Summer begins! Last night, the sunset’s afterglow was of that perfect deep hue that only appears on the hottest days. I was delighted to see it. At work, guys are complaining about how their clothes are rimed with white salt from sweat. On the breaks, I guzzle a lot of water from the big water coolers. I have my balcony door wide open in the afternoon and early evening. The little fan is whirring valiantly. At any moment, something magical might happen. Well-loved stories and ones yet unread call to me from the shelves. Those yet unwritten whisper from the warm air. The best season is here again!
For my book, I’m thinking of summer stars, the brightest ones, visible from this hemisphere in June. Does anyone have favorites? Speak now — this may be your chance to have a direct influence on The House of the Worm! I need to pick three good stars. I’m also trying to track down a helpful on-line directory or guide of stars, when they appear, what colors they are, what constellations they’re in, and any other facts and folkloric associations. Any advice, dear readers? I’ve been reading about how, over the thousands of years, the heavens have shifted. For ancient Egyptians, the pole star wasn’t Polaris at all! It was Thuban in the constellation of Draco. Is that not cool?! That name Thuban has been ringing in my mind as I sort trash at work. Summer: the season when stars whisper their names.
Anyway, the theme of this post is “Angels” for two reasons: 1.) I have some graveyard angel photos to show you, and 2.) my guardian angels were working hard today and saved me from what could have been a really serious injury.
Let’s start with some pictures. A couple days ago, a friend asked out of the blue if I’d be interested in going up to the cemetery where I’ve written and taking photos of gravestones and statuary. This was on Midsummer’s Eve, in fact, and I thought it sounded like the perfect way to greet the dusk on that glorious day. The friend isn’t familiar with this neighborhood, so she came to my place, and I drove us up to the hilltop and St. Mary’s Cemetery.
I’m sure my friend’s photos are a lot better than mine. All I have is a bottom-of-the-line camera, and I haven’t really felt I was taking pictures since the days of 35mm, which I loved. But I suppose it’s still capturing the way light strikes objects, so we can still call it “photography.” It’s a whole different world now, though.
So anyway, I should tell my story from work today. The machines were up and running all day, and Greenstar was going for volume, trying to maximize the amount of trash we sorted. That meant the stuff was coming at us constantly and full blast, piled deep on the belt, with no respite.
Well, about an hour before lunch break, I heard a shuddering KER-WHAM! right beside me. Instinctively, as we do whenever we hear the sound of something heavy tumbling out of the chute, I ducked, but there was no time at all to get out of the way. I saw a brownish blur heading straight for me, and at the last instant, it veered and threw itself away in my trash bin, immediately to my left. The impact I’d heard was when it bounced off the belt. The object was so heavy that it sank straight to the bottom of my bin, through all the packed garbage. It was like a meteorite coming down.
Across the belt from me, Ralph just about fainted! He has an uncanny ability to see everything that’s happening on the line. I don’t know how he does it. Heavy, metallic junk can jam up and break the machines, so whenever something like that comes through, we grab it and throw it onto the floor, off of the belt. Later, when we have a free minute, we carry it over to a special barrel for pipes, hubcaps, tools, jagged nondescript items, etc. (The other day, I found an Illinois license plate! I looked to see if I recognized the number — it didn’t seem to belong to anyone I knew. That would have been just the sort of coincidence that you read about.) Well, when heavy stuff crashes onto the belt, Ralph almost invariably sees exactly where it lands and is able to retrieve it from the deep trash. I generally know that something heavy has come down, but I have no idea where it is.
What Ralph saw was a rusty disc, flying upright like a wheel, slicing straight toward me. He was sure it was going to take my head off or cut my throat, and there wouldn’t have been a thing he could have done about it except to pull the cord and stop the belt after the fact. I did catch a glimpse of it coming toward me in one of those frozen instants, like in The Matrix. I thought the thing was a round saw blade.
Well, I fished it out of my trash barrel. My next thought was that it was a disc off a farm implement — you know, the kind that discs the field in the spring. I dropped it onto the deck behind me. When we had time, we examined it and saw that it was probably the base off a lamp or a standing fan — something industrial-grade. I can’t estimate weights, but it took two hands to hold it. Ralph and I agreed that it was eighteen inches across, with a hole in the center.
Since it was vertical, I don’t think it would have injured me in the way that Ralph thought, but it certainly could have given me a nasty gash and maybe broken some bones, and I would have needed a tetanus shot.
About ten minutes after that happened, CRASH! – a lawnmower blade came down right between us. On this rare occasion, I saw it and retrieved it. So it was a wild day at Greenstar. And thank you, guardian angels!
There was also some nice news yesterday: Triad Staffing, the agency that sends me to Greenstar, has decided to name me their first-ever Employee of the Month! The boss has gotten clearance to award me with some gift certificates. He says I have no idea how much they appreciate me, and he wanted to do something to express that. So that’s really nice! All glory to God! I couldn’t be a good employee without good health and a car that runs.
Speaking of my car, I had to get its tire fixed the other day. I finally had time to do it. It’s had a very slow leak for several weeks now. Turns out there was a screw that had impaled it. The screw was in there deeply and tightly, so that just a tiny bit of air was leaking out around it. That’s all fixed now. I hope I don’t run over anything else sharp.
Out at Greenstar, my car gets covered with dust. When it rains, it gets washed off. But now and then on weekends, I like to just wash it, because it’s dusty in the extreme.
Summer stories from all you readers are still most welcome! How are you kicking the season off? Are the fireflies out in your part of the world?