I'm sitting under a small canopy...on a bench behind my building. I work the second floor, above the comm center and below the court rooms and jail. There's a tall fence a few feet away to keep people from hap-hazardly falling to their doom into the parking lot below. This is our designated smoking area and due to a lack of smokers I usually have this space to myself.
This is where I come to formulate my plans of action during investigations. Trying to decide who to talk to first, who to arrest first and when to arrest them. I attempt to find the best course of action to make the dominoes fall in my favor. It's sort of like playing a chess game in your head.
The sun is shining and it's a comfortable 75 degrees. A slight breeze blows across my face as I light my cigarette. In the distance I can hear the faint but distinctive sound of an ambulance racing through the city to some medical emergency or another. A sparrow flies in from somewhere and lands atop the fence. I watch as its head angles one way and then the other with a strange sort of bio mechanical precision, surveying the area to decide how safe it is from moment to moment. It raises then lowers its tail to maintain its balance.
I watch the bird and wonder what its purpose is. What is its reason for existence? Its head continues to move as its small black eyes constantly surveille. Is its sole existance the sole purpose for being survival?
I used to equate birds with flight and freedom. Seeing them used to make me want to shed my suit for more comfortable clothing, step out of the grinding machinery of my life, get into my truck and just drive to see where I might end up. As I watch the sparrow today it seems somewhat oppressive. What good is a life spent simply for survival? Constantly eyeing the area for dangers. Assessing everything around you. Existing in constant fear of being devoured. Simply existing to eat and fly. Never feeling any emotion, unable to appreciate your surroundings even for a moment. Living without the realization that you are a separate and unique creature form everything else. Blind to the fact that there are other ways to live. Never wondering what it would be like to be anything but a sparrow.
There again, perhaps the sparrow is freer than I imagine it to be. The sparrow isn't tortured with fear of illness or debt. It doesn't worry about disappointment in itself and in others. It's free to exist and be a bird. To eat and take flight. The sparrows only pressure is to survive.
The sparrow isn't concerned with being a dove or a robin and doesn't have the capacity to distinguish between the two. The sparrow doesn't feel hatred inwardly or outwardly. The sparrow doesn't have to worry about the details or think about tomorrow. He exists only in the current moment. His is a life free of complications or dilemma.
I stand up to put my snubbed cigarette into the ash can. The sparrow, fearing I may try to eat him, takes flight and is out of sight in an instant.
To him I'm already forgotten.