Nothing but dashboard light and the plow of sight pushing ahead of the Buick, the while lines leaping like fish off the road... I lit another cigarette and reached for the radio dial...Crazy noise from nowhere; I reached again to tune it out... Waited a couple seconds too long... and decided without deciding to let it go longer.
A point of light caught my ear, and then another... Sunlight off the leaves of a shadetree somewhere... Like if you took a Charley Patton song and tossed an M-80 into the middle of it...
This was music with roots crawling deep into the dark -- sprouting, blossoming -- exploding to scatter seeds which take hold again in giddy sly progressions...
Another started, same band. I reached under the seat and found a half-pint. Started hard and choppy like funk with mock-danger on its tail -- through the woods, until a friendly sax took my arm and led me towrd the clearing --
A mingling crowd, and then SAILING SAX! The barndance bursts into brawls and flames -- here comes East, here comes West -- a panicky violin exhorts the crows to action as bass and drums pick up a jerky determined rhythm of passing buckets --
And the saxophone says 'Well like I was saying," as the event finds its way back throught community to kindness...
I hit the parkinglot and cut the engine. Suddenly, the night was old.
A radio tower winked.
Clocked in, got my gloves and broom. The other four were already sweeping, with the rhythm of men condemned to life sentences. I fell right in with them.
The union guys had plenty to do: they rattled around on towmotors, loading and unloading the semis, laughing, shouting, eating snacks... For the five of us, there was nothing to do but sweep and sweep, endlessly pushing ahead of us the truck exhaust that collected in a barely perceptible dust on the floor of the dock... the rhythm of it got inside you and started eating its way back out again, and the dust became invisible, and after a couple hours I felt like I was working in pantomime.
I swept until 3 a.m. and then, no one watching, I jumped off the dock. The night smelled like diesel. The moon was gone. I made my way through idling trucks to my car, crawled in front so I could close my eyes for an hour.
For the hell of it, I stuck the key in the ignition and turned on the radio, soft. A radio tower winked.
Same band, another song. These people were certainly out there...
Reassured, I cut the engine and went to sleep.