1830. April 20, 2009: Alexandria Virginia, Waterfront Park:
It was a rainy afternoon in Alexandria Virginia. Waterfront Park was usually crowded with business women walking their dogs. Small children, (delighted with their after-school freedom) would run to the edge of the Potomac and hurl stones across in the hopes of skipping them to Maryland. Elderly men would pace the boardwalk with lost looks on their faces, and every once in awhile…my contact would walk to the water and stare across for a few minutes.
The rain had driven the usual cast of characters indoors. That was fine with me; I don’t fare well with the dogs and children. I looked favorably at the overcast horizon.
It had been weeks since my contact had last shown up at the park. I decided that the rain would keep him away as it had the other humans and longed for the safety of my nest.
In a hopeless gesture, I glanced up at the steel mountain a few blocks away. My contact walks out of that mountain everyday just as the sun begins to set. I can’t imagine what goes on inside but it must be some sort of torture.
An awful light shines out of the windows. (The humans call these “fluorescents.”) Men look like zombies when they walk in, and look even worse as they walk out. Their eyes are bloodshot, their clothes are disheveled, and they have no smiles.
I volunteered for the Waterfront Park station because it’s my hope that one day we animals can rescue our brother…our contact, from the torture of this place. It’s dreadful to see him in the afternoons…looking like all the other zombies. I can’t smell the wind on him any longer. The situation is getting frantic! I may need backup…
I stopped spying and decided to go. But just as I turned toward the Potomac, I saw him. He was looking downcast (as always) and heading to his car. It seemed like he was heading home. He opened the door and got in…but then he stopped. (I quacked with surprise!)
He slowly climbed out and shut the door. Something was stirring…the fog was clearing from his blue eyes. His muscles relaxed and a faint smell of the wild wind drifted from his shoulders!
He walked towards the water. I quacked with delight and scampered off to a nearby bush to get a better look.
I saw was a glorious thing.
He breathed in deeply…the sweet smells of April were augmented by the light rain and he caught every one of them. The beauty of the fading sunlight over the Potomac cleared away the haze from his eyes. He stood alone on the banks, taking in the sights and smells made for him by the Creator.
Yes…my fellow animals…for five minutes…our contact was alive!