The air conditioner cycles on, and its cool draft is like that which flowed from the opened doors of the refrigerators at Leo's Market where we stopped to buy cold drinks. Across the boulevard and behind the row of ratty motels and auto salvage yards lining it, the trains ran, great rumbling diesel engines straining with weighted boxcars full of goods from the factories and packing plants of Los Angeles. I stood on the market's covered porch and watched the names roll by; Frisco, Southern Pacific, Great Northern, D&RG, Western Pacific, Pennsylvania, Norfolk & Western . . . . There were birds perched on the telephone lines like notes of music on a page.
The air conditioner cycles off, and the sound of the train engine stops abruptly, the rumble of traffic is gone, the birds of memory scatter in a flutter of real wings, and I see through my window an acorn woodpecker on a mulberry twig still bobbing from the force of his landing. The white clouds are yellowing toward the evening of spring's final day. The still air of the quiet room grows warm again. I wonder where it will drag me this time?