Sunday, April 9, 2017


The signs went up. The lone Doug Fir would have protested the pounding of staples into his deeply creviced skin, but they don't listen to the protest songs of trees. Too long deafened. Too bad. He -- the Doug Fir -- watched the woman crossing the asphalt parking lot. He'd gotten very used to her company these few weeks. His thick limbs were a stout and protective roof for any who stood beside him. The woman often leaned against him when the rains came. The Doug Fir was glad for her presence, but what he did not do was read. The pounded staples secured runes that read NO LOITERING. The woman reads. What the Doug Fir could not read, she could.

In ordinary times the walk would have taken him no more than a few minutes, twenty at the most, but not today. "If we had a sturdy cart I could carry you forward to your chosen destination. It would be a feat suitable to a beast as willing as I." The donkey was looking straight at Alex and his speech was a clear and audible delivery as conversation between two neighbors over a fence. The donkey waited for Alex to return the volley.

"A sturdy cart is it?" The man was soft in his reply, not quite sure of his place in things. The drizzle had turned new epic, common for Salish, but inconvenient now as the old man figured the dream was done with him. Wasn't it? The donkey and the herd of sheep with whom he shared the large gentle slope of land were familiar. What was different was the question. I suppose with the tightening loop of generosity going on in his town, Animals were picking up the slack.

Paying closer attention now, Alex Santiago followed the stretch of the donkey's head. "That cart would not be my definition of sturdy my friend." The former welder and man with fixity at his core muffled a laugh. The wooden cart was no more than a wheel barrow with slates of weather worn cedar not unlike the barn wood on his former welding shop.

"Wouldn't take but a little concentrated effort with a few well-chosen tools to turn that cart stout and sturdy again." The donkey had a point, the wheels looked to be fit, metal though rusty they were not rusted through. Alex closed the gap between them.

"You know, Donkey," Alex addressed him as a proper noun. "I am on my way ... on my way to my further destiny."

"You are on your way to that cafe, hopeful you will find the ending to your dream. A dream come true. Am I right?" Young lambs one black, two white romped toward the old donkey. They were new to the world and eager to know it all, all at once. The donkey nudged them, "Get along with you now. Can't you see I have business tending here?" The lambs took no offense and continued in their explorations.

When Alex did not answer, Donkey gentled in his approach. "I know you were not loitering, but your pace was odd and whether you are aware of it, or not, you have worn a path a corkscrew spiral there. Some would call that an example of Spiral Jetty."

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