Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Pigeon Artist

It is right now 7am or something in Nakano, the sun coming up and telling us that all good boys should have been in bed.  You know, some time ago.  Instead I was in Roppongi until six a.m.  Towards the end I helped pile a half-coherent fifty year old political scientist into a cab as two Japanese women who'd joined us vaguely described his destination to the driver and we all crossed our fingers.  We refueled and exchanged phone numbers.  The best new friendships are born under fire.

But even better, as I walked back from Nakano station to Arai, along some half-paved side road,  I saw a man performing magic.  He was on top of an apartment block, waving a green, yellow, and red signal flag.  And as he waved the flag, a flock of pigeons moved around him, with infinite grace, like tamed lightning. They circled the building's top, again and again.  I stood and watched for ten, fifteen minutes, the very early morning traffic moving around me.  This was something practically supernatural, the mundane fabric of the city flicked to one side to reveal an oddity, creatures out of fantasy, made real through vision and not a little discipline - this must have taken decades to master. I was listening to this band called Dr. Dog who make sad and beautiful music, and it all added up to a truly amazing moment.

(Photo courtesy of Paz's New York Minute - very sadly, I didn't have my camera.)

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