Ordinary Things, Meaning and Mystery (a moment when I sound like a total flake and don’t care)

It might sound obvious, but whenever I look at my favorite photographs or paintings, I have the confident sense that they mean something … I’m just not really sure what.

It’s the peripheral-vision pull of it — the feeling that something important is just out of reach — that attracts me.

(I’m much less interested in things I’m sure I understand).

And every once in awhile, I’ll have the privilege of spotting a moment of almostness in everyday life, which is what happened a week or so ago with the photograph you see above.

(It means something to me.  Or almost means something.  And it’s totally okay if you can’t see it.)

I was driving down the interstate when I spotted that truck, saw the way the hard morning light caught in all its little metal quadrangles.  The sun sharpened but also seemed to undercut the painted words, and I kept staring at them like a foreign language I could decipher if I squinted just right.

(Maybe this is how my subconscious speaks.  Just this:  the sudden resurfacing of a bitten-off edge of dream.  Driftwood.  Flotsam.  Lake-lapped, water-smooth bone.  An image I’d forgotten I remembered, diminishing fast in the waking…)

Thomas was sitting beside me in the passenger seat, and I stole a glance at him out of the corner of my eye, feeling the breath catch inside me.

“I want you to take a picture for me,” I said, my voice tight.


“I’ll tell you exactly what to do.”

He got out my camera and aimed it through the Volvo’s windshield, and I kept taking brief little knifelike glances to see if there would be a reflection on the glass.  To understand the angles, the way I might compose the whole thing without ever looking through a viewfinder.

When Thomas had the shot lined up, I loosened my hands on the wheel, felt the car steady under my hands.  “Take a shot every time I tell you,” I said.


I feathered the accelerator just slightly, letting the Volvo float behind the truck — closer, closer — until I could see the lines closing in the way I wanted.




Later, when I saw the shots, I knew they were right, at least for me.

I’m still not sure what they mean, but that’s okay … Maybe the meaning will hit me six months later, when I’m driving down the road behind some other truck, in some other state, and the revelation will open like a flower inside my chest… Or maybe I’ll never know at all.

And maybe that’s exactly the way it was meant to be. ❤


  1. I don’t know, of course, if I got this as you did, but I know for sure that I do get that sense of almost, almost, almost… but what? I’m learning to let it just sit up there quietly in the grey matter (or is it the white matter)… it will come to me when it does.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment made me laugh. 🙂 If my life wasn’t full of smart sensible people like you who saw a dump truck in this picture, my hare-brained romanticism would have run me off the rails a long time ago. :). Have to say though: it kinda warms my heart that you took the time to squint.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lol, I squinted because I didn’t want to walk away feeling stupid for not seeing whatever you saw! I still walked away feeling stupid. Good thing my self esteem is high because I rebounded rather quickly.


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