‘Where the shadows run from themselves’

dsc_0274I got back in the slot, the cafeteria salad bar at work, tonged some shredded carrots, spinach, diced beets…made a modest bird’s nest out of it, weighed it, scanned my card, picked a two-top by the windows and started in. Sat a minute or two and then checked my phone. A table of colleagues who seemed to know each other by me talking, chewing, though I couldn’t see their faces or hear what they said. It felt like that, walking through the crowded cafeteria. There wasn’t anyone I knew, but I enjoyed the anonymity of being a contractor. The color of your badge is different so they can tell, when it’s flipped outwards.

Driving in, pulling off the freeway, in the queue turning in to my building, the late February morning sky has some added hope but it’s a long fade, these in between months. Our lawn now, and the chicken coop rooftop, have a layer of hail that looks like snow. The sun rises before 7 and the pink, Maxfield Parrish skies have returned late afternoon, the gloaming. The kids home all week for mid-winter break, the challenge to keep them entertained while Dawn and I work, to keep up with other families doing exotic things, and our kids’ talk track (we were going to go to Portland but then we didn’t, because we couldn’t find a dog sitter and my parents are stressed out about money…so we just went to the movies and ate out every day).

Friday morning now, woke from a dream triggered by my time on the trail a week ago today: some guy with his doberman, I asked is he friendly and the guy said no, absolutely not: and then, you should really have a leash up here, there’s bear and cougar…and I reacted to that, how he talked to me, but swallowed my pride…and in my dream I was bobbing along some country setting, I didn’t even know it was a dream it was so real, and then I realized a cougar was tracking me across the valley, on a river bank, the scale of it kept flickering in and out: it walked in the manner of a cougar (kind of a saunter) with its trunk slung low, all muscle, its eyes cold indifference…and I wondered at the meaning, my family was there though I couldn’t see them, I felt vulnerable…was it some balled-up mix of feelings hard to untangle but embedded in me, wherever dreams live, in the brain folds and muscle…or just the everyday angst and indifference that comes from this isolation?


Post title from the song by the band Cream, “White Room,” 1968.

 

About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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13 Responses to ‘Where the shadows run from themselves’

  1. Ann Scanlon says:

    the contractor’s badge–I remember them from Sbux. They always had a way of alienating people, as if to say, “You’re not likely to be around all that long; why invest time getting to know you?” Sad, really. I’d eat rabbit food and talk to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      I don’t mind it at all, but there is a funny lesser-quality if you’re not careful. I feel like I’ve been eating rabbit food all day! Do they drink beer, rabbits? I’m planning to, soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. dave ply says:

    The title might be from Cream, but for some reason it reminded me of Peter Pan…

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      Good one. Heard that song last night and that line kind of blew my mind, again. Do I sound like an aging hippy?

      Like

      • dave ply says:

        I’m not actually familiar with that tune. I’ve but one Cream CD (Greatest Hits), and it’s not on it.

        Like

      • pinklightsabre says:

        It’s not on it?! Wtf? Have you heard the song? Go play it now! Not a huge Clapton fan but the guitar, all of it, really magic. The wah-wah peddle really sings on that. Now I’ve got to go play it. Hold on…

        Like

  3. walt walker says:

    I like how you tie in the opening with the closing, the unseen family in both situations, and the feeling of being alone or isolated in both, and vulnerable.

    Those times of anonymity are some of my favorite times. Big part of why I like to travel, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Apropos of nothing but the title, Cream reminded me of Traffic, and you used the word gloaming and my brain went, “Roamin’ thru the gloamin’ with 40,000 headmen on my mind …” https://youtu.be/cxWr7aJWkTk

    That’s the brain of an aging hippie, my man!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ksbeth says:

    alone together.

    Liked by 1 person

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