It appears that I am already at the end of the birthday challenge. Last night, I had a dream that I arrived at the seaside cliffs of Santa Barbara on foot, carrying only my proto-type Five Ten courier bag. The coast looked more like something just south of Stinson Beach in Northern California.
I was waiting under the cover of an overhanging bouldering at the trail head watching surfers waiting for sets to roll in. Bob shows up in a yellow rain jacket and two bright orange umbrellas. Suddenly it's raining.
"Anywhere dry to climb?" I ask Bob.
"Nowhere but Joshua Tree," Bob replies. "Been here all morning and these two umbrellas won't even keep me dry."
"Here," I say, pulling a small bottle of Canadian Club from my emergency whiskey compartment of my bag, "have some whiskey."
Bob opens the bottle. He sniffs the contents. He tries to be nice about the Canadian Club.
"Smells good, like Knob Creek," he says. Bob stands there just staring at the open mouth of the bottle.
I take the bottle back knowing he won't like the cheap whiskey--and besides, it's for emergencies when you have nothing else. I pull my flask from my bag.
"This is Rittenhouse."
Bob takes the flask and doesn't give it back.
"Let's go to Joshua Tree."
We start walking.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that as we were talking, the rain cleared on the ocean (but not on land). A creature burst through the water. I thought it was a dolphin. But it was very far away. When it got closer, I thought it to be a whale. When it got closer still, it appeared to be a dinosaur fish--icthyosaurus. It had a fish in it's mouth and the surfers were paddling pell-mell to get back in. The creature didn't care to eat the humans, only to break up their surf session.
It looks like I've been reading and thinking too much of The Long Walk--a tale of Siberian prisonners' escape to India over the Himalayas on foot. At the end of their journey they encounter yetis. Yes, not one but two. Yes, it's a true story. I recommend it. Maybe this dream's a forboding of things to come on the birthday challenge: giant fish, rain, whiskey, and lots of walking.
"For what is not cannot be thought; for it is the same thing that can be thought and that can be."
--Manny Varjak, or was it Parmenides