Our mailbox as it appeared before yesterday morning, as photographed by the Google Maps camera.

Our mailbox as it appeared before yesterday morning, as photographed by the Google Maps camera.

Early yesterday morning, about 5 AM or so, Fran and I were both awakened by what sounded like a small explosion in our neighborhood. It seemed close enough that Fran got up and peered outside the window. She thought a car hit something. I said it sounded more like an explosion than an accident. We speculated that maybe a transformer blew somewhere in the neighborhood. Then we went back to sleep.

Three hours later, when she was leaving for work, we finally realized what it was. Someone had struck our mailbox. Our property is situated at the crest of a hill, and right at a point where the street curves to the left. Someone accelerating up the hill, and not paying attention to what they were doing, could easily collide with our mailbox, and that seems to be exactly what happened.

Our mailbox had been encased in its own little brick structure. See the picture above/to the right, courtesy of Google maps. That’s how our mailbox looked before yesterday morning. Now see the picture below for the after look (this time courtesy of my iPhone camera).

Our mailbox the morning of February 21, 2013 — or, should I say, what's left of it.

Our mailbox the morning of February 21, 2013 — or, should I say, what’s left of it.

There’s a goddess chant that goes like this: “She changes everything she touches, and everything she touches, changes.” Buddhists more simply acknowledge that everything is impermanent. Theists typically view God as unchanging and eternal, but God’s creation (i.e., the material universe) is, well, marked by impermanence. So every created thing will eventually suffer a fate like my mailbox. Hopefully just not so dramatic or violent!

I’ve been praying for the person who hit it (and who lacked the character to at least leave us a note offering to replace our damaged property). This was made of real bricks, not just some lightweight facade; so the vehicle that demolished it would not have emerged unscathed. Two small plastic pieces came off of the vehicle, marked “Ford,” so about all we know is the make of the vehicle. I’ve thought I should drive around the neighborhood and look to see who has a vehicle with a pretty badly banged up front end. But of course, that proves nothing, and frankly it will be cheaper just to replace the mailbox ourselves rather than get involved in the hassle of trying to fight with someone else over it.

So after I got home from work we went to Home Depot and picked out a new mailbox and a post for it. No more little brick structure for our mail. But at least if it gets hit again, it will be less of a pain to replace — or to clean up.

Historic Christian spirituality encouraged meditation on one’s own mortality. Today we consider that morbid and so we don’t do it. But perhaps reflecting on impermanence is not such a bad idea. At the very least, it makes dealing with events like this a bit easier to bear.