The layover

I think human beings must have faith or must look for faith, otherwise life is empty, empty. To live and not know why the cranes fly, why children are born, why there are stars in the sky. You must know why you are alive, or else everything is nonsense, just blowing in the wind. -Anton Chekhov

There are stretches of road that always seem to take forever.

At least, that is true for this traveler.

The road between Hill City and Aitkin, for example. It is my least favorite part of the journey between home and the Twin Cities.  I think it has something to do with the fields on both sides of the highway. Give me trees over fields any day. The two-lane road is generally pretty straight and flat, but I’ve had more close calls with fools passing on that stretch than I’ve ever had on the freeways farther south.

On Saturday, as I traveled south along that highway, a few miles north of Aitkin I noticed hundreds of brown cranes in the lush, green fields dancing, strutting, and having a feast on their way to somewhere else. It looked like they were celebrating a perfect July day. There is a legend in Asian literature that human souls are carried to Heaven on the wings of cranes. Since I’d just attended a memorial service for the husband of a dear friend that morning, matters of life and death were weighing more heavily on my mind than usual. I thought about that legend as I passed, and smiled.

Signs and symbols. They are everywhere. Even along roads we wish we didn’t have to travel. We simply have to pay attention.

Maybe, in the end, this is what Faith looks like.

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