Seeing & Looking
His tropically patterned shirt is soaked through. Rain water swirls around his bare feet as he takes three last hits from his cigarette and reads the restaurant menu's description of its $16 lobster avocado cocktail.
Splashing his clothes repeatedly, a group of cyclists rolls through water that locals have dubbed Lobster Pot Lake. Above, the Cape Cod sky turns a leaden gray. A single car creeps through the lobster lake waters of Commercial street with low beams illuminating the streets reflective signs in a vain attempt to find its way through the dark street.
A single baby stroller rolls down the street, its hidden passenger tucked safely under a blue hurricane tarp. Tethered to their dogs and kids, the parents mush.
My camera flash blazes. Staying dry under my old black umbrella, it wordlessly freezes vertical slices of rain, soaking them in to its memory card. Nearby, like blossoming flowers, bouquets of umbrellas open up to the sky. Their muzzled owners jaywalk across Commercial, because nobody one wants to wade though Lobster Pot lake.
This lake stretches just twenty-five feet across Commercial to the Governor Bradford restaurant. It reflects the red hues from the Lobster Pot's tubular, cursive neon sign. People are moving swiftly to shelter-- the Cape Cod cloudburst comes during lunch hour, at noon on a September Wednesday.
Between Ryder and Winslow streets, a few souls traverse the street. Punctuated by their dazzling sneakers, a puddle on Commercial street reflects a vinyl Peace Sign next to an equally plastic US flag. Sopping wet, but still velcroed to their owners, the running shoes dash off as their humans search out rain ponchos.
But it's too late. . .lightning bolts divide the sky. It pours.
Rain drops taper off. The storm clouds disappear. Sunlight paints the street with diffuse light from the southwest. All the passers-by walk on, except for one young beagle who stops to snarf up a toddler-plopped ice cream cone.
Stuffed into my dry backpack, the camera contemplates memories, hypnotized with images, and dreams of imaginary scenes that escaped its owner's wide eyes. Outside, the afternoon sky is now a pale blue.
I feel lighter, and walk on.
Photos and Writings by Jim Austin Jimages