Street Repair as an Allegory for Life


Street Repair as an Allegory for Life

As you know, My neighborhood has been going through the rebuilding of our streets. This has been going on for a year.

We were told that we had to replace our curbs before the streets could be done. That project started a year ago. We had new curbs and old streets, with driveways disrupted — the new curbs didn’t fit the old streets. Things were worse than before they started, and that was last summer and fall.

Then they began rebuilding the street.  First trimming the first layer of asphalt off, then actually replacing it with a temporary covering (they said they wanted the streets to be nice for us over the Christmas Holidays).

It seems we also needed new water mains, so the street work stopped and the water folks started (so the new street surface would cover the cuts in the street.)  They dug a ditch, installed the mains, filled the ditch and paved over it.  They then cut the street again in front of each house and hooked up the mains to each service, replacing the meters with ‘smart meters.’ And paved those cuts.  That took a couple of months.

Construction then began in earnest. Huge machines were brought in and all the pavement was removed. Road graders reshaped the ground under the streets and a first layer of asphalt was laid down — Another six weeks passed.

Note that it seemed that between each part of the process, the city had to stop and take a breath. Crews disappeared. Machines left and then a week later returned.

Finally the big day came. The base was finished. The next day, the road surface was installed. It took only one day to lay down the actual roadway. But an entire year to prepare for that big event.;

I guess life is a lot that way. We spend years preparing for an event (college graduation, the Olympics, the Super Bowl, that new job, marriage, having children, retirement) but the event itself is over in the blink of an eye.

The adventure isn’t the new road that we now drive on every day, it was the year of preparation, the complaints, the joys, the frustrations. Its almost like the road construction, like that pole vault at the Olympics, is over in a moment.

From my point of view, the journey through life is what that is important. Like the construction of the roadway, its all in the preparation. That preparation is life.

We watched the crews and learned a bit about how roads are made. We marveled at the machines that took up half a block. We laughed at what seemed to be complete folly, as the street was scraped, paved, cut, filled, and then scraped and paved again. And we cried a bit when cars backed into open ditches and had to be pulled out.

Today the crews have moved on to another neighborhood to start all over again. Today life continues. Lunch with a friend, frustration with a broken sprinkler, a cut that takes forever to heal, damn Microsoft, Verizon becomes Frontier and service sucks. Like my street, just more weaves in life’s rich tapestry.





Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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