02 July 2008


There is a great heavy two-propellered helicopter that circles above the lake. "Look, J, look out the window!" Little Boss says, and sees my arm already uplifted, pointing at the great brown-green thing bumbling along the stretch of sky between the ceiling and the top of the cubicle divider.

"They're practicing for hanging the flag on the Fourth," J says, and I don't know what he's talking about or if there is the slightest justification for his air of authority, but I watch the thing bumbling off around the bottom of the lake toward the hill on the other side, and feel that its particular purposes in flying round and round the lake today are insignificant in contrast to the very fact of its being. You can see at a glance it's meant to help someone kill somebody, but it has a weight about it that makes it hard to entertain the possibility that a thing like this should simply not exist. We stare at it for a long while, J and Little Boss and I, despite the long list of things less than half done.

On the way away from work a few days ago, J and I were near blinded by the sun glaring off the sticky upper surfaces of the leaves of a maple growing from a square in the sidewalk. "They're so shiny!" J said. "I don't know how they can be so shiny! This morning on my way to work, the sun was on it, and I, like--" he waved his hands in the air, squinting his eyes.

This morning, I scuffed my feet good along the rectangle of foot-cleaning carpet (or at least I guess that's what it is) in the lobby of our building, because walking up the sidewalk under the maples my soles picked up a tacky coating that made them go snick-snack, snick-snack, snick-snack against the ground.

"I never noticed it last year," J said, and pointed out the little hardened dribbles and drops of sap all along the sidewalk, in the afternoon as we made our way down the hill toward the tram. "But I guess I still had my car then." And so did I still have mine.

There is one tree, that one that was so blindingly shiny the other day, that seems even sappier than all the others along there. That was the one that dropped a leaf on my head yesterday. I noticed it landing there, but not till two blocks later did it occur to me that while I'd felt it land on my head, I'd not noticed it flutter to the ground. I put up my hand and found the leaf, a good big one at least four inches across, still stuck to the back of my head. I gave it a good yank, and it threatened to bring some hair with it as it came away, and then the back of my head was all snarled and glued together with sap, and I combed it all day with my fingers before it came straight again.

It is July and it is hot and usually I would be dejected because it's hard to face up to the way the sun comes out in the beginning of July and shine oppressively straight through to the middle of September. But this year it was cold and it was rainy and it was cold and it was rainy and it started to seem that the world had got stuck and was never going to remember there are seasons and things should change.

It is different now from last week, and I am pleased.