December 14, 2006 - Guyuan, China
The Thousand Shovel Wind
The door swung shut and my shoes played out my steps down the office corridor. A distant CLINK barely filtered up to the second floor over the tap of walking shoes.
Again, a CLINK.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
The ceramic tiles of the stairwell aided another CLINK with a solid but echoing THONK.
Each step towards the outside door, a slowly building off-beat rhythm, a progression of metallic bird-calls flapping through the halls.
Each step towards the door, a rising wave of noise, a march of heavy scratches pounding out a dense code.
KLONK. TING. SCRAPE.
Intent on listening I slowed.
Each step, a symphony of broken bells and clods of metal, a tone-deaf braying of clockwork mules.
SCRITCH. TONK. TONK. CLANG.
My final step, reaching the door and outside steps, brought the glare of winter sun off blinking and twinkling snow.
Eyes still unaccustomed and narrowed saw nothing.
Ears filled not with the still of winter snow fallen, but a grinding cacophony.
Piles of grayish snow came into focus. The flash, drag and flash of a shovel skipping across the pavement, chipping ice and flipping snow. Bare concrete drying in the bright sun and under the feet of a legion of students clearing ice.
The sound of a thousand tiny shovels.
Tumbleweeds... and no comments. How 'bout livening things up?