Three small children play in a public park sandbox under a cedar tree. The smallest of them is digging a hole with a stick, eschewing the nearby yellow plastic shovel. Two women sit on an adjacent bench. One of them wears a large-brimmed hat.
In an overgrown lot, thick with waist-high weeds, a large white cat observes several crows pecking at something on the ground. Its tail flicks frenetically from side to side.
Mt Fuji flashes into view, framed between apartment towers and above a shopping street.
A man wades in a river, his fishing line trailing downstream. A black Shiba dog waits on the shore, chewing intently on its paw while lying next to a folding stool and a blue backpack.
All of them disappear from view just as quickly as they appeared.
Looking out the window of a train from an elevated track, you can briefly glimpse many unfolding scenes. And the more closely you pay attention, the more you can see.
Situations in streets, schoolyards, parks, and parking lots. Domestic scenes observed through apartment windows. Views into the lives of people, animals, and empty places.
I often wish I could take pictures of these scenes, or somehow freeze what I’m seeing, so that I could observe them more closely, take in more details. Even an additional five seconds could yield so much greater depth of understanding and appreciation.
It is possible, though, that something of the experience would be lost, were these glimpses not so fleeting. It’s possible that, by seeing more, we might end up appreciating them less. They are special specifically because of their brevity.