Guardrail Man

I walked along the ocean in the early morning. The ocean rolled flat, green, almost silent. Above me, traffic motored up and down Highway 10, mostly trucks and log trucks transporting goods and dead trees. Why we’re still clearcutting in this state is beyond me. It’s an ecological obscenity perpetrated against our watersheds, which of course, is ourselves.

Here and there a large rain drop fell, hitting me on the face and hands. It is a unique sensation to feel a single fat rain drop make first physical contact with one’s being. I like it a lot. It is the feeling of being alive and present.

As I walked, I thought about the various literary projects I want to execute the rest of this year and in 2020. There is much to do but I have some excellent new collaborators to help me.

A noise shattered my concentration. I heard someone above me. I looked up to the highway and saw a man, thin, somewhat young in appearance, some 150 feet away, screaming to the sky. Or was it a conversation? I couldn’t tell. I couldn’t make out the words.

He carried no gear. He stopped and climbed over the guardrail and onto some rock fill that supported the highway. He knelt down and began sorting through the rocks. It made no sense but it’s starting to make more sense to me every time I witness such a thing, and that’s at least once or twice a day.

What is his story? I thought. Did he need help? Should I try and render assistance? What might that entail?

Here we were, just past dawn, a young man was in distress, perhaps of their own doing, or not, and I didn’t know what to do.

I watched him sort rocks for ten minutes. Then I found the trail for home. I walked within 50 feet of him and he didn’t notice me.

These stories keep coming at me. I seem to walk into them every morning. I’m not really doing anything with these stories except writing them up in a superficial manner.

I must find a way to tell this story.