She broke away from the metallic roar, from the river made of asphalt and shiny bits of red and blue and gray, the river that breathed exhaust and waves of heat and only really sounded like a river if you closed your eyes and imagined a tranquil valley full of trees and moving water. This was a river for the imagination, but she traveled through its imaginary body often, merging and branching as was necessary. And on this warm Saturday, after a nearly full day of sun and monetary transactions, she broke away from the near constant flow and began the easy-angled descent into the strictly regimented grids of the city.
The hill down was a gentle slope and she braked anticipating the light that lay 500 feet away. Something flashed white and she saw a snow-white dove coming towards her windshield. It came towards her, making no move to ascend into safety above her. At the last second, when she thought for sure there would be a bright red collision, it turned like a stealth jet fighter and tipped its wings to avoid death. Up and over her car, then it came back towards her, flying just a couple of feet from her open window, as though they were in a race to the finish. And then again, the creature’s wings turned sharply and it rose into the air.
As the car slowed to a stop, she turned her body to watch the flurry of white move through this metal offshoot. This bird was not injured, unable to escape in a moment of shock, this dove played in traffic, lunging at the cars that came from the metal-filled freeway, flying beside them as though they were its equals, mocking their strength that wasn’t earned, but bought.
The light was red and she watched this act with a smile. This was avian revolution. All death is certain and what better death than warping the images of possibility. This could be its last statement, and what a beautiful white shining statement it was. It was chaotic, but not completely out of control. The symbol of peace, the creature of gentle values defied its pure white feathers and earthly symbol and flapped as though there was nothing to fear. No moving cars, no moving tires, no clear windshields that awaited an impact. This road was for play, and perhaps the end would be covered in sticky red and broken glass, but all death is certain.
She watched, smiling with awe. She turned with a smile to the 36 year old Latin man in the blue truck next to her at the light, he looked towards her and she saw a shadow of unease and questioning run briefly across his face. The strangeness of a smiling stranger. She held her smile and turned away, searching for the dove.