Sunday, January 15, 2012

Morning, with Crows and Snowflakes

Snowflakes gathering to the streetlights, and falling away. A blue morning, dark and quiet; the radio is playing softly: some melancholy country/soft rock crossover crooner. I can't quite recognize the tune, but the obsessive repetition of the refrain, and the anxiety conveyed by the ragged voice, feel quintessentially American. We can endure neither our ills nor their remedies, it says.

But it grows lighter, nevertheless. I can see the snowflakes now outside the spheres of the streetlights, drifting down, striking a repelling layer of air some three inches from the parking lot pavement, and bouncing up off it once, even twice, before settling. The flakes aren't dissolving immediately on contact, now. This may stick.

A dozen crows cluster in the air, and drift over to the tallest and nearest of the doug firs, settling on its crown. In all the mornings I've sat here and watched them, I've never seen them settle there, though it seems, to this ignorant primate, like the obvious spot. Is it the snow route? Half a dozen more join them.

The streetlights go out. The snow turns back to rain. Or are those fine flakes? More crows come to the moot: all the highest boughs of the doug fir have black ornaments bobbing at their ends. And then they all launch off and move over to the telephone wires northwards, along 62nd, where they get coffee and and joke and network and exchange business cards. Crisis averted. They've negotiated to discount the loans with the French and German banks.

And now, it's real morning. There are colors: green hedges, blue awnings, red cars. A surprising flood of light, now, coming through the thick cloudroof. Over there, our new white Honda Civic – new to us, of course, not factory new – glows as if it was the real source of all this light, the whitest thing in all this white world. We got it last week. We've become increasingly anxious about Alan driving the now ancient, can't-get-parts-for-it '85 Honda Accord, so the idea of getting the Civic was to give him the Ford, once we've spruced it up a little, replaced the struts and so forth.

When I finish my coffee I'll head on over to KCC for the morning sit. I went last week, too. It was nice to see everyone.

New snowflakes, daytime snowflakes, coming down now. A man hobbles past the windows, white flakes pasting themselves to his red coat. He comes in and takes his place at the special booth where Tosi ordinarily sits, the imperial seat, right by the door, between the old and new dining rooms. He's one of those men with ageless faces who forgathers with Tosi, talking in resonant confident voices in endlessly flowing Greek. Probably, like Tosi, in his seventies or eighties, though you'd guess fifties or sixties. All these men have strongly marked faces, and there's not one of them you'd mistake for American. They don't smile at strangers, for one thing, though they laugh and tease freely among themselves. Not even a flicker of recognition for me, though we've been sharing restaurant space for thirty years, and I must be as familiar to them as they are to me.

Off to KCC. Good morning! xoxo


Anne said...

What a fine easy flowing piece of writing. I was there with you.

What if you smiled and said "Good morning" to the old man? Would he respond?

Dale said...

He gives me a stony stare and an infinitesimal nod of the head :-)

Marly Youmans said...

Like those crows!

Glad you tried speaking to him! And you were acknowledged, however slightly. (Or is that response slight-ly in another way?)

Lucy said...

Love how your world intersects with others' worlds, the crows', the old men's, which are the more real and vivid for their incomprehensibility. I wish the crows were doing all the things you say... Perhaps they are.