Stay Alert

March 8th, 2010

I saw this cryptic message painted on the back of a road sign today when I was coming back from a walk to the island near my house. I guess it’s an official warning because of the phone number, and it’s near the same spot that the Tsunami Evacuation Route sign used to be, except that one was facing the direction from which a tsunami would presumably appear so it was hard to take it seriously. I felt there was something I should be watching for that I didn’t know about. The end of the world (always in the back of my mind)? Earthquakes? We’re on a fault, but how can you prepare?  Or was it a more general existential message about the nature of being alive and the risk of letting life pass us by? That life is both fatal and beautiful and we have to move toward the darkness that we know waits at the end of our journey and yet we pretend we have all the time in the world?  That we need to wake up and be alert to routine things in a new way? The dun-colored marsh grass, the ugly condos on the waterway, the flock of white birds taking flight in the distance in a kind of spiral formation–all of which I take for granted and none of which will be exactly the same tomorrow. Stay alert.

5 Responses to “Stay Alert”

  1. Jen says:

    Nikki, I feel like you just verbalized the things that go through my mind when I start making an image. Thats exactly how it works for me.. I see a phrase, then that hop scotch of thoughts, sometimes dark, sometimes light, sometimes existential, sometimes simple, and finally a conclusion which is always a return to the phrase.

    I’ve never been able to write it down though..

  2. I would have (well, actually I am) tempted to call the number.

    Stay Alert ~ oh yes, the churnings of my brain, wait for the other shoe to fall.

    Stay Alert ~ open to the possibility (the reality) that something good will come my way and I will totally miss it.

    Stay Alert ~ so that years from now I can remember an event, a comment, a situation that I was dull to at the time but years later, I am finally realizing what it might have been, what was implied, how the shit really came down…..

    Oh Nikki ~ I am a woman of few words but somehow with this simple post you have make a small crack in the dam. My veneer isn’t as thick or as tough as I thought it was…..I guess.

  3. nikki says:

    thank you! very humbling.

  4. Aw, this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this also – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get anything done… Regards

  5. I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting.

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