Yesterday, I thought I was in line for free pizza. Much to my surprise, I turned out to be in the voting line. I’m not sure I trust a world in which I’m able to vote. This time, despite dropping my license behind the table and next to the window (where it was almost unreachable), I relentlessly repeated my name and address as if I were being interrogated. I’ve voted early for so many cycles that I forgot how different it is to vote on the actual day.
I voted at Sequoyah UM Church. It was fast and efficient. Remarkably so. Whoever is in charge there did an outstanding job. Other than letting a couple of loons on the ballot. Whenever I see obviously unqualified candidates, much less fringe ones, I remind myself that maybe I, too, could get elected without much sense or qualifications.
Don’t worry about my vote counting. I am still so liberal that I might as well be voting in Finland as in Arkansas.
After voting, I wandered the back half of the property. It was not well-maintained, but I had some moments of beauty walking back there. The weather was uncharacteristically warm and calm for November. It was odd to sit on the benches in front of the rudimentary cross, feeling the sun filter through the trees and listening to the birds sing. Not too far away, the hectic comings and goings of voters might as well have been a mile away. It was a contemplative place, one that I alone owned for several minutes. I admit that it was a bit strange thinking that the ballot contained an initiative for religious freedom; it’s obvious that the intent is anything but motivated by freedom. Had I been in that mindset, I’m sure I could have felt the presence of a creator in those trees and on those benches. Please don’t fault me for not feeling such a presence. It was sufficient to be there, seeing the beautiful world around me.
When I walked across the dilapidated bridge walkway and emerged from the trees, a man exiting the voting place asked me what was back there.
“Five minutes of peace if you search for it.” I smiled.
“I’m in a hurry, but I’d really like to see.”
“You only live once. Just tell them a crazy guy at the church where you voted told you to take a moment.”
He laughed. “Deal! They will believe that.”
As I walked toward my car on the opposite end and side of the building, I turned to see him traverse the wooden bridge and disappear behind the treeline.
I’m certain he found something worthwhile back there.
I rendered myself transparent in the picture because I felt a little other-worldly in the retreat behind the trees.