Sunday, August 29, 2010

OVER TIME


     Now, Census activity coming to a close and the office thinned out and only the strong surviving--the good clerks, rock-solid managers--we move towards the end game gauging time with incoming info on packing boxes, shipping, inventorying equipment, endless and noisy conference calls. Like a late night party, many guests have gone home and those who remain, energized and noisy, loud, persisting in staying through early morning cocktail chatter and laughter, unable to say good bye. Survivors. The overwhelming speed and precision of the operations fading and the stress, fatigue, up-all-night anxiety, cold-chill phone calls demanding answers, it recedes in a blurry memory of the past year, a difficult one for me and yet a successful one. Our team excels, our team is recognized, pointed out, receiving bonus money for our efforts, smiles and handshakes and the casual camaraderie comes from our weary selves and the visitors who frequent to check on us, remind us keep a focus, the edge. We do.
     Fog is lifting up off my loaded brain, light streaks showing along the ragged edges of rust and restlessness and the monotony of office work and computer-fed dreams of dates, deadlines, targets, timelines, and finality is here, and it is about time. One more month. 
     I can see peaks rising in the distance, ridges and escarpments hardened under the sifting layers of the year's work, the hard work of paying close attention to detail, precise measurement and re-measuring, quality checks, deadlines. The ridges have shifted under the strain and they loom now unable to stay hidden. They will reveal words and the people who speak them. Strangers will talk to me, telling me their stories, revealing secrets and haunted memories, the paths they have chosen and the paths that have chosen them, they’ll unfurl like flags that have stood at half mast. There will be choices for me to make. Like a trekker who has come to the end of the land and stands at its edge, vast seas roiling below throwing debris from broken voyages and bottled dreams, this trekker can plunge, dive straight in, or continue the careful trek step by step down the rocky face to the water.
     It fills me inside, these dreams, buoyant at times, keeping me afloat until I find a hook and dive in and hold on until I feel its pull and gravity, the resonance, and begin to work with it. A journey it will be, a searching, a subconscious awakening that becomes conscious and tangible with shape and form and words and actions and love and desire, dread and remorse, I face off with demons that push and chase me in the dark until they catch me and force-feed their awful truths. That’s the journey I’ll be on, that’s the precipice I’ll watch from, the cliff I’ll negotiate, take off from and fly.

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