Monday, July 27, 2009

Rising Temperatures

It was a long day out there, on the hot streets with hurt, angry people.... victims of accidents or attacks. My job is rougher in the heat, people's tempers rise with the mercury. A hot day like today out there always leads me back here.... to this cool sacred space and place on the shores of Port Gamble Bay.

This is a wild place. In a natural kind of way.
We have a small cluster of hermit like neighbors. We are all surrounded by trees on a circular road along a remote beach. We're the very last house on the edge of the beach.
There are twenty acres of forest and wetlands to the right of us. And a bay with oysters, crabs, clams and a sand spit that runs just shy of a mile.

At low tide, you might be able to walk across to a far shore, but it's not likely you will survive because you will be sucked under the mud as one of our dogs was... only her head exposed... when the high tide came rushing in and threatened to drown her.

It took my soldier husband with a dislocated shoulder to shimmy out on a tree branch and haul them both back to safety. They were covered in mud from head to toe and literally crawled to my car where I found them on a dirt road. It was Apocalypse now, then.

When the sun finally descends around here after long summer days (it gets dark around 10:00), it gets so dark, you don't venture far without a flashlight. There are howls in the woods, screeches of the skin-curling variety, gunshots or fire crackers every now and then. There is also a great deep darkness speckled by a sea of stars the likes of which I have never seen elsewhere.

Last night, about 3:00 am. I took the dogs out just outside the sliding doors that lead to the beach.

There was a low growl and a deep rustle to our right. The dogs and I responded exactly the same primal way -- we jumped, turned, stared into the darkness, then froze for a sequential beat before we retreated, mas rapido, into the sanctuary of our little beach house with the fire I lit earlier waiting for us.

Tonight we are all quiet and calm.
I, one of the natives, remains restless while everyone else sleeps soundly.

I am thinking of the 41 year old man I saw for the first time hours earlier, while the sun was still high. He had a machine breathing for him in intensive care. He was in a coma, surrounded by his stunned family -- two teenage sons and a younger daughter. Plus a wife. And two parents.

They live in Rochester WA, hours from Seattle. He was one more motorcyclist not granted the right of way he deserved. He ended up under a semi.

I did my interview with his wife in the family's waiting room at the hospital.
Then when I returned to his room to take photos, I realized... between his coma, brain injury, broken bones and loss of wages as the family's soul bread-winner... the family may lose their house and the life as they know it forever.
They have no auto insurance -- and because they don't, they will get no lost wages until the case settles or ends after trial.

As I said my good-byes, the numb wife thanked me for coming out to see them.
I thanked her for her trust and told her how sorry I was for her, her husband, her children.
She politely asked me where I live.

I considered telling her of the fairytale place I found so late in life where time seems to stand still.
I think better of that though, knowing her fairytale has now become a nightmare she hasn't even even begun to imagine.
I tell her I live a ways north and west. I noticed she wasn't listening.

I grew up on Aesop's fables. He always closed his story with a lesson or moral.
Mine is a bit too blunt for Aesop.

There's a reason why ER Doctors call motorcyclists kidney donors.
People either don't see them coming or deliberately hit them.

The worse the economy gets, the more people are turning to scooters and motorcycles.
So tomorrow, be kind to your local biker. He's some one's, brother, son, father, or friend ...who deserves a second glance.

No comments:

Post a Comment