A young tree yields before the wind, but often we won’t yield to anything, much less the Holy Spirit. It’s a matter of pride, don’t you know.
That is probably why I stood planted on the street corner, watching the throngs ebbing and flowing.
Unable to say a word of warning or greeting, shuffling from one leg to the other, keeping the blood pumping against the cold. Connecting the dots between that which was brought to remembrance in my mind’s eye to that in my field of view.
Is this the day? Is this the time?
I’ve not heard the call. Nor the sound of the trumpet.
Only the echo to remain ready and to watch the skies.
Was it today? Yesterday? Or a long time ago?
It is fresh in my mind, like something important, memorable. An experience seared, and ever present, hence making the “WHEN” impossible to nail down.
How long can this go on? The compass has no true north any longer, only swinging and vacillating between three points as it counts backward like a clock run amuck.
Has it any worth at all? Certainly it no longer functions in accord with its design. Unlike a clock it had no alarm to begin with. But is its strange behavior now indicative of the approaching danger?
I must find the bridge. But where is it?
What good is a landmark, if you’ve never seen it before?
The day’s finds lay in a pile before me. Only now do I have the time to sift through them. I will consume that which is for sustenance. One cannot save it over to another day. I’ve tried, but it never works.
Hungry, I cull edibles first. Besides it makes the pile smaller and more satisfying to go through.
Then, I sort. Very carefully. One by one. If it is what I’m looking for, I’ll know it. Most of them won’t be. I gathered them on the run after all.
I see nothing linking them to the bridge I am looking for. Tomorrow I will change direction and try another tack.
I should ask someone, and get beyond my shyness.
I remember now why I don’t stop anyone to ask the way. Or one reason. An important one. It takes too bloody long to explain. The question is easy enough, boil it down to “where?” They come back with the question “why?” I never can explain it in one go, but have to go through it all again. Even then there can be misunderstanding or a misreading on my part when they answer. Case in point, in this particular instance, she answered me in complete sentences. I had gotten across what I wanted, but then I had to deal with the thing or things that she wanted in return.
I finally had direction but it was too late to go.
Two points of the compass down. Two left to go. Or if I get picky, three hundred fifty six additional ones. Yet the area can grow exponentially between two adjacent points.
Does it make me more hopeful, or just discouraged? Depends on what time of the day you ask me. Right now at the end of the day I would say discouraged. But tomorrow morning – hope springs eternal, as they say. So I will look forward to that even now. I need to remind myself that I am not alone in this.
Another strategy is called for. If I could just find something that needs a bridge over it. A change in elevation? Another step between me and my goal?
It’s been an up and down day. Literally. First up one structure then down the next. That’s if I could get in and if there were a connection to the next one. For you see, once atop one you could thoughtfully eliminate several points of the compass, but a whole lot more was obscured by taller structures nearby.
On the fifth structure, I caught a glint, a reflection of what might be water. There was no causeway to the next higher building, so I had to climb back down. I skipped the next one in favor of one beyond that seemed greatly taller and perhaps closer to the area of the sighting.
I am sitting in the dark awaiting morning.
This day has been a day of rest. Forced by circumstances. I was too used up to make my way down and on to the next viewpoint.
A good thing. For a number of reasons, but most importantly – if I had not, I would have missed a sighting of the bridge. It lay in a quadrant that hitherto was shrouded in clouds whenever I scanned the horizon in that direction. I had felt surely that such a huge landmark would tower above any low lying cloud, and consequently overlooked it.
I can scrap my original plan for tomorrow.
I know now where to point my feet. And may I in future commit myself to rest. Not just when forced to.
I have to report that I have not made much headway today. All the streets pointing my way were filled with people heading away from my destination. I stopped many times to try to urge them not to abandon their homes. At least, not for this direction. When the time comes, I told them, we will all need to be fleeing in the opposite direction toward the bridge.
Only one individual stopped to treat with me. He harangued me and the others to continue with him.
He was the more persuasive. None abandoned him. None joined me. They left me to press on alone though surrounded on every side. They continue even now as I turn aside for the night.
I made better headway today. The streets were empty. Nothing at all to impede me. The last of the migrants must have passed my position in the night.
Nothing to impede me but myself. I caught myself desiring to look back over my shoulder a number of times. To see if any followed after me? No.
An apprehension of doubt creeping up on me. Can one individual be right and the many wrong?
I have to resist the pull. I feel as though a giant rubber band connects us and the more I push forward the stronger the attraction backward. And if I were not vigilant I would snap and fly like a stone from a sling into their midst.
I reached the river this afternoon. For it is a river that the bridge, or rather three bridges cross. Now a new question presents itself. Which is the correct one? They are not parallel to one another, so it’s not like it doesn’t matter which one I take.
The furthest one away is the one I saw from the heights. It crosses over the next bend of the river and appears to head northward to the mountains.
The nearest one appears to cross the river to a broad boulevard that follows the river back the direction that I came from.
The middle choice appears to split the difference, but I do not know if I should.
I’ll sleep on it.
I went with my gut. Really a strong feeling or impression that I should persevere for the long haul and stick with my original sighting.
It took all day to circumvent the blocked roadways, defaulting to the narrower paths and byways.
I found a lonely passage through which I could actually see the bridge at the farther end. I struck out at a swift pace, but as I neared my goal that pace slackened and the loneliness turned to dread.
I’m not sure how it happened or when, it was as though I turned away for moment and when I turned back, I was underground. Still, the bridge remained in sight despite this.
I emerged at the bridge in darkness.
Slept in this morning. Was more tired than I thought, and it being overcast helped with the shut eye.
I’ve narrowed my choices down to three and tried to mull through the pros and cons over breakfast. My desired option would be to return the way I came, but I know that will never get a confirmation. So scratch one, leaving two.
The distant hills look inviting aesthetically speaking. I’m not quite sure that my wilderness skills would be up to it, so I would definitely need a confirmation before opting for it.
Still two choices. Can I eliminate the last option, to settle on one?
Late in the day I remembered a name, Lyle the pigeon boy. But why?
Up early this morning. I couldn’t sleep any longer anyway. I had remembered why the name of Lyle the pigeon boy came to me. I had made a promise to someone to find him if I could.
They did not know which bridge he lived under. They just knew the fact that he did.
“Like a troll?” I asked. They thought that was funny, but avoided answering, just exacted the promise, and added that it would be worth my while.
But I was serious after a manner of speaking. I was hoping they would offer some sort of explanation.
Spent the day searching – nothing – which leaves the other bridges to check. A confirmation? That was the third option after all.
Awakened to the patter of raindrops long before dawn. Had to move after it had pooled enough to splash my way. Kept my eyes closed and tried to reclaim the dream that was entertaining me. I could visualize the last image, but it stayed static and would no longer move. I gave up. Instead I turned my thoughts to the day ahead while continuing to rest.
Rest. Exactly what I should be doing today. I decided to put off the matter of Lyle until tomorrow.
No harm in expending some brain power and think through the best way to go about canvassing the other two bridges.
There shouldn’t be many places to hide on a bridge. If he is hiding.
Before I could tackle the matter of Lyle the pigeon boy, I needed to decide how I was going to get to the next bridge on the river. It had occurred to me that it would be shorter to return the way I came, keeping to the inside of its curve rather than traveling the outer edge.
The only thing unappealing about that course of action is the necessity of entering once more that section that is subterranean. Despite my unease over that route, I chose it.
This time it was not so dark and unnerving. Due no doubt to the fact that the sun was in the right position to illuminate the entire interior.
Still it took all day.
Rose early today. Clear and cool. Lots to do. This bridge is longer and taller than the other. So much more to cover. At first sight nothing seemed to be on the superstructure that was out of the ordinary. It just looked like a logical place to keep pigeons. Started there first.
Found stair access in one of the towers. That followed by a ladder got me up to the service point. No pigeon aerie there. Walked the suspension cable over to the other tower. The same. Crossed to the opposite side, inspected those towers. Same again.
Went underneath next. Two large shelves on each bank. Signs of occupation in one, but obviously in the past.
One bridge to go.
Stayed on the outer side of the river for my route to the third bridge. I could see it from the bridge I was on last night, almost out of sight around the bend. It has no superstructure, so should be easier to search.
About the time that both its ends came into view, I had to detour. The way was blocked and toxic warnings were posted. All might be clear, but I was not going to take the chance they were not.
The detour proved fruitful, yielding more foodstuffs. I’ll pick up more on the way back.
Rounded onto the street that leads to the bridge and was greeted by more toxic warnings. Stymied, will camp out and decide.
This morning I took a closer look at the area surrounding the bridge. From a distance of course. It seems there are even more toxic warning signs than I saw yesterday, especially in the vicinity of the bridge proper.
I was at the point of departing, when a figure appeared from somewhere under the bridge. It was a human, and put up another toxic warning sign. I waved to him (for indeed it was a man), but he first pretended not to see me, then frantically sought to wave me away.
I decided that the warning signs were bogus and he later admitted it when I went down there after him. He’s got pigeons, but won’t discuss anything until tomorrow.
Lyle is an affable soul. Hard to get to know though. In that we have a lot in common.
He is losing his distrust for me. It helped when I produced some food to feed his pigeons.
There are shelves under this bridge as there were with the second. An ideal arrangement in which to set up living quarters and a pigeon cote.
Lyle was so busy tending his charges, he did not notice the mass exodus from the city. And the posted toxic warnings kept the area around him free from curiosity.
Our conversation convinces me that he knows the right direction.
So I blurted out the question to him. Did he want to accompany me? Again I wait.
Lyle is torn. He would go with me if not for his concern for his pigeons. I counter with the observation that I see them getting along just fine without him. Not to be unkind of course, but just point it out.
Besides, I add that he should consider Him who clothes the flowers of the field. And get a proper estimation of his real place in the scheme of things.
We make a short foray beyond the warning signs to retrieve the foodstuffs that I had stashed and look for others.
About the time we turned back, I sensed in him the desire to continue on outward. I mentioned this, back under the bridge. He says it’s true, but…
DAY TWENTY ONE
Lyle was still indecisive this morning. He lingered by his pigeon cote and wouldn’t eat. I finally recalled why I came in the first place.
I told why I had sought him out. He remembers the one who told me about him, and exacted the promise from me to attempt to find him. And when I added that she is waiting for him somewhere in the north…
Well, that was all it took. He had everything together in the blink of an eye. And released all of his charges, save one. That he placed in a special single cage, which will sit quite comfortably atop his pack.
I soon had us retracing my steps to the bridge that points northward.
DAY TWENTY TWO
It seems strange to be traveling with some one, after doing so alone for so long. I can’t get used to another conversation ongoing outside of my head.
I can tell that it’s hard for Lyle too. There comes a point when silence falls between us, then it seems both of us are reluctant to shatter the peace that has descended. It grows the longer we remain tight-lipped.
As it turns out that was a good thing. Otherwise we might not have been clued in on the need to alter our course when the danger arose.
It came when the wind changed directions. That turned both our heads. We saw it coming and thankfully it did not see us.
DAY TWENTY THREE
We took a circuitous route to the second bridge and spent the night under the near end on the shelf. Lyle confirmed to me that he did at one time occupy this space, but moved to better accommodate his pigeons.
With no sign of the intruder this morning, we continued to retrace my steps, crossing the bridge to the south bank.
Nearing the subterranean section I cautioned Lyle on what could lay ahead, and steeled myself. It could be a perfect place for the intruder to lie in wait for us.
Lyle did not think so. He released his lone pigeon, which flew the length and back. No problem. And so it proved for us. We reclaimed my former camp.
DAY TWENTY FOUR
A fitful night for both of us. I woke up late only to find that Lyle was up and out already. At first I panicked (I have desertion issues), but then I realized that he left a breakfast for me, and he had talked about the need to stock up before we leave civilization for the north.
I ate, then went in search of Lyle, found him and lent a hand.
Besides the food, what I really want to find is our own intruder. Preferably a stealth version, one with a short tether. No sense making us too visible and we want to stay mobile, not tied down to a big base. It might be worthwhile to stay here awhile.
DAY TWENTY FIVE
A beautiful morning dawned upon us. The mountains off in the distance looked ever more inviting. However, Lyle agrees with me, that we should acquire a drone to take with us. In fact, he is more insistent about it than I am.
I’m beginning to think that we should make it two, one for each of us. You never know when we might split up, and we wouldn’t want to spoil our friendship over such a matter.
We’re checking out the nearby buildings for tech firms or other businesses.
Almost immediately we found a floor in the first building given over to a parcel business who has a whole fleet of them. If we can only get one to work.
DAY TWENTY SIX
We’ve moved indoors for now. Can’t say I like it. Lyle even less so. We appear to be the only occupants since the originals. Though we’re out of the elements, we’re limited to only two exits. And that’s what puts us at unease.
Rufus, or so the pigeon is named, likes the arrangement with no discernible unease on his part. At least I take his increased cooing as a sign of contentment.
Lyle and I take turns foraging in the afternoon, after making headway on the drones. We should have one of them operational by tomorrow.
Rufus stopped cooing on one of my occasions of remaining behind. I immediately went in search of Lyle, found him, and returned to cover.
DAY TWENTY SEVEN
Rufus may be a better watch dog than the drones we are trying to bring online. Lyle and I were safely hidden away well before the intruder buzzed into view.
We each gave him a treat from our foragings of the day.
Lyle launched his drone this afternoon and it has already plotted out our current perimeter. It will stay in this immediate area, whereas mine, when operational, we have decided, will venture further afield. However, we are short one crucial component, which I am hopeful, will soon pop up in one of our expeditions.
I am also hopeful that we will find the source of the intruder. It would tell us if they are friendly or not.
DAY TWENTY EIGHT
Feet dog-tired this evening. Seems we covered every building within a five block radius. Lyle in the morning again, and me in the afternoon. I stayed out about six hours. Though neither of us turned up the needed component, I did not return empty handed.
Between us we now have enough foodstuffs to allow us to concentrate on the drone part the next couple of days.
While out I again saw the intruder. Judging by the time and space, we must be on its regular route. This fact should make it easier to track back to its lair.
So another reason to focus our efforts tomorrow. Perhaps we should go out together and not worry about the home base.
DAY TWENTY NINE
The day was one of pluses and minuses. You would either be elated, on the rise in good spirits, or down in the depths of discouragement, for some bonehead call you made.
Overall it was a plus. For we definitely felt ahead of the game by day’s end.
We had found the source of the intruder. Both a plus and a minus for various reasons. The plus is obvious; the minus not so, even though it was for the same reason, if you get my drift.
It comes from a tower just out a little farther than our building. But Lyle recognizes the woman behind the operation and she is very bad news. We must be even more than vigilant.
Lots of progress. We now have two working drones, and we can control them while on the move.
We also have mapped all of the routes that the intruder uses. We should be able to plot a path north that will avoid her area of influence.
Work most of the day learning to co-ordinate the movements of our drones. What seems to work best is a leapfrog arrangement. Lyle covers for me while I move forward with mine, then cover for him as he moves forward with his.
We had decided to move out tomorrow, but all of a sudden the intruder’s movement pattern has changed. The question is – was it because she has detected our movements? Must know.
ON TO MONTH TWO