  Like Buffett there are credentials and limitations to be accepted but the ambition needn't prejudice a vicarious application of the duty. The stimulus behind the morning dawn is a determination of what we have within our grasp to enhance the world. My curmudgeonly disposition thankfully prohibits me from adopting a Pollyanna posture; there remains the pungency of reality at any age in any circumstance. Yet between the extremes of loss and advantage there exists a channel of discovery and possibility.

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