Pahana dried off after his shower, got dressed including the Sage’s necklace, and set out for the day. It was still early, the morning sun was up but there were still long shadows and dark corners. It was a crisp fall morning and all he wanted was a cup of coffee and a bagel.
Cloverdale was still sleeping it seemed. Traffic was light as he weaved across town on the network of trails and by-ways that criss-crossed Cloverdale. Many times, it was faster to bike or rollerblade across town than it was to drive. It would be another twenty minutes before he would get to the Daily Drip. He pedaled a slow steady pace until he reached the long bridge over the Clover River.
The river itself was broad and kept deep enough for barge traffic but it wasn’t a major river by any measure. Two small islands made it easier for the city crew to build a bridge across the river to accommodate the swell of commuters on foot and bike in the last decade. Two spans made up the river crossing. One a steady downhill slope from the west side of the river down to the first island brought traffic off the bluffs and down into East Cloverdale. The other was a more involved structure that slowly stepped up from east and rose until it crossed the river at the same level as the other bridge. The second bridge had quickly become necessary after a number of bike-pedestrian accidents.
By the end of the first decade, the bridges passed as much traffic as the interstate bridge just a half mile up the river and almost double the traffic of the two city streets that crossed within a mile down river.
Pahana took it all in as he shifted gears and began the slow grueling climb up the bridge to get into Cloverdale proper. I’m only ten minutes from the Daily Drip. Shifting gears, he stood up and started the more vigorous climb up ‘The Stairs’ as locals called the bridge. He made the climb and stopped mid-river. As he watched the water flowing under him, he felt a connection with the river. He could feel the subtle thrum of the flow. At first, he thought it was the bridge itself vibrating, but the water in his bottle was still and no one else on the bridge was looking around. But as he focused on the water’s energy, he could hear it more clearly. Turning his focus to the wind blowing around him and could hear its song whispered in his ears. He smiled to himself and gave quiet thanks to the water below and the air around him. He set off for the Daily Drip.
As he wheeled up and locked up his bike, he noticed that the morning crowd seemed lighter this morning. He didn’t mind as he liked it quieter in the morning. He ordered his bagel sandwich and coffee and looked around the shop as he waited. It was the usual Tuesday morning crowd just without their cars and bikes it seemed.
Pahana found his usual table open and slipped his backpack off and sat it down on the bench beside him. He pulled out a notebook and pen and wrote down today’s observations and things that he had learned from the Sage the previous night. He munched on his sandwich and slowly drank his coffee, writing down the details of the Sage’s lessons from the night before while adding his own notes and observations. It had been a long six weeks since the Sage had visited him. It had been an even longer three months since he’d last worked on this side of the river, working Pine Avenue for tricks.
As he sat writing, he started getting the feeling he was being watched. He looked up and didn’t see anything unusual but he couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was staring at him. It wasn’t until the third time that he looked up that he saw that there was a gentleman staring at him from across the shop.
He didn’t seem like much as Pahana looked at him. Maybe 5’9” and 120lbs, lithe, with long flowing red hair and sapphire blue eyes that seemed to look into you as much as they looked at you. He made eye contact and he felt those eyes drill into him as the man got up and started walking towards him. The man set his coffee down on the table and slid into the booth.
“Do you always wear your mask in public?” the man said as he settled in to the booth.
“What do you mean?” Pahana asked confused.
“You are wearing a tribal mask marking you as a Shaman-Seer-Sage. It is uncommon to see someone in public wearing their markings.”
“Uhm, I’m not wearing a mask.” he said as he instinctively reached up to feel his face. Nope, nothing on my face. What is this guy talking about?
“You don’t even realize you are wearing it do you? You must have recently been enlightened to your gifts then. Most of us go to great lengths to hide our true nature. Too many people like to cause us too much trouble.” he said with a welcoming smile. “I’m Seamus. I’m a Celtic Shaman. I will hazard a guess that you are AmerIndian.”
“I am. My name is Jaysin.” Pahana didn’t miss a beat reverting to Jaysin. It felt safer. “I know I am Native but I don’t know who my people are or where I am from. I was adopted as a baby.”
“Ah.” Seamus paused for a moment, “Jaysin you said, that would explain your late arrival into your gifts and your calling from the Spirits. Are you a two spirit as well?”
“A what?” he said as he felt Seamus’ hand brush his knee and felt his face turn as red as Seamus’ hair. “I…uh…should get going.” And with that, Pahana was out the door and unlocking his bike before anyone realized he was gone.
There are many others who write Wednesday Briefs: