I ran out without a hat this morning. Usually in the winter, once I put the hat on, it doesn’t come off until April. No hat, no gloves, jacket flying open. It was that warm this December, and I was that late out the door.
Moist and heavy air like spring just before or after a storm. Standing alone at the bus stop enveloped by a sea of cars going north, south, east and west. I am heading west, but not into the sun, but into the deep dark netherlands of a rich fat suburb where all the land is being eaten up by huge monster houses, some being built literally to the curb, facing busy streets. But someone will pay a million plus for it.
The street is clogged with cars. So much metal and chrome and rubber and bad smells. Sometimes you barely see the trees or shrubs or grass or even feel the sky anymore, everything is so littered with clattering things. A bird flying by, a squirrel scurrying across the street, startle, they seem so unreal, unnatural. Do not look like they are made of flesh, blood and bone. Perhaps they too are only metal and rust.
Suddenly a large flock of birds appeared, flying very high up in the sky. They were so high I couldn’t tell if they were geese or not. But they looked and flew like geese. So late flying north over the cemetery. Just like they do in spring, but they were not honking, that weird circus sound that is both funny and sad. It’s so warm for December, maybe they think it’s spring already and perhaps were halfway south, when something turned around inside and told them to come home again, to the north country. Something warm, carefree and fragrant calling them back. They cris cross the skies in a silent ballet that is a thrill to watch.
Another flock of twelve or fifteen birds appeared (I always count them, as though that means something), far up in the sky. They were small slender and fast like swifts over chimney tops. I watch them and suddenly they are gone, vanished like magic. They disappeared much too soon, and then I realized they flew into a huge magnificent evergreen, about thirty feet fall, maybe more. They flew onto the branches and then perched on the very edges, like Christmas bird ornaments.
They were perfectly still, their profiles outlined like a fine ink drawing, and I stood watching and then the bus came and I had to leave. Like sentinels they sat watching over the graves in the cemetery.
I do not want to go north, south, east or west anymore, but straight up to those birds and perch there with them in the green pine branches. High, and higher still, I want to go straight up vertical into the sky, break the sound barrier, shatter speed records, pass the sun and the moon and climb higher and higher still, taking the trees and birds with me, and wander about in that breathless matter, until we find our very own star.