There was a lone piper on the hill when I opened my eyes. He was playing, but I couldn’t quite make out the melody. You know it is going to be a strange day when you wake to bagpipes.
I looked around at the bleak landscape. Windblown hill faces, flat tops, occasional trees that were shaped by persistent winds, and not happily.
The piper was closer now. I hadn’t seen him moving, but he was now standing on the next line of hills.
Or perhaps I had moved towards him?
I wasn’t all that sure, to be honest.
I was beginning to realize that honesty was absolutely a good idea here. Wherever that might be.
I also somehow knew that hearing the music would be irrevocable. Somehow my current situation was ambiguous. But if I heard the piper, it would be certain. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to hear him.
Not only was the landscape bleak, but I was alone. So very alone. There were no other people to be seen in any direction. I am sure there had been some people near me before I went to sleep. But their memory was shadowy, suggestive, and ambiguous. I realized that I no longer knew my own name.
The real punch was the realization that I was not breathing. Had not taken a breath since I opened my eyes. Was not even sure if I could breathe.
In my panic, I opened my eyes again, to find a bright light and a circle of concerned people. There was no music playing, but the noise was music to my ears. It had been a close call. In my minds eye, I could see the piper salute, turn and walk away, his services not needed any more.