Perception

The weathervane stands proudly against the gray, its metal blades looking cold to the touch. Spindly trees without their leafy caps frame the weathervane, shaped like an arrow, the end bursting forth like a flower in bloom. The wind whispers over the blades and they spin around its axis, fast enough to blur, then slowing, then still. I stare at the blades, waiting for it to whirl again, eyes fixed on slightest movement. A pond as still as glass sits behind the weathervane and begs to be disturbed. Misty rain hangs in the air, gray on gray on gray as the dreary day leeches all of the color out.

I sit curled up in a chair and watch the tranquil scene beyond the floor to ceiling windows. The promise of spring is here, pops of fresh greenery emerging from the plants lowest to the ground, a sheen of moss on the trees. If I could draw even one line with a paintbrush, I would borrow all the cold, foggy colors and transfer them onto canvas and hang it on my wall. Though I would welcome a spot of sunshine, the light would steal spring’s soft overlay across the landscape.

I could walk away from the scene satisfied, but I want a closer look, bathing my senses instead of depriving them of their fullness. The stale, recycled air inside the common room and the subtle rumble of HVAC systems gives only a fragment of what could be. To appreciate it, I know I must peel away the safety and warmth of the building and stand inside spring’s embrace.

 The blustery air pierces right through the thin material of my blouse, a chill raking across my skin. I didn’t dress appropriately for the weather; April’s nature to disarm you with a pleasant day, then arrest you with a cold snap, lured me into a false sense of certainty. Though I hover close to the building, there is no protection from the bursts of wind that funnel into the alcove and nip at me. I want to inhale the fresh fragrance of nature coming into bloom, but the rain has dampened it, too cold for it to have a presence. It’s not quite raining, the moisture suspending in the air and acting as a refrigerant. I don’t have to hold out my hand to catch the raindrops because they are all around me, even under the overhang.

Somewhere closeby there’s a long, incessant drone of a small motor, the chainsaw puttering as it idles. It capitulates, high pitched as it chews its way through an object, then whirring, waiting to be initiated again. The weathervane suddenly looks less pristine, less enticing. The glaze of rain makes the metal blades look sharp, as if they could slice my hand if I touched them. A pair of geese rises from beyond the pond, and without the sun, they give no reflection in the water. They coast over the scene, assaulting my ears with their honking chorus.

I’m distracted by a woman hunched over inspecting a decayed flowerbed that doesn’t yet have new life. I want to concentrate on the weathervane, but I can’t stop tossing glances at her, curious about what she’s looking at. I can taste my stale morning coffee on my tongue, something I hadn’t noticed before, and I no longer feel connected to the scene, too aware of what’s around me. I wanted to feel it, but now I want to run from it, run back into the building where it’s dry, closing out the sound of the chainsaw that upturns my stomach as it carries on without a break. I regret coming out here; I can’t undo this new knowledge. I can never go back to the way it was before.

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