It was a beautiful morning. The crisp autumn air whispered into the last weekend of summer, and in the hills of the valley, James woke up, this time not too early, not too late. He walked through the small apartment that was lit not quite by dawn, not quite by night, but somewhere balanced in-between. In the morning silences, he carefully walked throughout his daily chores, enwrapped in the quiet promise of a new day. The sound of the coffee maker, the wind through the trees, the echoes of memory, from memory, to the beckoning of a season to come, tempered with hope tinged with anxiety, dream against fear, gentleness within the opening air. He walked to the window.
It wasn’t necessary, but he opened the screen door leading out into the forest, slightly, a small sliver of an opening, letting the cool air into the room, with a gentle fan pulling invisible air, as all air is, into the world around the objects and in between the objects, in all their spaces, each one like a memory of a solid object, a colour, a shape, a line, a space. “I can see this,” James thought. But it was all in his imagination. As we all know when the air is clear it can’t be seen. Do we all know? Did James? “I don’t know,” said James, almost as he could hear the percussion of the keys. dropping and clicking with a kind of softness, not an echo, but more like language, a conversation, the glyphs into words.
After a while she had woken up, placing bowls of water for the cats, the sound of joyful laughter. With each rising and falling of her voice, James smiled, into a gentle peace. Then the time.
“I’ve got to head out,” he said to her. She said something back. It was, like most moments with her, tender and beautiful, against the backdrop of music James had never heard before. It was always this way. James was happy, he stepped out into the morning, up the stairs, and up into the streetway. He was in a forest. That’s how their world was most days. when they were at home. Through the winding roads of the hillside, more like a mountain than not, James drove his small car, covered in dust from barely being used.
Entering into the steadiness of ground in the valley, James found an open space in the parking lot, parked the car and moved toward the field, He had a small map telling him where to go, James thought, looking into at the small mainframe computer that was his phone. Once he arrived to the edge of the baseball field, because it was a baseball field, and that’s where the town picnic was, James quickly found where he was supposed to be: one of the small booths on the edge of the field, and James looked around the far distances of the outer field edge. There were at least tens of booths around, each dedicated to something, but James wouldn’t even know exactly what. He was working, and he didn’t have time to venture out into the distances. He was firmly planted in the ground.
There was a large painting by an unknown artist behind them. The wind hit like waves, at times calm, but imperceptibly, rising, uncontrollably, he never know when, or why, but was always watching for. Not for a level of distraction, but calm, steady listening. James’ only job was to hold the canvas back from the rising winds so that it didn’t fall over. If James left his seat, the entire booth would be destroyed, and that couldn’t happen. Their booth (there were five of them) only existed to point the way toward the end of the California drought. That was the job, but in between the moments of action, they all talked, and there wasn’t a single subject that was ignored. Each conversation was a book, not restless, not calm, but a portal like a diamond, of the mind, of the heart, of the spirit, as they talked about the local politics, the possibility of future worlds, the balance of things as they are, the edges of consciousness. And in their view, out into the open field, was, as one of them said, life. And like life, moments in the booth were not easy, there was fear there, and they met each moment with an open heart, a cry like a question, the hope against fear. Five hours went by..
Suddenly, it was time to go. The crowds were running thin, the band had packed up, the games were over. There was a silence over the baseball field, the only sound the impossible shape of light. Only days ago James was almost killed. He forgot that in the afternoon. He tightened the baseball cap around his head, almost inseparable now from him. Sometimes he felt different, too different, indifferent, without it. He was given some food. He was grateful.
Walking back to the car seemed like a year. James scanned the environment constantly. The sound of birds was gone. All was gone, and James found his car quickly. Surprised that he did, he started the car, and within minutes had travelled up the mountain and back to the apartment. She was somewhere else. It was quiet, the air was cool, and James still listened for every change of sound. But all he heard this time were the sounds of his own footsteps, the turn of the handle, the sound of objects, the impossible sounds of peace. In the kitchen came a quick motion of metal against metal, water and steam, pressure and rumbling sounds, into the quiet space; and that was what making coffee was like. James listened to every moment as if a symphony, which, in a sense, it was.
It was a beautiful afternoon. The crisp autumn air whispered into the last weekend of summer, and in the hills of the valley, James woke up, this time not too early, not too late. He walked through the small apartment that was lit not quite by day, not quite by night, but, somewhere, balanced in-between. In the morning silences, he carefully walked throughout his daily chores, enwrapped in the quiet promise of a new day. The sound of the coffee maker, the wind through the trees, the echoes of memory, from memory to the beckoning of a season to come, tempered with hope tinged with anxiety, dream against fear, gentleness within the opening air. He walked to the window. The air was clear. He could see for miles, within and without, and somewhere in-between.