I’m on holidays this week. Not going anywhere; just took it off for the sake of it really. There will be some late nights – and their subsequent very early mornings – so it’s probably best for all for me not to be at work anyway. I might catch a movie, or see an exhibition, but mostly I’ll do a lot of sitting at home doing nothing, and that sounds peachy fine to me.
Soon I will be meeting friends for dinner but earlier I was sitting at my desk, sipping cheap wine, gazing out the window, and pondering if I should go for a walk or not. I could buy a book or some new pillows or a couple of work shirts… perhaps later. As I sat I stared aimlessly at a large tree in the middle distance, watching as it waved gently in the breeze. It was a nice afternoon, much too nice to do anything. So I sat and sipped and watched this tree. It’ll probably rain later.
I wasn’t really paying attention, just enjoying the cool afternoon and feeling lulled by the rhythmic back and forth of the tree, when suddenly the entire tree exploded. The tree simply exploded shooting white flames out in every direction. My eyes now were fully focused on this tree, my mind pulled back from its travels; all I could see was the tree and the white explosions. It was like a firework ball that fills the night sky with light. Exactly like that, all except the sound. The explosion was silent; the calls of the parrots, the hum of the traffic, and the murmur of the café below were never disrupted. Yet the tree exploded.
As I watched the white balls of light swooped down and darted left, then hit the brakes and shot right, circling the tree. I realised that it was a cacophony of sulphur-crested cockatoos that had been spooked from their afternoon slumber and scarpered from the tree as a unified creature. The cockatoos circled again and again the tree, and each time some perched, the rest still too nervous to rest, but slowly they spiralled themselves away until all the birds had found a safe haven amongst the leaves. And now instead of the tree exploding it seemed to implode as the cockatoos all shook their wings. Little sparks of white shimmered across the tree as the birds sorted their feathers, or cooled themselves in the wind, or cackled to their fellow feathered friends. And then they settled and slowly the lights faded and the tree lost its glow, and instead of the tree being alive with light and life it became again just another tree in the middle distance, a soft green grey, nondescript from the others in the park. And the traffic kept droning down the roads, and the café guests kept laughing at their conversations, and the parrots kept screeching at each other, and I never knew what it was that had first scared the cockatoos.
After a short while I went to the kitchen to refill my glass. Returning, looking back out the window, I couldn’t remember which tree it was that had exploded.