Late last spring I was camping alone in the woods along the Delaware River and was forced to bed early by a vicious migraine. When I woke up twelve hours later and in a hypnopompic state, it was unseasonably cold and my dreams and thoughts mixed together. I snuggled into my sleeping bag, peeked through the small hole towards the rising sun, and I had a vision – that is to say I couldn’t tell the difference between my dreams and reality.
A caveman stood at the mouth of a cave, and I somehow with him, yet not, both of us looking out towards the morning sky. I became the cavemen and felt his steady, nervous patience as he waited at the mouth of his cave for an enemy that never came.
I waited with him for what seemed like hours and hours, muscles taught, mind focused, paranoid and waiting. I thought to myself how difficult it must have been to live the life of the caveman, to have that one and only thought roll back and forth across your mind – life or death, life or death. You must be ready at any given moment to face that question. You might spend the whole day waiting at the mouth of your cave, at the ready, waiting for fear to materialize suddenly.
And then I thought to myself – I’m so glad I’ve got this cave, and I retired deep into its warm, protected recesses to rest.
I don’t know if it’s in line to say I’d like to meet this man; technically, for that morning at least, I was him.