I’m late. It’s in my genes, to be late. Some things never change. Some things always change, even when they stay the same.
I was laid back in my gravity chair, the milky way a comfortable blanket with the snap, pop and crackle of my fire at my feet. I searched the heavens, looking for nothing. Looking for everything. Searching for something I knew I would never find.
Bullfrogs throated deep luscious croaks from the water’s edge, a mosquito feasted, and the heat of the fire licked at my bare feet.
Lazily grasped in the cusp of my hand, a medallion tethered around my neck. Strange, hardened and full of symbols, the gold harkened to an old scrap of paper that sat in my lap. Both full of mysterious origins and unknown meanings.
Together, the aged paper and the old medallion meant something, perhaps pointing to answers I have been looking for, perhaps they were meant to lead me astray. Perhaps they were meaningless. Perhaps, God himself was having fun.
A breeze swept across my parcel of land, setting the sumac and birches to sway, the fire licked a bit closer to bare skin. Across the way, I watched a large dark, foreboding mass exit from the tree line.
I watched. The bear hesitated. A deer, full velvet rack emerged, and silently came my way. The bear, huffed behind.
I took in the power of nature without the realization that I was, always had been part of that power. If there’s a lesson civilized, and intelligent souls need to learn, is that our civilized ways, and learned beliefs don’t separate our lives from the power of nature. Those things might diminish our natural relationships, but they do not cleave us from who we are, who we were.
So ingrained with the fascination of new company, I didn’t bother to bring my old tattered gravity chair to a setting position until both deer and bear had made their way to my fire. The deer, wet and rank, sought me out as I lie under the great blanket, his moist nostrils taking in the smell of my feet, up my flannels, to my waist. He turned his head momentarily when he caught a breath of cheap tequila and golden beer, and then nudged his warm face against mine, lying with mine, becoming a part of my existence for a moment, and then in the second of time, bounded off into the woods behind.
The bear made no such gestures of introduction. Awkwardly watching its companion, that animal remained behind the fire, and now that the four-legged creature was gone, the bear raised up, thrusting its large dark body to the sky, obliterating the milky way.
And with a large, deep throated grumble that turned to a rumbling growl, the animal tore the beautiful night asunder. Releasing the night sky back to my fire smoked eyes, I heard the bear behind me, chasing it’s strange friend into the night with low huffs and grunts matching the sound of huge paws sinking into the hard soft grass.
I wondered. A thread, less, a wisp, of cloud threaded the stars. A shooting star from the south, overhead to the north, dissolved. A plane traversing the boundaries.
A crack of thunder! I reeled, realizing the night was fading. Not into day, but into a starless night, a cloud fueled rage of water and wind. The transition was abrupt, as if I had nodded off. My fire raged larger as if I had fed the flames to protect me form the cold wet reality. I know longer bothered to question the sense of reality as I lie back, my face pelted by rain, my body rocked with the wind, where overhead the sumac, birches and maples rocked.
I barely saw her wave from across the way, but she was there. Tall, slender, naked and blond with her large almond eyes. A dream I could have easily thought as I moved from one world to the next.
The first morning sun took me in amazement as I struggled out of the chair amidst the embers of a fire that had seen better days. Cool and crisp, the air had a moist feel, a wet smell, yet dryness permeated everywhere. I managed to stand up, over the dead fire, and noticed the prints in the fireburnt sand around the fire pit.
I smiled. Some dreams are more than others. I turned to my old, weather beaten camper, and became transfixed.
Some daring thief arrived in the black night and with a wide brush, laid waste to my little home in brightly hued colors of glyphs, symbols and maps. I smiled, walked once around the perimeter taking it all in, then walked inside and made a pot of coffee.