Reflections of a Telephone Pole | Mark Lindsay

When I was a very young boy, a neighborhood kid used to come to our back door, asking me if I wanted to play with him. He always had a big smile and a runny nose. He was a pleasant kid with a bad habit. He would draw telephone poles in my books. For some reason he was obsessed with them. We'd be playing in my room, I'd get distracted, then turn around to find a book filled with crayon-drawn telephone poles. Hundreds of them.

I was a fussy boy who didn't like my stuff to be tampered with or altered in any way. The telephone poles were very distressing to me. I can remember shedding tears over them. It would have been one thing if my neighbor knew how to draw, but he couldn't. The poles were not good art. I had, for instance, another friend who, several years later, would draw very convincing, fire-breathing dinosaurs on construction paper. I wouldn't have minded one of those inside my books. That never happened, I only got the ugly poles.

I hadn't thought of my friend's telephone poles for many years. A week ago I came across a reflection of a utility pole during a walk along the old railroad tracks near my house. The memories immediately came back. Reflections allow us to look deeper into something, as if we were gazing into a crystal ball. Unexpectedly, I was looking into my past as I stared at the irrigation canal and its inverted telephone pole. I smiled and thought about the angst I'd felt when one of my books was ruined. It seemed so important back then and so very insignificant now. Wishing that I still had one of my other friend's dinosaur drawings, I made a photo and walked on, lost in the memories of a childhood.