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.