I saw them today in just a brief glance out the window. It was early; the sun had only moments before thrust its fiery head above the mountains holding up the sky in the East. Its feeble light was not yet enough to extinguish the street lights. I am not even sure the birds were awake and awing. I was on my way to work, driving in normal morning rush hour, sipping my coffee and swearing at the guy in front of me for stopping for no good reason. They were on their way to… somewhere. I wish I had been able to ask them where. Or maybe where they had been and where they were coming from.
It was just that quick, and they were gone, most likely for me to never lay eyes on again. But the questions have never disappeared. What about… and What did you… and What would you… A jumbled, tangled, monstrous montage of questions. Questions that I will never know the answers to because they will never be asked.
No one else on the road today even saw them, of that I’m certain. Mundane, routine, non-event happenings and recurrences prevented them from seeing what I saw. Most days, I would have missed it, too. I’m not sure why that wasn’t the case this morning. I am currently on a crash course with fifty. Thoughts of that impending birthday and the entire history preceding that event may have been the catalyst for my eyes to wander in their direction in the first place.
I am not sure if it is a good or a bad omen, noticing things that normally go unnoticed. The possibility exists—always exists—of the “Nothing” as a poet friend of mine terms it. It could be nothing but sheer coincidence or random chance possessing no greater or lesser significance in the overall scheme of life than a bird flying over head, or a kite chasing the wind. But today, the Nothing sounds like a continuation of the current and more, a tarnish on that moment.
My first thought was, I wish my friend was here. He could tell their story so much better than I with his words of love and companionship, of heartache and dreams, of illness and steadfastness. His picturesque descriptions, his ability to see into the heart of things and extract that which is vital, to create that verve of life, his touching of the nerve of empathy make him so much more qualified than I to have observed this.
While I am left with naught but questions for an elderly couple walking slowly uphill on the sidewalk, hand in hand. I wish I had been able to ask them all those questions.