The trip to the Hamptons, collecting my mom in Penn Station after her long early morning drive over changing roads to the Syracuse train station and then the long ride along the Mohawk and down the Hudson, arriving an hour late, the taxi stand on northbound 8th Avenue hot and slow, to the Jitney with a revised reservation for the 6 PM, through that city where I would have wanted to live, where people of odd talents might find a place, a cubbyhole.
The pleasant visit, a two night stay before going back. Asked to, while clams are grilled, I bring in two pieces of the swimsuit improvised for mom, and when I place them in the guest room and then the upstairs laundry chute, there's a tiny wolf spider looking up at me from the hairs of my tanned left forearm, a hopping spider, considerate of direction, rotating to get a better sense of its place, to escort back outside, fine where it is for this brief moment of wild animal (insect) handling, in which I am, I know, in no danger, and nor is anyone else. Possums eat ticks and mosquitoes, and spiders such as this have their own place, benevolently, not like they play with poisons or matches outside your backdoor intent on violation and siege, nor are they dumbly aggressive out of self-protection.
So I walk back the stairs in through the big living room, talking, or thinking of it, quietly to the spider, an old friend from a winter kitchen not that long ago. How many eyes do you have, actually, my friend. Well, I guess we'd better go back outside the way things are such in here.
What's that you've got on your arm ? A tick?
No. Just a little spider. Harmless.
Just Kill the spider.
I'm on my way out the door, though the spider attempts a quick strand to parachute away, though I regather, moving forward, spider pulling in back to the golden hairs on my hairy arm, a forest of bent-over bamboo or natural wicker.
The spider is not a problem at all. In the cold season a spider exactly alike has stood on a wall by the refrigerator of an apartment, at eye level, raising his/her front legs, and eyes up, to look up in a salute to conversation, and the conversation was close, mutually interesting, I would imagine, perfectly peaceful, my house is yours, neither afraid in the slightest. No thoughts of flattening a living being into a squashed state of death.
I come back in.
Where's the spider?
He agreed to go on his own way, no problem, friendly arrangement. Off he went. Off'a, one of those lounge chairs...
And then getting up early, back to New York, to get mom to her train, and myself back to DC for a quiet Sunday night shift.
But this is all just to pose a thought, a sort of questioning one, a what if. And what if, in town, a really kind person showed up. Not asking anybody for anything, doing his or her work, and just, as might be impossible in certain places, just being kind, in a kind, quiet, unobtrusive way, as if a fellow human being could appear kind of as a bird, a sighting that instinctively and automatically reminds us, brings us, of and to nature, the glimpse of an originality, an unexpected thing that is one of the trademarks of a species, like the call of an own or a mourning dove, or the flap of a crow pulling up like a fast descending helicopter of war upon a robin's perch with nest. (Crows are magnificent as well, friends almost.)
What if there were that kind person, a fellow or a gal who'd come in from a long ways away, a unique place with its own character, not just another big city in the world or a popular mall, ambitious, visited. Far away. Maybe even from somewhere a good portion of it made up in his own mind, his own thoughts to what reality is.
That person who steers the bike wide to let a young lady come up the parked cars on a quiet street below Oak Hill Cemetery. I turn my lamp down to the ground, and she smiles at me, and one sees another, the great phenomenon, the treasure of another human being. She's pretty and elegant in her black dress set for a lovely evening, and I got to get back and unload the groceries in my courier bag, things to do, before heading back into work tomorrow.