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A new bird in my window
awed by ingenuity upon the arrival of a crane
The other day, I heard some horns, sirens and other noises that I assumed were not directed at me, so I ignored them.
After things had quieted down, I was shocked to see a giant metallic tower appear outside my window that was not there when I had looked out moments earlier.
It was in motion, growing, extending and unfolding a massive apparatus from atop its turquoise pillar of existence.
It was becoming a crane. I had seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, usually yellow with flashing red lights, in my lifetime. But I had never seen one be born.
What was at first a leg extending down to the ground unfolded to reveal itself as an arm, stoically extending from the peak of the tower out further than the full length of its foundation.
I always imagined these things took days, weeks to construct, but this particular one managed to come into being within mere hours. And it was quickly put to work.
The task at hand appeared to be lifting bags of heavy things from behind a building being constructed and bringing them up and over to this side. I watched the cargo swing in the air as it was pulled across, floating in the breeze as if it were no more of a burden than a few sacks of groceries.
This is how we build, this human ingenuity, not only the modern residential complex receiving its finishing touches, but the tools used to facilitate the construction. And the tools used to make those tools.
I live on the consumer end, the far, far flung reaches where everything is bought and sold ready for use, dollars and cents. It’s not just that I don’t know the animals and plants I eat or where they are raised, I don’t know where the materials to make my laptop come from or how they are put together. From what I do know, there are at least eighty countries and thousands of people involved in creating the machine I’m typing this post on. I wonder how many people, countries, blood, sweat and tears to build the wires, lines across the bottoms of oceans, data centers and antennas to get these letters to you.
I’m hands off from the machinery. I haven’t even seen the barge that the crane is unloading from behind the new apartment building. It’s easy to take it all for granted from my perspective.
The next day, after returning from a walk, I looked out my window and the crane was gone. Vanished into thin air. How did that happen so quickly? Had I only been imagining it? No, I have photographic evidence.
And then its extended arm swung into view, rotating from a new location. It moved. The base was in a new place. How did it manage to do that? So quickly and quietly sneaking into its new position. It’s all magic to me.