I should have written this yesterday. Today will have to do. I second guess too much.
My grade school teacher was right. Your initial impulse is almost always the correct answer. Instincts exist to be trusted...
but there are exceptions to every rule.
Instead of writing I walked.
My usual sanctuary in desperate need of repair. So I walked.
It was a near perfect day. The wind and the weather and the sky. Music in my headphones and nothing to wait on. One of those days when you can feel all the magic in the world. Birmingham was beautiful to me. Smiling and warm.
I stood on the bridge and watched the trains. Slow at first and then picking up speed. Rolling and rolling and clicking.
I felt an affection for my city. The type of affection that only comes when you accept something for just exactly what it is.
No failed expectation or disappointment. No great metropolis. No promises. Just something I have always loved, for reasons I can’t even explain to myself.
The sun shone bright and determined.
I took lame art student pictures of graffiti.
Felt like I was seeing something underneath the obvious.
Today was different.
I wore sneakers for one thing. I expected the same beauty. The same smile. And so of course... it hid from me.
I walked to the same places. Searching. Frustrated and false. Magic isn’t magic if you can re-create it.
I sat on the bridge and watched the trains underneath me. Hooked my foot around the concrete to keep from falling. Closed my eyes. Listen for promises.
Try to hear the conversation beneath what’s being said.
Pick up channels I’ve been skipping.
I’m almost exactly where I want to be. Not the bridge of course. It’s just a metaphor. Something bigger to give context to something too precious.
It’s not yesterday, but its close enough Metropolis or not , I still love. Can’t seem to not. See beauty in the broken bricks and overgrown warehouses.
The rusted rebar and neglected skyscrapers. Get lost staring into silvery blue.
Slide down and feel it all fit. Feel the universe lock into place. See the picture paint its arms up and then around me. Hold me in place. Become my keeper. Whisper and sigh and patronize.
And then I open my eyes Look down to see that the trains are gone. Just track laid in rocks. Metal smoothed by friction.
Worn by cycle. Made only to ease the passage of something heavy. Heavy but also great. Worth bearing the weight. Like the unseen axis for the earth. And I never even heard the silence as it settled underneath me.
And so the promises don’t come, and I don’t expect them. Know in my bones that magic only happens because you aren’t looking. Move my eyes back up to the bridge opposite me. And then to the horizon beyond it.
Swing my legs off the proper side and walk home.