Thursday, November 9, 2023


The last roses of autumn

Just as the TV showed the French police officers erupting out of their car to end a frantic chase of a right-wing terrorist trying to blow up housing for immigrants, we heard the wail of a siren in the background adding to the tense moment in the movie. We first thought the sound was bringing more officers coming to help on the screen. It took us a few seconds to realize that the alarm wasn't part of the film's plot but instead was coming from outside in our neighborhood. 

We paused the movie, walked out onto our tiny balcony, and stood searching the air for the source of the siren. A man on the street was getting into his car. The lights inside his car turned dark as he closed the door. The alarm kept going. It wasn't his car alarm shrieking.

We couldn't figure out where the shrill sound was coming from until we saw a group of people moving around in the glassed-in lobby of the apartment complex across the way. Then several people exited the building, not running, but ambling down the stairs. They gathered in groups in the small park nearby. In one third-floor apartment, a man came out onto his balcony with his little dog in his arms and sat down in one of his balcony chairs. The alarm kept wailing. He didn't move.

We didn't see any visible smoke. Finally, we walked back inside, picked up the TV clicker, resumed the movie, and watched the police officers frantically shooing people out of their apartments and out of the building before the bomb went off. The panicked dwellers ran downstairs, streamed out of the building just before the noise of the explosion hit them.

The alarm outside across from us stopped. No fire trucks arrived. False alarm.

Reel/real life in a city.

Beauty when we need it

I have stepped out of my usual stories with this week's post. The coincidence of the movie/real-life incident was so extraordinary to me that I had to share it. I thought of the movie and the police officers responding to an emergency and I thought of real people and how often we discount something that is possibly life-threatening and don't move until we are pushed.

New York Times' Monday edition had a spectacular display of photos from the Webb telescope with interesting commentary about each photo: 

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