a note to a friend…


2:12 am

My alarm went off an hour early this morning.

Son, sick, body warm in bed next to me, oblivious to the alarm.  Other son, tending angry when awakened early, with all the fury of a 2-year-old body, asleep farther over.    So in the fog of high-REM activity and the underwater drowse of this circadian period, my math bad, I quickly silenced the alarm and got up, thinking it was time.

My whole life I’ve listened to the not quite-original broadcasts of alternate futures that were supposed to have come and gone by the year 2015 from the perspectives of Wellesian dramas broadcast 75 years ago (radio waves cast out from platinum-tinted towers into the twinkling stratos and forgotten, echoing and dissipating, lost into the blackness – amazing I could still hear them crackling through some other darkness as a child 25 years ago).  And later, awakened by the boots of drill instructors to raise us from the dirt and load in the blackness on helicopters for some imaginary evil sweeping through still some different darkness with weapons that weren’t quite the ion-charged plasma cannons predicted.  Those darknesses still linger, rebroadcasting themselves in my dreams, hazy now with memory and some kind of nostalgia (nostalgia – nosisknowledge – what do I know??).  Hazy now with half-dreamt realities demanding action from a sleep-torpid body.

And so I rise an hour early and slightly off-kilter.  And drive an hour through the empty blackness of this north country and come, eventually, to the town that is the half-way point to my destination.  And there, where I’ve never noticed it, is a clock tower above the Lutheran church, lit in the exact color of a summer moon.  And that summer moon, electric, seems strange above this early winter landscape with its garlands and Christmas lights.  And  the garlands and Christmas lights, too, seem strange without a soul on the street or a single pile of snow on the sidewalks.  Like all of this is a forgotten scene that has been stashed in some god’s cellar, waiting to be pulled out for the next joyous season that will never quite come and I am the only one left alive to witness all of it.  And in the fog of this underwater drowse of this circadian period, I wonder if maybe I am the last man on earth and maybe the electrons just flow through the strung red-green-blue-and-yellow strands due to the curve of the wires around this earth and its quickly-changing magnetic field.

I drive on to the plant (that is still supposed to be producing power), but maybe the control room is empty now and I will be the only one left to tend the reactors as they coast down to zero power and the lake will roar against an empty shore and the livestock in the adjacent fields will either starve when the feed runs out or die of infected mastitis from unmilked utters.  And I myself am just a dream cast out from some platinum-tinted tower, to echo and dissipate into the impenetrable and unbroken blackness that roars above.

from the collection of: d. heidel