By morning I’m sure of it – my feelings for Lisa have changed. I was afraid I’d have to suppress my attraction to her and a little jealousy of her boyfriend, but no. I find myself truly appreciating her as a lovely person I know best through friendship. I wake from a good sleep, not affected at all by awareness of her in the other room.
She makes me a hot grain breakfast she affectionately refers to as “colon-blow”. She ditches work for the morning to chat with me.
After she’s left, I feel called to explore the area on foot. This is suburb/city-edge, entirely constructed for commuters and not walkers. I just walk into the trees and head northwest. I pass behind a computer store and into a cemetery. Without the trees, the sun is warm and bright. I walk half a mile to the other edge, through a thin line of trees to an undeveloped field of weeds. My socks begin their collection of stickers, twigs, and other bits of organic matter. I can hear a warehouse intercomm in the distance. Someday this field will probably be warehouse too. There’s a creek along the other side that has already collected some pieces of old PVC pipe. The manhole cover of a cistern of some kind pokes up.
There’s some more woods on the other side. They are home to a big, pretty orange spider. The hammer-whacking construction sounds of upscale homes being built comes from one side, voices on the warehouse PA from the other.
I feel a complete alien as I walk through construction sites, shipping areas, showrooms, and the intervening woods. If I come to a fence I climb over. As a sort of climax I stumble onto a great sea of mud and dirt where the forest has been cleared to build a housing project. I see firsthand how the drainages below are now clogged with mud and sediment – the beginning of the watershed contamination process. On a more positive note, I feel like a priveleged phantom drifting in the midst of humankind, busy building, building, building, as they have done from from the dawn of history.
Lisa knows someone in Winston-Salem she feels I should meet. We drive for a couple of hours to a dull-looking retirement home, out of which comes a striking, elegant, graceful woman, standing very straight in a long, deep blue coat. This is Shirley Deane. In the nearby Indian restaurant, she knows the names of all the staff. We sit down to a meal at which we eat a lot and she a little. I can’t begin to describe her stories. She played the accordian for a living in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. She spent every cent of her money on a land rover and lived on faith from gig to gig. She describes wearing scanty outfits and performing for U.S. military personnel. At one point she wound up in an Ashram in the Himalayan foothills, where she studied Yoga for some time (4 years?). She worked at a shelter for Tibetan refugees after that. And now she is living in a lonely room across from McDonald’s and Burger King. She was so happy to see us. She implored me to come back with Dough and introduce her.
After dinner I helped her get her email working. We talked about her all the way home.