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A moment

November 15, 2009

Today I was craving a hot dog, so for lunch I went to Mos Burger for a chili dog with onion rings and a coke.  As I ate, I read ‘Perfect Example,’ by John Porcellino.  It’s a sad little story.

After reading such a story, I was in no mood to shop for groceries.  So I changed my plan for the day and headed to Hiyoriyama Shrine, to see what I could see.

It’s at the top of a mountain in Ishinomaki, which is a port city, and it overlooks a long coast to the west and a peninsula to the east.  I got there just as the sun was making its landing approach… the buildings and waves below all had a honeyed tinge.

I stood there for a while, looking and leaning out against a rail, wishing I’d brought my camera.  To my left was the mouth of a river, which ran through the city, disappearing to the north.  Along its banks ships of all different purposes were docked, some with their lights on in anticipation of the early nightfall.  Straight ahead was the wide ocean.  More ships, frozen in distance, gilded in the sun.  To my right were the gaily lit smokestacks of the paper mill, framed by balding autumn branches.  The mill looked more like a candy factory than a noxious paper mill, with its red and white striped stacks and purple cotton plumes.

The constant plop of wet leaves hitting the ground tricked me more than once into looking up for rain.  The breeze was insistent but mild, just enough to chill the tip of my nose and make me zip up my coat.  As the sun sank lower and the sky glowed pink, the rush of the wind in the leaves gave way to cooing, cawing, and squawking.  I looked up, and there were hundreds of blackbirds scooping, diving, gliding stationary against the breeze, all calling out in a chorus of three or four notes.  They swelled and collapsed around each other, the whole of the group drifting away from the ocean up over the shrine like billows of black smoke, paths crossing and colliding in midair.

While I watched this random ballet, the light cooled, the wind chilled, and so I left the shrine.  A man has to shop for groceries sometime.  I looked for walt whitman among the peaches and penumbras…

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