How much I miss as I rush about my daily life, focussed on crossing the road safely, watching where I step, intent on not bumping into other pedestrians and avoiding the inevitable idiot on a bike riding along the pavement. My eyes are usually either on the ground or just a few feet above it when there is so much more of the world above my head.
Yes, I rarely stand and just watch the world turn. It’s hard with all that involvement and interaction to stand outside and just take it in, let it flow into you. Today though, as I stood at the crossing watching the little red man and waiting for the rushing, honking cars to stop, something made me lift my head. It was a gentle sound at first, a soft whoosh, and looking up I saw in the distance three V’s of birds. As they got nearer, crossing each other’s paths and then separating away again, the whoosh grew louder and then turned to a thwack, thwack, thwack, like the beat of a hollow drum.
Then I heard the honks and, as always, I was taken somewhere else. I'm never quite sure where that else is, all I know is that it makes me feel good, at peace somehow.
High above my head were hundreds of geese going wherever geese go at this time of the year. I’m not sure what type of geese they were, but it struck me that they were late and in a hurry. They could have been Canadian, barnacle, brent or greylag, I couldn’t tell from the ground with them silhouetted against the sky, besides even if I could have seen them properly I’d probably still have struggled to know which geese they were.
The red man turned to green twice while I stood looking up into the air. The drivers in their cars must have thought me a lunatic staring up into space by the side of the road. It look a long time for the birds to pass over, but eventually they were gone, just a few specks in the distance and then nothing at all. It left me wondering if they had seen me or if, like me on most days, they were far too busy focussing on where they were going and what they were going to do when they got there to look down at that speck of me on the ground.
And so the world turns, both theirs and mine.