Points In Between

Morning. Scattered. Unsettled. This day. Reserved for special thoughts and natural reflections. Moments and times and progressions. Roads traveled and roads forgone. Revealing themselves in distant clarity. Standing far enough away to get the full effect...or at least to cushion the impact of a wayward revelation. You know the feeling all too well -- the cold hand of a passed stranger gripping the back of your shoulder...turning to find only emptiness.

Take your seat. Start the show.

A young man journeys through the lost hours in a city he has temporarily claimed as his own. A few souls drift on the edges of his perception, scattering with drawn attention. Wandering through the Zone -- all boundaries laid bare...all the forces of influence keeping an easy distance. He moves freely with scarce thought to destinations. He feels a lightness in his shoes and in his heart. He wouldn't call it happiness. But you might.

Following along. Down a madman's path toward the waterfront. Taking streets that lead nowhere, if only to pass beneath the wondrous glow of a 19th century street lamp. He does not linger at its base or dance around its luminous perimeter. He simply moves through its light and continues on. As so many have done before.

Listening. He knows he is approaching before any obvious landmark can offer simple assurance. The sea-lions sleeping on the docks. Well, not all sleeping. Some are up and about. Bellowing into the dark bay, their pre-dawn barking echoes through the structures like an old friend calling your name from across the barren canyon of time. Drawing you to their location -- or as close as you can safely get. Taking a seat on the bench of an adjacent dock. Leaning back to see the stars and search for the first traces of light...hearing the waves crash into shore. Just another audience member catching the last set from this grand ensemble. Comforted by the thought of tomorrow. Knowing they'll be back. They've got a regular gig. But nothing lasts forever.

Maybe nothing lasts at all. Maybe everything changes. From instant to instant. And we're just too slow and stubborn to pay attention.

Either way...

The tender bones of the new day begin to crack. Trucks are arriving, dimming their headlights as a flurry of aging fishermen go through the ritual motions of well established routines. Carrying bundles, buttoning jackets, shouting words and phrases that do not exist inland -- all accompanied by a generous collection of profanity. Best to give them their space. Too many sharp objects and bitter sentiments. Wait until the breakfast truck arrives -- its shiny steel hull glimmering in the hushed sea air -- and make your break to the north as the tattooed arms rush toward the smell of coffee and sweet rolls, searching pockets for loose change and small bills. A long day well under way.

The young man climbs the paved walkway into the cliffs that overlook the ocean. Reaching the top as the sun peaks over the horizon. Stretching arms. Lifting up for all to see. Yawning into all that exists. Raising a voice for all mankind. Letting go. As the years wash up on the beach. Waiting to be claimed upon his descent. With the patience of a summer sky.

Images repeat themselves on an endless and growing loop. Over and under exposed. Fading at the edges. Their definition becoming less and less clear. The dark recesses, the spaces between, the murky background -- all commanding more and more terrain.

The mysterious narrow side streets of Chinatown. The smoky grogginess of a corner coffee shop. The sketchy hallways of a midtown hotel. Words scrawled on the sides of buildings. Messages for anybody who happens to be looking. A carelessly tossed handbill in the back room of a dimly lit saloon. Two bit reminders of brilliant groundbreakers. The enduring profile of a girl at the jukebox, making a selection that will resonate through all tomorrows. A gentle smile. An awkward laugh. An overlooked discovery. The embrace of a dearly loved person.

These...and many others.

Stopping briefly to gather bearings. Setting off in all directions.

~ ~ ~

Return to the Fold

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