Shell Casings

I needed a haircut badly. The last one that I got was horrific. An island lady cut my hair, and she was more used to cutting the hair of Black people. Everyone laughed at my hair cut. The Black bus drivers nicknamed me "Rocker" because my hair was a mess that stood up straight in all directions, except for the sparse flat spots where she skinned me.

I let the hair grow out, and today it was time for another haircut. The reason for the haircut, was that I was going to a funeral this afternoon. It was the father of a business colleague that had died. The newspapers called him a "giant" of a man.

I hurried out of the office, hoping to make my hair appointment across town in time. However, when I looked at my watch, I thought that it was 11:15. Instead it was 10:15. I arrived exactly one hour early for my haircut.

I sat in my car, and my camera was at my side. I looked around, and next to the car, was a bush. Under the bush, was a bag of seashells, carefully gathered by a tourist, and then discarded under the bush. I wondered what the story was. Why had someone taken the trouble to collect these, and then throw them away?

Later this afternoon, the Lovely One and I attended the funeral. The Prime Minister was there, as well as the leader of the opposition, and all of the luminaries of this island society. They were there to honour a decent man. The urn containing his ashes was at the front of the church. One of the eulogists said that he was already dust again. The finality of that statement struck me.

And then it struck me that this bag of discarded shells was similar to situation. At one point each and every one of these shells was alive and beautiful, and now they were useless -- cast under tree -- in furrows plowed by Mother Nature, no longer wanted by anyone.

Ashes to ashes -- dust to dust. Man, life is so tenuous, and then it is gone. I have to make every day count.

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