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  • Kerry D. Krauss

Downed Lines

On Friday, with great anticipation, the delivery truck brought Karen and I a new bed. It was long overdue. The kind of thing you only do every 15 years. I was very excited. They gave me the usual four-hour window for delivery. Karen and I cleaned, reorganized, and generally prettied our bedroom in anticipation of our new bed.

The delivery truck rolled into the church parking lot and took down lines from a pole to the house upon their entrance. I called WPS (Wisconsin Public Service) and shrugged at Karen as I left for work. Someone from WPS was at the house within the hour. Except the lines draped across the front parking lot of the church belong to Frontier (telephone company). We discontinued service with Frontier at least three years ago. The telephone lines were merely decorative.

I’ve called Frontier. Explained the situation. They promised to send someone out to take down the lines. Still, they remain suspended somewhat artfully from pole to house. They are low enough to use as exceedingly dangerous jump ropes. I’ve considered a Tik-Tok Double Dutch tribute, but then I consider that my obituary would lead with ‘Kerry died doing what he loved’ and how wildly inaccurate that would be. Also, my epitaph would read “Dumb Ass”.

As one who prefers to have one or two feet on the ground, the suspended nature of the downed lines offers a poetic vision. They are neither fully up nor fully down. They hang in limbo, robbed of their purpose. Like so many things these days, these inanimate objects struggle to pursue their promise. This has always been a sore spot for me…seeds that should root, flower, and flourish prevented by the cityscapes…young lives tragically taken…forgotten farm implements abandoned in field and forest. Unrealized potential troubles me.

I wonder how I will feel when/if Frontier comes and disconnects the downed lines. I should feel relief, but maybe tempered with regret. Like so many other things, they served their purpose, they fulfilled their vocation, they did what they were created to do/be.

I wonder how history will judge us in these days of neither/nor/both/and. While we have suspended our lives, while we have endured the complexity of these days did we serve our purpose? Did we fulfill our vocation? Did we do what we were created to do? Were we who we were created to be?

On good days, I catch glimpses of our collective successes. On bad days, I catch glimpses of our abject failure in these endeavors.

So, Frontier is not here. COVID is not over. I suppose we have one more day to find the answers.

To the families that hurt, I love you.

To the communities that band together, I need you.

To the human family, I hope for you.

Please be safe.

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