Monday, September 04, 2006

Faces, birds, rain drops, cool moments

Early morning along the bike path. A blue heron takes off into flight. I watch its slow rise and see its shadow ahead of me. Two ancient, stooped women turn to watch as well. I see their wizened, wrinkled, beautiful faces for just a second as they look up to follow the bird.

********

Sunday morning at the tracks on First Street, waiting for the train to pass. A boy runs to me, excited. He looks familiar. I've substitute taught for his class, but can't remember his name. He's maybe 9 or 10. I say good morning and he reaches out to slap me five. We go through this elaborate high five routine -- MY ROUTINE -- that I must have taught him. He is elated to see me -- it's rather embarrassing -- and he speaks so fast his words tumble over each other and he has to catch his breath to continue.

His mother appears. Her face is imploded -- nose, eyes, mouth all bunched together, an inbred, Appalachian face, ugly by conventional standards, but fascinating, durable. She's built like a man. Crewcut. Broad shoulders.

We talk. The train's slow, and another passes, also going slow, the other way. She says she remembers me. She's an aide at the school her son goes to. The boy interrupts... "Do you remember when you filled in for the music teacher? How you said you liked that song I made up?" "Yes, of course," I lie. "Do you remember the song? Let's hear it." He sings a little melody, yelling to overcome the clackity train.

He finishes just as the last car passes. The guard comes up.

"Race you to the corner," the boy yells, and takes off running. I give him a head start, but pass him just before I get to my place.

*******

An early evening walk in the rain, a gentle rain, the rain after a furious storm. The lagoon is flooded, water up to and beyond the sidewalk and fire pit. The green forest beyond seems greener and is a cacophony of birdsong, as if the birds are checking up on each other.

When I reach Founders the sun appears below the clouds and darkness is replaced by bright, golden reflection. The change is sudden, blinding. The rain drops look like golden halos in the brilliance.

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