In a dream I heard the words whispered, “Her essence is so old it no longer recognizes the shadows of life.” I don’t know what it meant but the voice was musical in my sleep but I woke up with a familiar pain. One for which I no longer have a name.
It was the ache of having lived a life uncharted, with no direction, no map. The aimless wandering of a fool searching for any glint of recognition in human or animal. Wild animals are becoming more familiar, trapped in their loneliness, distrustful of anything outside their instincts. My base desires becoming needs.
I no longer live like the others. I understand those mysterious untimely deaths. They are of habits known only to the deceased, leaving everyone living to wonder why. Close relatives believing what danger surrounded their loved one is something that used to be not knowing that the danger is. Always.
Can it be contagious? Does it become an itch to which their is only one scratch?
In the Yukon there is a train that runs through the mountains. How the builders of this railway constructed those hundreds of miles of perfectly parallel lines through rocky, mountainous terrain, is a wonder every bit as spectacular as the views from the cars.
My grandfather loved that trip. We took a boat from Seattle to Alaska and floated around the last frontier. He was all smiles, a grin that covered his teeth but ran ear to ear.
On the train we rode during a day trip, he bought a hat as a souvenir. He wore that hat almost everyday until he went to the hospital for the last time.
I don’t know why I’m thinking about him now but I do know that I often think about him during times when I have a lot on my mind.
All my life I’ve been compared to my grandfather. The same short, stocky build. The same generally mild temperament but with a rare temper.
I think about where I am in life and the things I’ve gone through to get here. Normally I compare them to my grandfathers life and the things he went through.
None of it was remotely the same but somehow we’re similar.
The question I have for myself now is what am I thinking about that has me going through this exercise.
Maybe there is no reason. Maybe it’s year seven and all my cells have completely changed, I’m a different person. Maybe it’s just bed time.
Whatever reason, I know I’m thinking about my grandpa, wearing that velcro strap hat with “Alaska” written on the crown of the cap and he’s smiling.