Bands of sun rolled across the cloud-shaded lawn. The voices in my head (reason, experience, impulse, love, discipline, and desire) all said, “Go outside now.” This time I listened, and once there, I found a warm afternoon of fragrant air induced by a morning of hard rain.

I walked along a creek and from my position on the north bank saw movement too far ahead to identify. Then, the source honked out a stressed warning call. A pair of Canada geese jumped off the bank into the water and across to the south side, into my line of sight. I suspected they were fleeing something far more threatening than a human 200 feet away, so I remained still and kept watch for whatever it was that was upsetting them.

Upstream, slowly floating, an ominous blue sight moved toward the geese as they barked continuously and hurried downstream. With a single, loud drumbeat, the floating barrel hit the bridge pillar before spinning in slow motion and continuing its steady advance. I watched it for a while, following it as it moved downstream, hoping it might land where I could fetch it.


Then, it began to sink and drag and hook the rocks. It stopped. Stuck.

Had I waited ten minutes to walk, I’d not have witnessed the barrel’s sluggish flight and soggy landing. I’d only have discovered a big piece of blue trash in the middle of the creek and figured it had arrived during some earlier storm on some earlier day. I thought, What other things have floated by here in the last 24 hours or 24 days or 24 years? How many odd sights are unseen during the times I am stuck inside?

I shrugged and turned. Back at the office, heating my lunch, the first of the high, strong winds began to blow. I’d managed to take my walk in the short time between soaking rain and dreaded wind. The howling reached shutter-clanging, tree-bending proportions by the time I began to type. Timing. I owed it to those voices that said, “Go outside now.”


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