On the edge of the parking lot with my back to the overhead lights,
I could see an odd little clearing with a tree-lined perimeter not a hundred yards
from the back door of the multiplex and not fifty yards from the dumpsters.
Two particular trees, side-by-side on the left-hand side of the clearing, were odd.
Supported between them was a third, massive and long and very obviously not alive
but not hewn, either, the very opposite of a 2-by-4,
or maybe a cousin supported by two opposites.
But that wasn't right, either,
as the trees keeping the pole vertical were very much dead,
their trunks split at least halfway down by the fallen pillar,
cleaved harshly by a javelin the length of a semitrailer.
I was fascinated by this little altar; little not because of the effort necessary
or because of the masses involved, but because of its scale
compared to the sheer concrete wall of the movie theater
just out of sight outside the clearing.
It certainly wasn't my space: empty beer cans and soda bottles littered the grass
and the background whiff of stale garbage carried over from nearby,
but it felt decorous, almost. It felt necessary, as if this tiny patch of green
was counterbalancing an entire economy.
- - -
I was haunting the rail yard that winter, waiting on a train, deciphering graffiti,
when I saw the high-tension power lines. Their poles were rough-hewn and knotted,
and each of them lived in a patch of ground wherever it was necessary
to light what needed lighting, like tiny little pockets of industry cut into the world.
The holy buzz I felt in the little clearing, like energy from above; it was precisely that.