Posted on Sunday, May 22nd, 2005
The sky is a classic – splashes of peach, burnt orange, magenta and purple arranged around vivid stripes of clear turquoise. Long, ragged grey clouds hang listlessly in the sky, catching the colours as the sun falls.
And then the bells and the engines and the mournful horns blaring so loud they’ll be heard half a mile away. Three yellow engines, “UNION PACIFIC” scored across their sides in red, and the huge clattering freight wagons which could only be made in America. All of this thunders past, ten feet from where I’m standing, and I realise that this is it – all my childhood dreams and imaginings of the vastness of America compressed into this moment.
This is somewhere I was always meant to be.
This is a strange new contentment.
I climb back into the Jeep and drive home through the last dying light of the day, smiling.
Posted on Friday, October 31st, 2003
The sheer expanses of stone around him had long since ceased to amaze Michael. He came here to this ancient cathedral once or twice a week for some referendum or other, together with half the town’s population. The great buttressed arches echoed with the low hum that any throng of people generates, but Michael kept his head firmly down, and joined his usual queue to make the slow progress along the length of the Cathedral’s hall to the altar.
He would be here for an hour, maybe two, whilst each vote was processed and filed ahead of him. He tried, still bleary in the early morning, to remember what this vote was for. The lifting of prohibition of alcohol, if his reading of the current referendum schedule was correct.
The stone pillars of the cathedral, those at eye level, were cloaked in the red and green banners of the People’s Sovereign Church, the self-styled “saviours of our nation”, and the only government that Michael could remember having ever lived under.
Posted on Wednesday, July 31st, 2002
I notice the faint sounds of the ingress ports opening, on schedule, as they do every 10 minutes or so throughout the day. They hover just on the edge of hearing, but I am so attuned to this environment now that I note them especially. They mark the passage of my day.
Two or three minutes later, a swarm arrives once again, the sound of thousands of tiny wingbeats echoing around the cavernous building. As they drop nearer to where we sit on our various platforms, their excited chitterings become audible.