It’s 2:59 p.m. and I am reflecting upon places. It’s dang hot here outside Portland (Milwaukie). It’s near 90 and add 15 degrees for the way this truck captures and holds and amplifies every ray/particle/wave (when will they decide what light is?) from our Sun, 150,000,000 kilometers away.

And I’m in the shade, thinking of shade . . .

It was precisely this spot where I began to cherish moments of shade. It may have been precisely this same hour of the day, in the same month. Maybe the same day of the same month; I have no idea, no sense of when, because it is now. Shade is like that.

I’ve been here before, but not at all, really, have I been anywhere even close to here. I’ve finished this damn route, and wait a second—that’s not profanity—I’d not write that—it’s the former name of this route. Allow me to explain . . .

Hours later, in this coffee shop, still in the shade, suddenly very much in the shade, I am barely going to explain: I am on one route now, not five, and it is easier and timely. I will go back to my five routes sometime. The name of this route was “Damn” because that is what old Ruth always called it before she retired and I did the route once a week. Now, it is mine every day, by a confluence of procedures and events and logistics gone postal, and I will rename this damn route “Shade”. Of course.

Nothing short of an untimely death will keep me from going back to Ray’s Farm, and likely soon—very early Autumn I hope—but I won’t deliver his mail for a while.

It’s been one year, give or take, and the earth has traveled around the Sun once and has rotated over 350 times, and it seems like no time and all time since I was in the same spot under the same sun. But, not much else is the same. I am changed deeply, thoroughly, and forever. Shade is like that, too.

Earlier I was dodging traffic on a busy avenue, cursing trashcans that were blocking mailboxes, sweltering a little in a hot truck, and much more. You know how days go: you just do the stuff that you must and deal with it as it comes and you can alter the course to your liking and you can arrange and plan a little and you can set your pace up to a point and you can project ahead to parts of this one day and you can handle most anything you are given and then you call it a day, knowing that another one will likely greet you when you awaken.

But, if you are like me, then you also are outside it all, or maybe within it all is a better way to put it. All the time. Nearly every second of today, and especially now as I write, I had and have a sense of hope, yet it is present. Of something to come, yet I have it. Of something that endures as if it had a beginning, and yet it has always been. Of movement, yet I am there. Of being connected, but across no distance. Of being a part of something that is one, two, or three things, but surely One. Of seeing the sun rise and set and rise again, and yet always there is light.

I hope it makes sense, because I am simply running out of words, but not tears, as I stop writing and search for some music that might explain it all.

It must be the summer heat and the shade that is everywhere. And it is getting the best of me.

Photograph “Shade, Not Shadow” © 2017-18 Timothy Waugh