The autumn leaves that litter the trail crunch beneath my feet, and dozens of flying insects — grasshoppers I think — flee the oncoming giant tromping through their domain. The late morning sky is a lovely cerulean broken only by lonely scattered cloud wisps. The October air is crisp — like a chilled white wine — dry, bracing, invigorating. I am given a perfect fall day to accomplish my task.
The trees that surround me, mostly oak and linden, a few scattered elms, give way to pines. Now the trail is covered in long pine needles and pine cones. Large birds — falcons perhaps — watch my passing with avian alarm. A brave one flies directly overhead to get a closer look at the encroaching human.
I’m seeking the “Cathedral of Pines,” the place I’ve chosen for Sam’s final rest.
I’ve been trying to re-synch my clock to a more normal daylight cycle. All my life I’ve been a “night crawler.” My very first official job involved a retail position, but we worked outdoors. I noticed how, no matter how tired I was, once the sun fell, I got a fresh breath of wind. And even at my advanced age, staying up all night is easy (and so is napping all afternoon).
My (ex-)wife used to say I must have vampire blood in me. It’s true I do like to bite necks, but so far I have drawn only moans, no blood. It may be more that I’ve always identified with the idea, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Life is filled with so many interesting things, who wants to waste time sleeping? And for all my life, five hours seems to do me just fine.
But the point here is that I’ve been trying to become more of a day person.