Long Pause

This is a place of ambience, where the sounds blend together to build an orchestra of both nature and machine and then dissipate in the same instant. In the quiet moments leaves bustle as they travel on a gust of wind across a once green and luscious patch of grass that is now dry and twiggy. Somewhere a bird chirps and others chirp their equally happy response, and even further in the distance a duck quacks.
All of this however is drowned out by the roaring motors of the traffic – big land cruisers that look like they’d never seen bush, dwarfed by the truck passing it in opposite direction with a water tank in the trailer. It is only the sound that lingers when it disappears on its way to somewhere.
This place I sit in is a place where everyone is going somewhere, even when they are not moving they are on their way somewhere. It is but one stop on their journey.
As I sit, a spider crawls across the leg of my blue jeans and my first instinct is to brush it away. I act upon this but then for a moment I wonder where it came from and where it was going. Had I just stopped it on its journey? I might have changed its path but what then? Maybe like anything stopped on its journey and forced to change directions, it was for a reason and perhaps it is on a better path. Maybe the destination changes, what then?
I haven’t seen that spider since.
As I ponder my part in a spider’s journey, more people pass, all taking determined steps down the concrete path and through the automatic doors they disappear. I wonder what they think of when the walk that path. Do they see the trees as they sway in a soft wind or hear the birds chatter away? I wonder what it all sounds like in their heads. Is there the same chatter that I hear in mine? Do their dreams and memories play as vividly in their mind’s eye as mine do?
A magpie lands on a lamp post high above the traffic, squawks his greeting, but does not stay. I wonder if it was the view he was not impressed with. Perhaps the streetlamp was a place to momentarily rest his weary wings before taking flight again to resume his journey. Then a crow flies boldly between two buildings, shifting course only slightly to avoid collision.
I reflect on the people I’ve observed, walking into the building, the dwarf like girl with the body full of scars, who proudly wears clothing that does not hide these and the old man who strolls in, casually flicking away his burnt out cigarette before disappearing, like the girl, into the building.
A rattle is heard nearby, but only I am noticing and I shift my gaze to where the sound is coming from.
A plastic subway bag is all that remains of someone’s meal and is rolling in my direction before a gust of wind changes its course. Its new path ends with a concrete block, adjacent to the one I rest my back on. I stare at it half angry that someone has neglected to dispose of it and half wanting to disconnect from it.
Like the plastic bag, it feels like everything has stopped, but the traffic and the birds. The breeze blows on and the hot October sun continues to bore down on me and there’s no relief from that. Nature and construction meet but there is no acknowledgement. People that enter the building do not exchange more than a quick glance, a nod and maybe a smile. There is no kiss likely to occur, nor can I imagine this to be the place where one would occur. There may be kisses anticipated in a time and place far from here but the kiss I see is the one in a not so distant memory, playing out in my head like it was only moments ago. I don’t ponder this for too long. An animated conversation between birds catches my attention, bringing back to reality and my long pause before I too will eventually resume my journey.

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