The Era Dream

It was another military dream. Multitudes of military members were there. Almost all were Air Force members, as I had been. I knew many of them, but not all.

Some Army personnel and people from the other armed forces were in the group. They were very few. We were all attired in service-dress uniforms. My wife was with me, and my friends had their wives and children present. I realized it was a mass celebration.

It was in a huge, haphazard building with multiple levels. Some levels were connected by ladders. Others used stairs or elevators. Some of it was outside, or had rooms that were open to the outside.

Some people shunned me or were antagonistic, but others acknowledged and defended me. The first group disappointed me, and was the larger group, but the second group pleased me.

I didn’t stay with either group, though. With my wife holding my hand, I went up and down the ladders and stairs, passing between levels on my own. I said hello to friends, and some returned the greeting. As I did this movement and talked to others, I began understanding, this was a gigantic retirement gathering. With that, I saw a setting sun and realized, an era was ending.

Then I awoke and thought of the dream with sadness. A part of me reflected, the past is gone.

We’re going forward.

Then Again

I didn’t know what I was going to write today. I knew I had a scene in progress. In theory, there was another scene ahead. With it in mind, I was puzzling around what do I write today to get there, and considered just jumping ahead to write that scene.

That didn’t feel right to my instincts, though, so I sat down, and started typing from where the last sentence left off. Once again, I went off in an unanticipated, unexpected direction. When, twenty pages later, I finished the scene and stopped, I was pleased and touched by what had happened. It was so in character with the series and novel in progress. I hadn’t planned it; the characters and muse seemed in control. Intellectually, I know, it must be me, right? I’m the one with the brain behind the skull and fingers on the keyboard, but the writing had that dreamlike flow, as if I was a pipe and it was just being pumped through me.

It’s unnerving, honestly, because I wonder if I’m not a little crazy. (Okay, I concede that I’m a little crazy; I suppose what’s in question is how crazy I might be.) I like what I wrote, and I worry that others won’t like it. Then again, I don’t care. Some readers won’t; some readers will. The words are out there as part of the record, subject to the editing and revising processes just like everything else.

Now — amazing, I’ve been here for over two and half hours. My rear end is in pain from sitting. I still have coffee in that twelve ounce mug. An oily film covers the coffee’s cold surface.

Time to drink up, mask up, and call it done for another day of writing like crazy.

The Smoke

It’s a new habit. Reaching the corner where my street meets Siskiyou, I look left.

Although there’s a soft, steady down slope, it’s a straight shot into downtown Ashland. I know that two miles away is the Ashland Springs Hotel’s yellow building. I can’t see it today. I can see the first traffic light, at Walker. That’s just under a mile away. With today’s smoke, the prevailing visibility is about a mile away, as it has been for the last three days.

Fires ring our valley, sending smoke into it. Most of the fires started on July 15 when lightning strikes lit the dry brush and trees.

Although it’s the third year that I’ve been forced to do this, I’m not used to wearing a mask to walk around. We used to do it in the military as part of our war games, during simulated attacks. They were never fun. Neither is this.

Thoughts about the fire’s causes are inevitable, as are hopes and worries for the other people driven from their homes by the fires, and fears for the animals, and concern for the land. Thoughts about the firefighters out there fighting the fires on our behalf arise, along with thoughts of thanks.

Containment is the word of the month, followed closely by conflagration. When will the fires be contained? The closest, the Hendrix Fire, isn’t that large, just one thousand plus acres. Nine miles away, it’s thirty percent contained, but it’s not the fire delivering most of this smoke. That’s an accumulation from all the fires to the north and west.

What’s striking is how the smoke changes Ashland’s character. Outdoor events are canceled, curtailed, or moved indoor, if possible. There are fewer hikers and walkers, because part of the Pacific Coast Trail is also closed. Cyclists, usually so common, are rarely seen. With the diminished visibility, we can’t see the mountains. Ashland could be a plain town, or one on the seashore.

You’d never know it, with this smoke.



Floofherent (catfinition) – cat logic (also sometimes applied to dogs).

In use: “By  the pet’s floofherent process, it made complete sense that when food was put on the table, some of it belonged to her as well as the people. After all, wasn’t she a part of the family?”

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