This morning I see a groundhog racing around a field as I’m driving to campus. I know this field; sometimes a dozen or so groundhogs will scurry across and then dive into their underground tunnels. I imagine this whole network of tunnels and an intricate Groundhog City. I wish I could see it and understand it.
There’s so much hidden underneath the surface, I think. I consider their secret lives all morning.
Later, I walk into my building only to see some student sitting right there in the middle of the staircase so no one can pass by without difficulty. She’s talking on the phone, ignoring everyone as she sits there like she’s the most important thing in the world.
I squeeze my way around her, astonished–angry really–at her impertinence. How rude! How selfish!
As I pass her, I think of the groundhog. It’s the strangest thing; I think about the intricate tunnels inside that girl’s heart. There’s a whole life I cannot see. Maybe she’s sitting down because she just received the worst news of her life. Maybe she’s sitting there because she can’t possibly find the energy to move even an inch.
Maybe something’s happened to her, and, for whatever reason, sitting there, blocking everyone’s path is an inconsequential thing by comparison.
Or, she’s just selfish.
I don’t know. But for once, I consider how rude and selfish it is to judge others when I cannot see their underground lives and the intricate network of joy and pain within.