June 26, 1980
The leaves blow, rustling and clicking like voices of a crowd, thousands pushing and shoving, thousands speaking trying to be heard.
The sun is so bright it seems to blister the grass, painting it dry and yellow, like hay spread across the landscape waiting for horses or cattle from some past incarnation to devour it.
At the same time, it is quiet here, a quiet not from lack of sound, but lack of noise.
All this seems in harmony, even the cars that moan along River Drive, bringing on their own assortment of clicks and rattles, each with its own distinct sound.
I hear voices, too, human voices rising form out of the nearby warehouse, white noise since I can’t hear what they say, only the drone of their speech – boasting maybe, such men engage in amongst themselves, telling tall tales that mean nothing to the trees or the river, a variation on the tales I used to hear the fishermen tell in my grandfather’s boat store, about the fish they caught or let go or that got away, and the story of the struggle, most of which had little to do with truth, yet felt right, even in the telling.
The trees care nothing about such tales or the concept of honesty – they simply live or die, with very little need to bolster the journey with boasts.
The wind does not search for honesty the way I do, it blows, varying its gusts, stirring up leaves or weeds, blowing hot sometimes, and other times cold.
It has no concept of success or failure, the way people like I do, feels no need to be more than it is, when I always feel that need.
If I listen hard, I can hear the highway and its hustle and bustle, that ever polluting part of the planet this place seems to deny, so rushed the people engaged there have no time to glance around and step aside, or to look here or stop here or feel this lazy, unhurried space, whose pace moves at need not out of artificial necessity.
Nothing here is more important than anything else.
I impose it on them being here, looking at the flow of the water and picking out those details that strike me, the ducks, the catfish, the empty bottles floating down stream and over the falls.
Even the brick face of the old mills and the cracked concrete wall along the road seem to fit into this jigsaw puzzle, as I rest here, and wait, the then move on, getting this jog in before I head off to my job, and the bosses who do think they are more important than everything else, especially those of us who actually do the hard work their positions allow them to avoid.
There is something dream-like in all of this, carrying a kind of haze that somehow protects the fragile things of the world, the blades of grass that struggle to survive, the white butterflies that float against the gusts of wind, the blooms of strange purple flowers that rise up in clumps near my feet, purple flowers that look a lot like faces staring up at me as if I’m the odd one in this place, hoping that my clumsy feet do not crush them in my passage, we humans thinking less of them because they are wild or free or even merely weeds. They are honest and real when in many ways I’m less so if at all, we humans reeking havoc on the world, despoiling the ground we walk on, drinking away the virtues of places like this, leaving our waste behind, never stopping to think which is more important the weeds or us.