Thursday, March 3, 2011

You'll have to use your imagination

I saw the most beautiful thing this morning.

First of all, it was cold - about 20 degrees - and I was pissed because winter has been dragging on for what seems like years now and I've had enough. The buttons are falling off my coat, but it's already March, so I keep thinking I won't have to wear the coat much longer, but then the temperature shoots back down to zero and the wind bites me through the open button holes. So, walking to work this morning, I was feeling pretty grumpy and bitter.

Adding insult to injury, the sun shone as brightly as, well, the SUN. Blazing away, blinding me at every turn, but providing absolutely no warmth. You might say it was being a tease and that just irritated me more. So, I kept to the shady side of the street so as not to burn my corneas and muttered to myself as the wind was only that much colder in the shade than on the - heh - sunnier side of the street.

I kept up this grouchy attitude all the way down Thompson Street when, in an instant, that negative cloud completely evaporated.

That's when I saw him: a street cleaner, bundled up in gray coveralls, gloves, scarf and a red sweatshirt with the pulled hood up over his head. One hand gripped his trash can on wheels and the other a broom handle. His face was turned up and towards a beam of sunlight that cut through the gap between two tenements on an otherwise dark street. He appeared to have stopped abruptly, maybe walking along until that beam of light hit him on the face and BAM, his feet anchored right to the sidewalk.

The thing that stopped me in my tracks was the expression on his face. Eyes closed, mouth blissfully smiling, he was the picture of happiness and contentment. In an instant, I was envious, then glad, then feeling it myself. I crept closer and he didn't move. Nothing was going to tear him from that enchanted embrace. As I walked past, I smiled up at him and he continued to grin at the sun. I continued smiling all the way down the block and when I turned back, a shadow had fallen over the sidewalk and he was gone.


  1. Photo or I don't believe it. :)

  2. My first thought was to snap a pic, but that would have ruined it. It probably doesn't make sense, but this way, I'll never forget his face.

  3. Nice image. I can just picture it in my mind. And, having served a spell as a street sweeper(London, not here - during the last big recession in the early 90's), I can certainly relate to how that guy felt.

    Sometimes memory is best served without the physical image.


  4. I love your photos, but I agree, I'm glad you didn't take one this time because you captured it perfectly in words. It's a moment that you were very generous to have shared. Thanks Goggla