On Higher Branches

Back doing factory work again.  I had my old job as a material handler, running to and fro, making sure the machines didn’t run out of dye or material.  But now all the presses were out in the open air of a summer night in amongst a small grove of chestnut trees, and each tree was inextricably bound up with the workings of a different press; the cogs and gears, the pistons and valves, all inter-meshed with the bark and twisting sinews of the tree trunk until it was impossible to distinguish the two.  I scrambled around from press to press, making sure this one had the right dye, hearing that telltale suction noise that warned me that this other one was nearly out of material, stopping just long enough to wipe away the sweat with my sleeve.

Our work involved feeding these trees and helping them grow.  Each fresh load of material brought a wooden crackle from each one of the trees and I could see the branches reach out just a little farther in the dark, twisting in new directions, sprouting new leaves at their tips.  On the ground we all bustled along.  There were lights clustered around the press at the base of each tree, and the clink of metal on metal and the rumble of machinery and the abrasive edge of rough voices continued through the night.  But from time to time, I had to climb the trees to fill the dye loaders, and this took me up above the noise and the hot, busy air.  From my perch on a high branch there was a nice breeze and I could see the full moon high above and the yellow blossoms of soft lamp lights somewhere below.

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4 thoughts on “On Higher Branches

  1. This reminds me of my favourite dream of all time. I think I was six when I had it. I've written it down before but don't know if I could still find it.

    Can you say what the feeling was that accompanied this dream?

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  2. For one, there was a certain degree of anxiety in trying to keep up with keeping the machines stocked, a sense of regret at throwing myself back into the frying pan by returning to this job. Typical feelings I often have about these “returning to the factory” type dreams. In fact, I almost didn't write about this one because these dreams don't seem like they tend to yield very interesting material.

    Ah, but then there was another side of it, a kind of enchanted feeling when a dream creates a place or a thing or a situation impossible in real life and yet incredibly appealing to some child-like sense of make-believe. And this was the factory outdoors in amongst this grove of trees. It seemed so familiar, like it should be so, but yet could never be. And so THAT is what made me decide to go ahead and write about this one, and of course I played up that angle more than the other. The bustling around is still there, but more as part of that mood and energy of working outside at night.

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  3. Yeah, this sounds oddly relaxing. Whimsical. A factory itself is pretty heartless. Chaotic. But a factory among the trees, where you can climb and see the full moon and escape it all for a moment – that sounds like a dream job. Pun possibly intended.

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