Full sunshine, full leaves. Leafy trees square up shadows across the back lawn, ripe with weeds. Bees visit the slumping dandelions. Sunshine jumps into the open spaces.
It’s a lazy morning for me and the cats. Done eating, they wash up and chat up birds, twisting heads to regard a squirrel’s noisy trespassing, resuming their grooming after the squirrel takes his business away. I tend a cup of coffee, sneaking hot sips past my lips, waiting for the caffeine’s magic to jump into the blood and brain.
It’s Saturday, May 21, 2022. Had blood tests done yesterday, routine matters to see what’s what, mentioned because I was asked to sign my name and date a document. The neurons were instantly amused; how long has it been since I was asked to do these things that were once daily routines?
Sunrise was sprung on us at 5:44 AM, I’m told. I didn’t witness it, staying in bed at that point to wrestle dreams. Sunset will come around at 8:31 PM. We had a cool morning, 50 F when the cats and I went out back, but sunshine was rapidly warming it. The weather masters say that the high will be 73 F. I will do yardwork, I decide, regarding the bushes and trees.
Later, inside, awaiting the caffeine’s arrival, I surfed the net and hummed a song. For some reason, the neurons had dumped “New York State of Mind” (1976) by Billy Joel into the morning mental music stream. “Surprise,” they shouted, when I recognize the song. “But why?” I asked them. “Why that song?”
One volunteered, “It’s a slow, bluesy, sleepy song about routine moments and found-again places.”
The neurons shrugged. “It just feels like the morning.”
Stay positive, test negative. The caffeine is pulling into the station. Brain cells are climbing aboard. Here we go. Cheers
We were going into another country on a commercial aircraft. A warning was issued to us before we boarded: it’d be a crazy landing, with a steep approach. We were all military, dressed in drab olive-green flight suits or green and brown woodland camouflage uniforms. It was a packed aircraft. We were going in as part of a disaster recovery mission.
We were on the aircraft and notified that the descent was beginning. The aircraft abruptly corkscrewed right and down, throwing us around in our seats. It suddenly flattened out. As people commented on the unusual and steep approach, we hit the ground and bounced hard. Rain had slicked the ground outside. We slid off the runway and across wet pavement before slamming the left side, where I sat, by a window, into a building.
I expected explosions or wreckage, but the aircraft continued forward, sliding along with its left side against the building. I saw a dead man fall out of a doorway and then we rocked to a halt. As we filed out of the aircraft, a number of people talked about the landing but always with the proviso, “Well, at least no one was hurt.” I was contrarian. “What about the people in the buildings? I saw at least one dead guy.” As I looked for him, I thought that he may have already been dead before we landed, as he looked stiff and bloodless.
Carrying bags, we went up into a building and were assigned rooms. I was given A233. While others were clustered around the same area, looking at the numbers, I realized that mine was far away. Grabbing my bags, I said, “I know exactly where it’s at,” and went down a hall and directly to my room. Dropping my bags off, I returned to the central office where we would be setting up.
Personnel were crowded into the room. A lieutenant colonel was walking around, speaking as he did, and was clearly drunk. He said, “I think we need a fire.” He then set pieces of paper on fire and put them on my desk. As this was transpiring, I said, “Sir, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to start a fire in here, especially on my desk.” I headed up there as I spoke, simultaneously looking for somewhere to put the fire, something to put it out with, and reaching it from the officer and the desk.