May 13, 2010

The Strangest Thing I Ever Saw

Truth is stranger than fiction. Life is stranger than fiction. All around us every day are things going on we could not think up. Some of them spark our imagination, or we scribble them down to use later somewhere.

Last summer, on my way out to the observatory, I saw the strangest thing ever. I was on the main road before making a left onto Highway to Nowhere. A man was running down the sidewalk. Not at a pleasant jog or leisurely pace. He ran as if his life depended on it or his pants were on fire. An all out sprint.

So what's so weird about that? What he was carrying and how. Hoisted upright, like a flag in a drum corp, he carried a dead fir tree. It was obvious it was dead by the brown color and the way the needles flew off, leaving a golden wake behind the running man.

It was strange. Really strange. It struck me as beautiful and something I'd have to do something with at some point. Why was he running with a dead tree? Why so fast?

I got up to the observatory and told my friends about it. They asked if he was running toward the hospital. He was. We all laughed.

I think about that man and his tree often. I put it to use in a story about feral tumbleweeds. Seemed the right place for it. Instead of carrying a tree, in the story he is carrying  a tumbleweed. I could have never of thought up such a vivid scene on my own. Life rocks.

What's the strangest thing you've ever seen?