Sunday, June 23, 2013

night sounds

The city in the rain was altogether different from the city in the sunshine, and the city in the rain at night was as foreign a place as it could be. The bodega on the corner was open, a lone man working at the cash register, no one buying milk or cigarettes. The usual walkers or beggars or dubious individuals with uncertain intent were absent, washed away from the streets by the force of the rain. Enough of the streetlamps were on to illuminate the jungle of sidewalks and alleyways, so although I did not recognize my walk, even through the familiarity of habit, so changed was it by the dark and the weather, the lights allowed me some confidence of my orientation.

There was very little to look at, the storefronts closed up, the streets vacant, the sky dark, but the universal truths still gurgled in my head, and I felt no need for other distractions. Some time passed, an hour, perhaps longer, in the rain, on the pavement; it was hard to tell. The street was only lit by a sole lamp, some distance away. Underneath and through the noise of the rain, I could hear drumming. During the day, on a busy street, it is not a noise that attracted my attention, it meant buskers, pickpockets, tourists. This was different: it was a lonely sound and then it seemed to have found the tempo of the rainfall, and the drummer was playing in and around the rain, the drummer and the rain were improvising a duet.