Friday, January 9, 2009

The Incredible Lighted-ness of Being in St. Paul

There must be a city ordinance that requires all trees within downtown St. Paul to be festooned with lights. Deciduous trees, stories-high evergreens, thigh-high shrubs in pots--all of these trees are bedecked in the blocks surrounding the St.Paul Hotel. White lights, red, green, purpleandredandgreen together. The effect is breathtaking. The days are short here in the dark middle of winter-- and maybe it's a mental health issue. Maybe some repected mental health professional has insisted that there be light. All I know is that the lights come on at dusk and are still on when I open my eyes in the 6:00 a.m. pre-dawn darkness.
Imagine this in a forest of light:
You are waiting for the bus and you hear sleighbells. It's a throaty ring--the baritone in the choir of bells and you have no idea where the sound is coming from. Then you see it. Silver, the size of a golfball, attached to the loop of a young woman's backpack. The bell rings because she is stamping her feet to keep warm on the packed carpet of snow next to the bus stop. Her hands are in her pockets and the fur-trimmed hood of her parka is pulled tight around her face, but still, she looks cold.  A young man standing a few feet away from her had searched for the source of the sleighbellls just like you and now he looks up from his phone and smiles.  He takes a couple of steps toward her. "Rudolph?" he says. She laughs and doesn't back away. "Guide my sleigh tonight?" he asks, emboldened.  They've turned to face one another now, and she laughs again.  He bows his head  a little and shakes it--laughing perhaps at his own wit.  He looks like a deer showing off his antlers.  
This could be the beginning of something, you think, here at the bus stop in a city burning with light.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Write a short story now!