Sunday, June 10, 2007

Burnt Offerings

The other morning the Flat Space was pretty quiet - just Big Smiling Man and Territorial Guy and the lean German dog-walker who calls across 'Hello Ireland!' when he sees me.

A little car pulled up, and a little old man got out slowly. He was in fawn and green, and hunched over. I had seen him a couple of times before: making his way up to the Cristo Rei statue slowly and painfully, one careful step at a time. Somewhere along the way he came to be called Turtle Man.

Anyhoo, my pad-padding around that morning coincided with him getting out of the car. We said good morning, and I saw that he held a night light cupped in the palm of his hand. The atmosphere was suddenly transformed. The rest of us were loitering as guards or jogging or striding along with a dog, but his purpose was somehow sacred.

He set off on the steep path, slowly picking his way between pizza boxes and condoms, holding his candle before him.

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