29 March 2006

Construction season


THE SKY IS BLUE, a uniform flat, dusty purple-blue. None of the brilliant blues that gleam as summer comes closer, but still, cloudless light falls on the ravaged artery below. Ripping the street apart—again—beneath my bedroom window is the cacophonous rite of only days-old spring. Vehicles beep backwards in circular succession. The maw of a machine grinds against the ground as it empties, the sound of a half-ton ashtray being casually emptied. The buses announcing their terminal destinations north, south, west, east, are lost in the sound of fuels being spent. The crews don't work all day with their machines that chew out the old pavement and then regurgitate its tarry cud. The noise and clatter goes for an hour or two, and they're gone. Their just-begun $6 million efforts expose, only a few inches below, aged cobbles and streetcar tracks erratically gouged from earlier resurfacings. It's not lunchtime yet this Friday past, and from the sky's cloudless cover comes now a sudden sweep of white, a tumble of urgent fluff, and all the ruck of chunked sidewalk, orange caution horses, rectangles of yellow caution tape around tanker-length open holes, loses its instructive contrast as one vast playful gust of winter spirits all color away for ten minutes and then evaporates, leaving the slightest damp atop the dust and trouble. [Originally published in a slightly different form in Newcity, 29 March 2006.]