Transfixation

A creek cuts sinuously through the backyard wilderness of my parents’ housing complex. The folks are out of town so I walk the dog. Our path hedges the rolling waters and we stroll through the morning with the fresh scent of autumn moisture in our nostrils. I am utterly transfixed by a stick. Its smoothness, stripped of bark and weathered by the constant current, knots invitingly. In a moment of incandescence, the world is utterly centered within the shining ivory stretched between my fingers, then… it is just a stick. Dropped on the rocky ground, it rocks choppily from two points on its knobby length as a breeze ruffles the creek’s surface. A stone captures my attention from beneath the energetic waters.

I plunge my hand into the cold water to retrieve the stone.

Bicycle Diaries

The trail is hedged by oak boughs of many varieties. I careen down this lash of asphalt through the small, false backyard wilderness of the suburb. My spine tingles as my rear wheel rattles alarmingly and a grin scimitars my face as the prospect of being a red stain on stone manifests itself exhilaratingly. A couple of bearings are missing, but what the hey! it keeps my mind off my mind. haha what a pun!

A pair of signs loom as I approach. One lies on its side. Bold black paint on bright, rusted orange proclaims a detour. I don’t listen and follow the path until it gradually curves into disrepair. It leads to a forty meter corridor which span a ribcage of municipal architecture. The bike path that traverses its cool shade is abandoned to progress; instead of the usual asphalt, it is a bone-rattling expanse of stone salved with concrete that resemble the organic, organized chaos of a wasp’s nest. Sitting on a comfortable lump of concrete I imagine to be cooling magma, I am ironically and utterly alone. Forgotten sodium lamps glitter newly where the sunlight sneaks in the gap between constructs. The ground rumbles from above: the freeway is lusty today. It’s a Saturday after all. I get up and walk to the median and urinate feely on the stones, all the while chuckling to myself, for reasons difficult to fathom.

At the base of the Locust tree is the mangled remains of a squirrel. It looks almost mummified. I wonder why it clutches a broken D.A.R.E. ruler in its jaw and paws. A Budweiser lies in pieces around its stiff person.

I sit on this flat sheet of decayed concrete studded with large lumps of gravel, the detritus of the massive construction projects that never seem to finish. The City claims it is soil erosion prevention, but the excess leads me to believe that creek beds are just convenient places to put the waste products of new roads. But nature adapts beautifully to progress and renders urban decay with a multitude of crawling, scrabbling, slithering homes. I frighten a snake and it slips with sinuous panic into the sparkling current, a ribbon of chaotic motion with a definite vector, to peer from a patch of algae. Oh, how it waits, immobile in the bright rushing!

The water’s always appealed to me. Never staying in one place is something I think about often these days. The least I can do now is run in place while the scenery moves me. A battery of birds frolic on bobbing branches.

I am happy, at least for the moment.