It is snowing. I don’t really like that it is snowing in late April but no one said Calgary’s weather was here to please me. I’ll make the most of its splendor and absurdity. I’ll take a picture and post it to Instagram and share the craziness with the world. I get my phone and frame the pine trees covered in Christmasy white. So lovely. The rest of the view from my office window is of houses and an alley. Not exactly ideal landscape focal points.
I notice a truck in the alley that I don’t recognize. Strange, especially since it is only 7am. The passenger door opens and a woman steps out into the snow. She isn’t dressed for the weather. I watch her disappear around the front of the truck. She leaves the passenger door open open.
My mind wanders. I can hear a conversation my neighbour and I had a few days ago “Yeah, a strange vehicle”, “people had some stuff taken from their backyards”, “seems to be on the rise.” I scold myself for letting that conversation colour what I was seeing. But I still watch the shed door that I can see in the yard beside that truck.
Nothing happens at the shed and soon she is coming around the back of the truck. She hops back in and shuts her door. The truck drives away. I return to my desk and write for a while. Time passes. A few hours later I look out the window and see two cop cars pull into the alley. Oh dear.
What has happened? I can’t see why they are there. They are just out of my line of sight. My curiosity gets the best of me and I pull on some jeans and head outside for a “walk”. I sneak a look down the alley. There is another truck in front of their cop cars. It isn’t the one I saw. If it was there earlier, it was blocked from view by the trees and fence of the neighbour’s yard. I round the block in the snow. I am thinking whether I saw anything worth sharing. I wonder if I should bother the police. I berate myself for not paying more attention.
As I come around the last of the block my neighbour is just pulling into his driveway. The cops are directly behind his house. He is the one that I had the conversation a few days earlier.
I say “Hey, looks like we have an alley full of cops.”
He nods, “Yeah, I called them. There’s a truck back there with the ignition punched out.”
“Oh” I say, “I saw another truck this morning and a woman, should I let them know what I saw?”
“Sure, my wife saw the other truck too but no people.” he shares.
I walk up the alley. There is only one cop car there now and the truck I couldn’t see. The cop sees me approaching and rolls his window down. I tell him what I saw.
He asks questions.
"Can I be certain of what I saw?"
"The colour and make of the truck?"
"The colour of her hair?"
"What was she wearing?"
I’m not really sure of anything. Nothing is certain really. I was just looking out my window to get a picture of the snow.
But isn’t that how we go through life? With our own agenda? With our minds busy on our own things? And some of us will witness things. We aren’t prepared. I didn’t know this would be the thing I needed to notice. I didn’t cram for the test. I need to pay more attention, but how will I know to what?
I go back inside and watch the snow.