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Purgatory - Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019
Monday, Jun. 04, 2012 @ 9:05 pm
Day 1, Again
The plane lifts from the runway, and in that moment the earth gains the new vertical dimension of flying. I look down on the dense sprawl of the city. Beside me is an elder, his pony tail long and streaked with grey, his nose hooked with age, his hands worn from work, his cowboy hat pushed gently under the seat in front of him.
We get the full tour today, eh? I say, as the plane swings around to head North.
At the airport I find a woman who wants to share a taxi. Small town perks. Turns out we know some people in common. More small town perks. We taxi to her house, and then she drives me to mine. I miss this feeling already.
Lawn shaggy and studded with dandelions. Weeds softening the edges of the path.
In the morning, I ride my bicycle to the office. The air is cool and dry and the river is high on its banks. Fresh green leaves shimmer on the trees. I round the corner and have to stop to let a bear move along. Grazing in the long grass on the side of the road. Big black bear, heavy rump, furitive eyes. He bashes back into the forest.
In the parking lot of the office there are familiar faces. My surveyor friend Chris, and I ride right up to him and smile and wait for him to recognize me beneath my helmet. And Cliff is there too. And Corwin. All the way through the office I cut a swath of hellos. Home?
I speak with several different managers. With one I have a productive discussion about sexual harassment and bullying at the mine. With another I arrange my final transfer date. Get my laptop updated by IT.
I'm finally on the road. Driving West on Highway 16, the road rolling and curving back and forth, how many times have I driven this now? I know it like the back of my hand. I see different beauty now. I am happy to be here, happy to be behind the wheel of the truck. I feel present and aware and alive.
I meet two more bears on the mine road. Calling them out on the radio. I used to be so afraid to call up and down the road. Now I look forward to it. Enter the site. Sign in. Go to the office. I'm stading out front and a couple of the guys pull up, and they are all smiles and how are yous and my heart swells further. I've been so starved for friends like this.
I check into camp and head for the caf. I missed dinner, so I'm scrounging in the lunch coolers for somthing good. A guy kind of smiles at me from the tables. I quickly look away. And then I hear, Shaaannnooonnn, and I look again. Matt! My Matt! His golden curls all chopped off. His face is flush, and I apologize for not recognizing him, and his face looks different but I still like it and I'm sad to see his hair gone, but it makes me notice other things. I sit and talk with him for a while. Easy and open. God, I just want to hug him and laugh.
So, here I am again. Camp round two.