It was the morning of July 14, a Tuesday, when the phenomenon first took place. It was a strange occurrence, unlike any morning any of the townsfolk had experienced before. The I-75, which is usually log jammed at 7:30 each morning, found its lanes bare, no car to be found.
Families, instead of racing out the door to get the kids to school, parents to work, laid in bed, relaxed; the children, rather than sitting and waiting for the morning school bell to ring, slept or raced for their TVs to see if weekday cartoons were as good as their weekend counterparts. But even the TV channels nestled in the peace, airing those colorful rainbow bars, as if to say, “Get away! Enjoy this! Welcome this occurrence.”
It was a strange sight, to stare out a window and see the event being held. The morning birds that chirped their morning hymns from the rooftops and power lines kept silent; the neighborhood dogs, always barking at the children walking to school, didn’t budge from their houses. Even the trash that littered the streets didn’t dare move.
No one dared step outside their door and be the one to disturb the much welcomed peace. A stranger walking into town would believe all the townsfolk had planned this event. But it was all an act of nature which no one could understand. Some of the townsfolk panicked, unsure if the wrong step, a small peep or a slightly loud breath would disturb what was going on.
In the days that followed, the people of Lane resumed their busy schedules and acted as if the entire incident never happened, as if it were merely a collective dream by the townsfolk. It wasn’t until the following Sunday when Pastor Lee of the town church spoke out about the phenomenon. He called it an act of God, telling us that God was trying to slow down our lives, and that we should take it as the first sign of his return. “There will be many more events to come,” he said. “But we should not fear them.”
Just day’s after the pastor’s sermon, the people had nearly forgotten all together that the strange event occurred. Mothers returned to scurrying the kids together and off to school before the morning bell, and fathers left before sun’s wake to put in a full day’s work. It was a process we had grown accustom to all our lives, and while the period of peace was welcomed, lives were to be lived and money to be made.
And then it happened again.
Exactly three months later, a peaceful (cloud) made its way over Lane once more. But the confusion from its first settling never came, and residents that panicked now welcomed its second coming. And still, no one dared to disturb the phenomenon or ask why it had blessed us a second time.
As the next day came and passed, whispers traveled through the town, and, amazingly, a changed shifted in the town. No longer were the residents of Lane in such a hurry. The I-75 was no longer a traffic-filled mess, mothers spent more time with their children, fathers, rather than out the door before the waking of the sun to put in a full day saw their children off to school and were home in time for ball games as the moon overtook the sun. Although there were two more events in the following weeks, the town started to become more at peace on its own without the help of the phenomenon.
After each passing, the word spread of the town’s peace and we realized the town’s population was slowly on the rise. Out-of-towners of all ages, race and sex, looking to find the peace we had all come to love, arrived one by one, car by car, filling house by house.
And so the town grew, and the peace was shared. But with the increased population came shopping centers, restaurants and malls and supermarkets all looking to supply our town’s increased demand.
With that, the peace was disturbed.
For the first time in nearly a year, the phenomenon returned. And the citizens who had experienced it countless times before were well away. But it was the town’s new inhabitants that disturbed the peace; the ones who came to town looking for what we all cherished, but ignored it when it showed itself.
They packed the I-75 with their cars––horns blaring, blood boiling––racing to locations that only breed stress. Mothers screamed for children to leave for school, as fathers had already left before sun’s wake. And so the peace that we had all come to love was destroyed.
And we have never heard from it again.