Monday, December 29, 2003

Inside you there lives a woodpecker, diligent and dutiful. Also in there is a Rainbow Plover, desirous of wonder. Science does not really know why we must sleep. They only can say with certainty we do. I know, however. We sleep to release the Rainbow Plover. You may say, but there is no such animal as a Rainbow Plover, and I answer, but that's exactly the point. - from Birdbrain; Woesong


It’s break time on campus. The curriculum is career-oriented yet playful and outdoors, like Park Ranger school. There are stoonts in an auto, and I’m standing near the driver side. I know stuff.

There are intricate personal interplays among the various personalities, staff and stoont. I know, like the camera in a movie knows. I say to the auto, “You think you know what happens, but you don’t. Not yet.”

The driver speaks to me. She shows interest. I cannot make out what she says. The window is up. I have much knowledge to share, but only if they are interested. I’m like the omniscient narrator just waiting for his chance. The driver speaks for them all. Oh, yes, yes, please tell us.

I am adjusting the idle on our mailbox. It’s just an ordinary tin affair with a number on it. I fashion a blade as a screwdriver. The only adjustment is how high it runs when it isn’t working. It is a delicate operation. I listen. Maybe 1,900 RPM? I want it not to die when it’s hot. I have no idea now, and did not then, why a mailbox needs a gasoline engine, but I was proud of being able to adjust the idle on ours.

But I walk out in the country lane, which is our neighborhood but unlike any I have ever lived in, and I notice a redwood down. It is down in consecutive sections, as if a neighbor had already been there with a chainsaw. Giant trunk cut up like sausage, lying in the road, right at both shoulders, allowing just a bit of roadway between.

But insufficient for a mail wagon. I must drag the deadwood away. I see one neighbor approach with a ladder, dragging in the dust ahead of him somehow. Oh, he means to haul the lumber with that, I figure.

I must jump to it. For what’s the use of adjusting the idle on your mailbox if the mail truck cannot pass through the lane before your house? It’s a real problem.

I must change my clothes, of course. I need shorts. I retreat into the house and up the stairs (none of it of course jibes with waketim) after a pair of shorts. I am set upon shorts come waketim.

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