Friday, May 28, 2010

Sherry O'Keefe

Five White Pickup Trucks

I made a deal with myself when I saw five white pickups
in a row stopped at the Lake Elmo traffic light. My kids
say I don’t notice things. (But I am aware of patterns in
the street.) Four blue jeeps, three purple bugs strung out
at the light means I drive to work along a different route.

To notice things. To pay attention. Break up my routine.
This time I drove over the Rims, down into the valley on
a tore up road. I waved to the flagman with a pink ribbon
on his hazard-yellow vest. The dozer was carving so close
to Yellowstone Kelly’s Grave I shivered, yet noticed

the earthmover had rubber tires and a 12 foot wide blade. When
I worked in trucking, I was paid to pay attention. Oversize
permits, special routes, small red stop signs for the pilot car.
It was good to feel in synch again, to be present in the moment.
My change from the Burger King lady was warm in her cold hand,

little kids in the crosswalk skipped instead of walked. I pulled
into work, feeling vibrant and alert; joined the men looking out
the windows at our parking lot. Did I notice, they asked,
the circus was in town: three gray elephants being watered
50 feet from where I parked my truck.

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