Thursday, September 10, 2009

Call & Answer.

I needed it. The weather was far too inviting to turn down two perfect outside nights in a row and the mountains were too far away and too much of a holiday weekend gamble, so I opted for the next best thing, the easier route ... sleeping in my friend’s back yard. He was gracious enough to allow it to take place for the small price of a baby-sized burrito and flat out refused to sleep out on that patio himself, the one with no railings he’d created with his hands the summer before ... but he didn’t need this night like I did. He didn’t hear the call like I did. No matter. I’d lease this space for seven or eight hours on my own.

It teetered on the changing of two seasons, this night, this one that wouldn’t be called hot or cold. A double wide sleeping bag and pillow just above a river, practically hugged on all sides by trees, this was a long, loud serenade belonging to the crickets (never seen, always heard). They, too, put forth the invitation, in something that moved far beyond stereo quality. (Band of Crickets should be a band name somewhere, if it hasn’t already been swiped.) I’d like to have let on that I soaked this night up upon laying down, upon switching off the nearby lantern. The mountains had me for several hours leading up to this, however. There was climbing and sweating and observing the impossibly green leaves it had on proud display, whether we were there to observe it and try to discover the poetry it was sharing, alway sharing ... or not. It just was. It just is. The legs needed this rest and the stomach? It was already trying to hibernate on account of one blessed burrito, also baby-sized. The sleep came fast and the snoring was a given.

There were dreams I fail to remember. There was a hard patio that my back unfortunately does. And there was that moon, so insistent a night light I’d never had, the one that first woke me up long enough to stumble a few steps to the ledge for a four ‘o clock in the AM pee, then attempted to keep me up for a spell after that. I clambered back into my bag all alone, wanting to observe the magnitude of what hung above me, wanting to shake off my sleepiness long enough to stare at this bright light in my ceiling, so far above but seeming so close. I couldn’t. As much as it tried (and it did, so hard, so very hard), I couldn’t be its observer. Not this night. There was work in the morning. There was drifting off I desperately had to attend to.

I woke again in that twilight to a very real presence, a definite presence. My eyes darted around in the darkness as I wanted to match an image with the feeling that had sunk so hard into my skin, the one giving my pulse a surprise kick in the flanks. The crickets still sang, the river still rushed on, never, ever stopping and I thought, maybe, maybe ... there’s somebody underneath this patio. Maybe it’s not a somebody, but a something. Were there raccoons here? Something bigger? The feeling nagged until it eventually let up, but I never got to solve the mystery. I had to chalk it up to those lost dreams and that unusually light sleep.

Now that I think of it ... it was the moon, trying again to get me to consider it. There were stories in that Labor Day moon. I’ll listen harder next time.


Lincoln said...

That was good writing. Very good.

shiner said...

i like band of crickets. in their little jackets...playing faster, louder as their midnight pleas intensify at summer's end...

Dainon. said...

Thanks, Lincoln.

As for Band of Crickets actually existing, it's just a matter of time, I say.