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May 15th, 2007

Welcome to Dawn: Mirror Fish, the Coyote and Me

Posted by natdavauer in Uncategorized

I decided not to go to bed last night. It was late and getting later until the later turned to earlier. I decided not to because I could. I didn’t have anything to do in the morning or late morning… or early afternoon. Going to bed seemed more optional than usual so I chose the unusual option.

The sky was an amazing shade of blue-green. As if the world had sunk in the darkness of night and everyone would awake that morning looking out their windows to the eerie glow of the sun above a million gallons of water. I struggled with the choice of whether to follow the glow or not for some minutes until finally abandoning sleep for the mystery of light.

I left our house as if leaving an airport. A strange country awaited on the streets of Dawn. It was garbage day today so the highly manicured streets of Shorewood were lined with overflowing buckets, baskets and boxes of junk. It wasn’t so dissimilar for the world of Dusk of which I travel on a daily basis, but it was also foreign at same time. Maybe due to the fact the light was backwards. Or that there was not a single person in sight. It seems a fact that there is little travel between these two worlds. If you travel Dusk, you will rarely make the journey to Dawn.

I snaked through the streets on my bike like lanes on a board game imaging how may points I might get for turning this way or that. The green was turning to blue and the wind in my hair reassured me I would not drown riding a bike. I came to the edge of our world and watched the new light introduce itself to the cold, dark lake. “Hello old friend. I see you’re still here.”

The problem with photographing a sunrise is that you don’t know when it is at its best. You have to keep taking another picture just after the last. Alas, the effort is wasted as you know it won’t capture the glory of it no matter how many you take.

You are either predator or prey in Dawn, depending on your biology or perhaps your social persuasion. The stars cast a silence on the world that one could use to roam about with little worry of discovery. This same silence could be employed to help one sneak about with thoughts of mischief, deceit and even death. As the sun raises the stars from whatever possible tragedy or comedy they are background to, those who would set out to accomplish their silent deeds are for a moment revealed to one another. Who is friend? Who is foe?

First, it was I who saw the coyote. He trotted seemingly secure under his cloak of diamonds and hush. Then he caught notice of me. He did not figure me for friend nor figure me at all really. He wasted no time in disappearing because all to a coyote in the city of Milwaukee are safely assumed to be unfriendly. If he only knew how afraid I was of him. He may have seized the opportunity to press on me just to watch me cower for a bit. A fun story of Dawn to tell the wife and little ones.

pierIt seemed for the smaller part of a second that the world split in two. It seemed that for the shortest and all together longest period of time you had a choice of whether to believe you were standing on your feet or your head as the sun began to mix it’s colors for the morning masterpiece, the Lake explaining what went where or was it the other way around?

fish2The little silver fish were not flickering in delight as I did truly wish they were. Playing with the pale light on their sides as only a swimming mirror is meant to. No, they swam the slow circles of death. Closer and closer to the surface until the circling becomes floating and the mirrors become tarnished. Some evil in The Lake will not abide them anymore. I hope that they can watch their final sunrise with their one sky bound glassy eye.

fish1The deer like me, may have spent too much time trying to decide if he wouldn’t just walk about the day as he did the night. Or maybe he felt that his call to the woods before tomorrow arrived was as optional as my forsaking the comfort of my bed. For he could remain in Dawn as easily as he could leave it. And why shouldn’t he? It is a bit unorthodox for a deer to stroll through Milwaukee in daylight, but it is the Upper East Side after all. He would be as likely pet by a small child as anything else.

birdsI believe as I watched the sea of birds I could watch one split into two and two into four. My eyes rapidly trying to count, figure and organize this city on wings would only find birds where there were none and countless where there were any. A great jealousy filled me as I watched them soar about what is by now surely a somewhat mundane morning breakfast. I think of my own breakfast. My uninspiring trip from the bed to the fridge to some chair-shaped object or even possibly back to my bed again. What I would give to soar above the house in the washed out light waiting for my moment to swoop down through the window and into the cereal cupboard.

deerAs for most who whisper about the dark though, it is the other who is up to no good. It was me who would catch the deer and bestow some cruel punishment as soon as I had the chance. It probably has something to do with the biology of an eyeball sensing movement, but it does seem that a deer will first defer to you before making his next move. “You seem to be standing still. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you will continue to stand still indefinitely, but if you so much as twitch, I am going to haul tail out of here faster than you can possibly imagine.”

I did share a moment with this fellow traveler as might two passing in the customs’ line. He is leaving, and I am coming. He knows the now quickly rising sun will only cause more of these uncomfortable situations to occur. Staring down people all day would make getting anything done impossible. And what is there for a deer to do in Milwaukee anyway? In a split second he took two great leaps and then floated over a chain link fence thrice his height pausing for a moment as if for me to regard his grace and consider it’s value compared to our brilliant but quite clunky frames. For all of our paintings, airplanes and libraries we can not sail our bodies through the air without the slightest hint of doubt.

polesI did fancy myself a deer as I glided home on my bike, peddling through the warm crabapple blossom currents. I am faced again with the decision of whether or not heed the call of my bed. I will, of course, sooner or later, but I savor the choice for the time being. What I have decided is that I will remember the coyote’s meek silhouette, the fishes’ glittering facets, the birds’ casual loveliness, the deer’s graceful leap and the sunrise’s modest blessing for as long as I can. And hopefully when the strange light of Dawn calls me to the window and seduces me away from my bed, we will meet again and be for a moment less a stranger to one another.