Waiting for Light

 "I saw a light" is a phrase I seem to say often these days.

Perhaps because my eyes are growing tired I notice lights. Lights of all kinds whether they occur naturally like the sun and the stars or not. Torch light, candle light or the light of wit and facility burning in human eyes.

Or traffic lights. 

I have not been long familiar with traffic lights and I was drawn to a set at an intersection near my house.

 I sat on a footpath nearby and watched them as they conducted people who stopped and turned like dogs bid by Pavlovian signals. Their display of power was charismatic and I was induced to continue watching. Every day I studied them. I did not obey them. I did not move. Gradually I became impatient with the docile obedience of traffic. When the lights were red I called out, "Go! Liberate yourselves from this tyranny!" They didn't go. They were too conditioned.

Eventually I was caught up by the flow and rhythm like a member of an audience at a recital. A concerto for lights and vehicle. Occasionally a heavy truck missed a beat.

Green, amber and red. They never altered. Green, amber and red they flashed. Over and over. Endlessly. I began to think if I watched for long enough and looked closely enough the sequence of colours might change.

One day I set up a card table and chair on the apron of a service station driveway. I took a thermos of coffee.

"What are you doing?" asked a pedestrian.

"I'm waiting for the lights to change," I replied.

"You haven't got long to wait, then," he commented good-naturedly.

"Oh, I've got all the time in the world," I said.

I sat there for days. They didn't change. Always I saw green first then amber and red. At night they were so bright. They assaulted me. Mocked me with their predictability. They must change when I am sleeping, I thought.

Once the lights failed and drivers were confused and uncertain. They abused each other and were lost without direction.
Sitting there, I became a curiosity and an object of ridicule for the passing parade. The garage owner wanted me to leave
"I am conducting a survey for a thesis," I lied.

He was happy, then. He couldn't see the difference between the clear light of truth and reason and the dull gleam of falsehood and subterfuge.

Near the end I became despondent. I feared I was a victim of self delusion and trickery.

Then a truck hurtled close by and the wind blew my thermos to the ground. I looked away briefly as I reached down to retrieve it and when I lifted my head I saw the lights had changed. I felt enormous excitement and overwhelming satisfaction.

They shone brighter and more commanding than ever.

Now amber was first then red and green was last.

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