Who's There?

Back in 1971 there was this earthquake, known to history as the Sylmar Earthquake. I was a youngster back then, younger than now anyway, but remember being shaken awake in the dark hours of early morning. Actually that is not quite right, what I do remember is standing in my bedroom doorway in the dark hours of early morning. My baby sisters bedroom was right across from the bedroom shared by my brother and myself. It was dark in her room, and made even more dark for the lack of lights, the shaking having knocked out the electricity. Anyway as I peered into that darkness I noticed something even darker, something I couldn't take my eyes off, as aftershock followed aftershock. Whatever it was sat on the floor hunched against the wall. In the inky black I was sure I recognized a body and rounded head, but who was it? Everyone in the family had been accounted for, and because of that I kept a watch, staring, expecting it to move towards the doorway at any second.

Forty-five years later I climb Fatt Hill on the newly signed Lakeview Trail, and upon sweeping around a right turn and reaching this straight stretch of trail I spot something in the distance, hunched at the side of the trail. In the shade of a tree, the shadowy form is devoid of detail, but human-like in posture. I am sure there is someone sitting there, but after all these ascents know that it is merely a few pieces of wood. That doesn't matter - memory, imagination play strange tricks, and there is always that initial shock that someone is there. Waiting.