dreams, part 11

After an emotionally wrenching day of working on Florida papers and an evening of watching heartbreaking news reports, I finally fall asleep.

And this is what I dream.

I have just finished running. I’m sitting in the car, which Emily Sisson apparently borrowed without my knowledge. She has left a bag of doughnuts in the passenger seat. Annoyed, I eat them.

She walks up after her cooldown. She says she borrowed the car because she wanted to bring her dog. She doesn’t notice the doughnuts are gone.

We pick up Mo and drive Emily Sisson home. She is living with her parents in a modest home outside of town.

Her mom has been cleaning out the attic and has a huge assortment of outdated electronics stuff — DVD players, vacuum tubes, remote controls, circuit boards — painstakingly sorted on shelves on the front porch. She wants us to take some, but we decline. It’s hard to get excited about vacuum tubes.

I ask Emily Sisson if she has run on the track since it opened after COVID. She says no, because they don’t allow dogs.

As we leave, a pizza guy pulls up. They give us one of the pizzas, even though I ate too many doughnuts.

We drive away.

And then I wake up.

I have no idea what this dream means, other than I clearly have a pastry deficiency.

I’m sending good thoughts to the devastated people of Fort Myers. I wish I could send doughnuts.

I’m going to the track tonight.

I hope Emily Sisson is there.

I hope she brings her dog.

And pizza.

wilfredo lee/the associated press
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they went flying around in the rain

With their hearts they turned
to each other’s hearts for refuge
In the troubled years that came
before the deluge
— the prophet jackson browne

Because of the quirks of newspapers, economics and technology today, I live in Phoenix but edit the newspaper in Fort Myers, Florida. It’s pretty much the same news as anywhere else. Development blah blah environment blah blah taxes blah blah tony danza in a prom dress blah blah zzzzzz.

And then today I worked on the paper as they were being wiped out by a hurricane.

The deadline had been moved up to noon Arizona time because of the logistics of printing and distributing in a disaster zone, so Ian was roaring ashore there while we were trying to put the paper out. Funny how you are detached from news events until you’re in the middle of them.

The editor I deal with was working from home in the storm’s bullseye. He would pop up now and then, saying his power was back on before disappearing again. He never mentioned the havoc unfolding outside his door; he just did his job.

At one point, another editor 60 miles from ground zero mentioned that he hadn’t heard from him for a while and didn’t know if he had power, or even if he was still above water. I was nervous until he popped up a half hour later, saying things were on again. Crazy.

After the last page was sent and we paused for a metaphorical smoke break, we asked whether he’d be OK. He said his apartment is cinder block, so he was optimistic. Last I heard, their flooding had reached 10 feet. I once worked with him in real life. He’s about 5-10. Do the math.

After my shift, I went to the bird park and strolled around the pond for a couple of miles. It was calm. The herons were bored. No storm surge.

We take life for granted, but somewhere on the planet, every single second of every day, someone’s life is being upended. It’s so easy to forget. But what can you do?

I suppose you just make deadline and move on. To the next edition, the next disaster, the next mile.

There is no finish line.

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no feet keepin’ score

You dance to the moon
and you dance to the stars
— the prophet denice franke

The moon doesn’t care how your 401k did today.

The moon just wants to go for a run. No deadlines, no anxiety, no bears.

Just stride, stride, stride, breathe. Stride, stride, stride, breathe. Repeat as necessary.

What goes around, comes around, the moon says. A sliver today, but soon enough it will be full again.

Anyhow, it’s only money, not happiness. You still have plenty of that.

Will things keep getting worse? Is this just the beginning of the cataclysm?

The moon doesn’t care. The moon just wants to go for a run.

Trust the moon.

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things i wish i had said, part 101

“That’s why I always keep a box of snacks, a rope ladder, a pile of Seventeen magazines, and a cot on my porch. You just NEVER KNOW.”

— annabelle cheep

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please, no more therapy

But he just took polaroids
Of her smile in the light

— the prophet shawn colvin

I’m halfway around the mad dog loop when I see them coming. A flock of geese soars just above me, a silent v in perfect formation.

I fumble to get out my phone, lightning reflexes allowing me to get a photo of them about 2 miles later as they wave goodbye.

Maybe it’s better just to take snapshots with your mind.

There are no seasons here, no changing leaves and fireplace smoke wafting through the air. 100 degrees and change as September fades away, the heat unfazed by the setting sun. Still, the characters in my nightly play are all performing.

A huge guy, tattooed head, with a minuscule chihuahua. The singing guy with the floppy hat. A pink panorama of cotton candy clouds. Tiny girl in pigtails on a scooter, her brother following with a soccer ball ballet. Big tire bikes, neon runners. Photos everywhere, if only in my head.

As I get slower and running morphs into strolling, maybe that’s the secret. Stop worrying and enjoy the show. Metaphorical polaroids.

But dang. You should have seen those geese.

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