Feb 9, 2007

I See, Therefore I Am

I hope I never take my vision for granted. I saw such things today, such marvelous, miraculous, simple things. Proof that Life needs a purpose if it hasn't got one already.

I saw Canadian geese flying overhead, so far up they were merely grey specks moving across a sky made equally grey by rain and fog. Spread out in a loose V, ragged to the point that it was more of a giant check mark across the sky, they winged their steady way. 'Northward,' I realised with a shock, 'they're flying north.' Flying back to their homes, their nesting areas. 'Spring is coming,' their presence announced. Even though I can't feel it yet, they know. In their bones and their instincts they know spring is near.

I couldn't help but wonder where they had been, what they had seen. I wondered if they might land in someone's yard somewhere up north, maybe walk around, stately grey gentlemen, exchanging loud words with their traveling companions, stopping to take a drink from a freshly melted snowdrift, then back up, all of them, in a sudden rush of wings fly back into the sky like grey ash blown up the chimney.

I saw a train today. Nothing unusual in that, I see three or four a day now that the Port of New Orleans is back in business. This train of all the dozens I have seen was different because it was alike. Ordinarily I wonder who assembles train, what madman is in charge of lining up each lumber car, each tanker, each boxcar. Ordinarily a train consists of the most motley collection of stock one could imagine, as if some giant child had been playing with his train set, reaching into a box of rolling stock without looking, simply hooking up whatever came to hand then setting the whole chaotic assemblage rumbling down the line, all the while making ghostly 'whoo-whooooo' noises.

This train, however, was striking for it's similarity. In front were two huge dusky yellow and black Union Pacific diesels, one pulling and one pushing, grumbling along tail to tail. In the middle was a seemingly endless procession of identical cars; low-sided cars for carrying stone or mineral, each one a dark rust red. Plain they were, each as alike to it's fore and aft partner as peas on a vine, each rumbling along in turn, a mile or more of the same thing, as though Life's film had stuck and was stuttering along on the same few frames. I was ready to give up in disgust and look away after so long, but what seemed an endless monotony of cars was ended by the terminal vehicle; another diesel, this one a slate blue and grey beast being towed along by it's tail. It's huge blunt face looked back down the track as though it were the low man in the hierarchy. Quiet, it was the simpleton, chosen to face backwards in the last truck, his rifle held in thick fingers, ready to defend the caravan.

I saw the power and telephone lines strung out along the highway as I always do, every time I pass by, but this time the long sagging black vines were covered by passers-by. Dozens and dozens of blackbirds, each shoulder to shoulder with his or her neighbor, huddled so thick they looked like a child's attempt to draw a straight line with a black crayon; a thick, vaguely wobbly dynamic with a distinct sway to it's back, but for all it's incongruity still a line.

So what did you see today?

4 comments:

Scott from Oregon said...

We have lazy Canadian geese wintering over in our lake just down the street.

I saw them today.

Nancy Dancehall said...

Well, the geese made it back up here. When I picked the boyos up from school, 22 of them were picking through the grass and drinking from puddles. Then, I swear, they lined up and marched down to the sidewalk, until a school bus scattered them.

Vulgar Wizard said...

What I've Seen Today by Vulgar Wizard

*ahem*

Today, I've seen candle flames, dirty laundry, Dr. Pepper, cat litter, and everything on the Internet.

The End.

Irrelephant said...

Scott, Nancy, thank you both! I was really wondering where they ended up. Seems they prefer yards.

VW, you realise you're as eat up as always, right?