Falling Pine Cone

“Grandfather, tell me a story; I want to hear the first story you heard.”

The Grandson tugged at his grandfather’s shirt sleeve.
“Grandfather, tell me a story; I want to hear the first story you heard.”
The Grandfather sat down next to his grandson and said listen well.
My Grandfather shared this with me, so I will share it with you.
The grandson smiled as he sat back in his chair.
“It was the early days when creatures were teaching us to be human.
High above the forest, just a forest of so many forests,
a Raven was gliding, seeing and taking in the hills and so many trees, and on those trees, so many branches and, as it was spring, so many pine cones.
The Raven began to glide to one of those branches, and a pine cone dropped as he landed.
The Raven watched the Pine cone bounce off other branches as it made its way to the ground.
There were other cones that also let go after being hit.
They landed on the ground and joined the other pine cones that surrounded the Pine tree amongst the fallen and now red needles and dirt and roots.
The Raven tilted its head,
Curious that pine cones fall
and thought,
They are like stories; they let go of where they were and take their stories with them to where they are now.
The Raven took off in flight again, soaring above the forest. Just another forest of so many, with so many branches and so many pine cones.
Above those forests, there were more Ravens flying from branch to branch and cones letting go of where they were and taking their stories with them to where they are now.
And the Forest floor was covered with red needles and pine cones”.
The Grandfather and Grandson sat in silence while a Raven flew by the window, then landed on a pine tree in the yard.

Cassin Finch

Made my way to the front door. The finch was sitting on the storage box, squinting its eye at me.
“Good Morning,” I greeted,
It chirped an exclamated cuss word at me as it flew out the front door and over my head.

An Early Saturday Morning,
walking out to my assigned bus under the pink glow of TMOBILE Stadium. I saw a fluttering behind the windshield of 7024.
It settled down onto the steering wheel.
We looked each other in the eye,
its little beak tilted, and its eyes seemed to squint at me.
I began to open the side window, which made the little finch flutter again and fly to the back of the bus.
I reached through the window, started the engine and, opened both doors, continued my inspection around the coach.
Made my way to the front door. The finch was sitting on the storage box, squinting its eye at me.
“Good Morning,” I greeted,
It chirped an exclamated cuss word at me as it flew out the front door and over my head.
I uttered back to it,
“Stuck in a bus all night is no place for you”!
I quickly lost sight of that Cassin as it fluttered back to its freedom of sparse trees, brush, and freeway underpasses.
I searched for droppings, just one near the rear door.

My second run of 106 was quite a bit busier than average.
A woman in her 30s entered the bus very thin, worn jeans, faded green hoody, tennis shoes with holes, no socks. Clearly high on some kind of nonweed substance, but she was keeping to herself and quietly sat down about mid-bus, put her head between her knees, and began to sleep.
I checked on her when I reached the last stop in Chinatown.
She was out. I did manage to wake her, let her know where we were. She wanted to sleep. “OK, but you’ll have to exit the bus when we reach Renton” I let her have her sleep and made my way to the layover, then began my 3rd run.
When we reached Renton, she was still out but, after several attempts, did respond to my loud voice.
She wouldn’t leave, I let her know she needed to or I would have to call this in, “Do you need medical attention”?
No, she said,
Mam, I have to ask you to leave. We need to take this bus back on the routes, and you can no longer stay.
” I need a DR, she said.
Mam, I’ll call that in if you do need medical attention. They will make sure you get off the bus.
She faked going back to sleep.
I called it in,
let TCC know she asked for medical attention, but I had my doubts,
He sternly let me know they take medical requests seriously,
“OK, she asked,” I said.
Shortly both the police and fire department arrived,
asked her if they could help her, she declined medical attention.
“We can’t do anything if she declines help.”
the responder said.
The police took her by the shoulders and removed her from the bus.
I quickly closed the door as she tried to re-enter.
Her head was down, looking defeated and confused in my right mirror as I pulled away.
Later that evening, taking my walk through Lincoln Park, listening to birds being busy with their mating and territory calls, fluttering and settling in amongst branches of Cedars, Pine, and Alders.
Walking on Dirt trails between duos and singles found their way through the crowd. We were all wrapped in coats and scarves, knit hats hiding foreheads, cell phones being held to ears.
It was a crowd moving and in mid-stride to their collective destinations.
The Sun began to rest on the slow blue horizon
the crowd’s shadows were long, then disappearing while the sky turned grey.
Waves on the shore kissed rocks and sand
another Cassin Finch flew by my head and cussed a squeak.
I thought of my rearview mirror, a figure, thin,
head down, quiet with no movement, her shadow on the pavement beginning to shorten as the sunlight was above her.


An elderly woman entered my bus just before the bridge in Freemont.

An elderly woman entered my bus just before the bridge in Freemont.
She asked what the best way to get to the convention center over freeway park was.
I responded that I could drop her off at 3rd and Pine, then she should walk to Pike, catch the 10, and let the driver know where she is going. The driver will make sure you get as close to there as we can.
“Thank you. She said”
A young gentleman entered after her; my guess is he is 18 or so, sagging jeans, a red jacket and hat, dark sunglasses. He didn’t speak as he walked by and stood next to her.
They started a conversation,
“My son is giving a presentation at the convention today; I’m going to watch him,
“That’s nice,” he said. They chatted on, and he shared he had just started community college until he figured out what he wanted to do.
They hit it off, she over 80, chatting it up with him, and his heart seemed to warm to her as well.
We arrived at the stop at 3rd and Pike,
He stepped off first, took her hand, and helped her off the bus,
explaining to her that he would make sure she got to her next stop ok.
Together they crossed through the crosswalk. He kicked a used soda can out of their way, trashed papers blew against the building in front of them that had its windows covered with graffitied plywood.

I continued south on 3rd to the Marion stop
and remembered a building that was recently replaced.
There was a mural painted on the side of a building.
It was an advertisement for Coca-Cola that had been painted long ago.
It faced north. Over the years, its red background softly blended into the wall of brick the building was made of. The white letters of Cocacola greyed of Seattle’s salt air and urban grime.
I had always imagined it had been there for decades facing north, it’s classic graphic lasting those decades from being bright and new, fresh in appearance and promise of being of the times.
A testament to excellent marketing.
Then fading with its nostalgia becoming part of the background, to fading that softened with its color as a newer building demands its space. Then one day, the graphic against those old, well-witnessed bricks are gone and replaced with new metal, glass, and stone that will take the oversight of Seattle’s buildings and comings and goings for the next any number of decades as it takes in the saltwater air and urban grime.
That is the task of our buildings as we walk in and out and pass them.
They are tools that are built for our convenience. Our current fashion will add paint decoration or slapped on attributes,
When they begin to lose their convenience, they have lived their life and will make room for another that will become the new witness in their place.

I often think of a phrase spoken by a Monk:
We are what we think; All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
And I find all this humanity, In a Bus.

TT Chaufer
AKA: Eric Hall, 22673 Ryerson Base
For more stories: Transittransientsandotherstories.com


The woman sipped out of her campfire mug, the steam breathing upwards as the light rain dropped to the ground.


In the first hours of daylight savings, driving by Goodwill on 6th and Holden.
On their loading dock, a small campfire was burning. A woman in a wheelchair, red blanket wrapped her body, green knitted cap wrapped her head.
The fire was being attended to by a man in a plaid flannel shirt, jeans that had been rolled up over his boots.
His Trucker hat tilted towards the fire as he pushed pieces of wood into the fire.
I thought
The loading dock door must’ve been good for reflecting back the heat and the light.
The woman sipped out of her campfire mug, the steam breathing upwards as the light rain dropped to the ground, silent in the black sky and hum of traffic.
Winter had been stubborn to leave this year.
Its cold and wetness keeping spring at bay for a while longer.
I’m driving the D line up 3rd Ave that day.
Similar Fires have been made at James, the 7-11 at Marion, Pike,
then Virgina.

Street people standing or sitting around the fires,
drinking, eating, smoking.
Wrapped in blankets and coats,
trash feeding the fires.
Their conversations breathing steam upwards with no rain to wash it down again.
I head West onto Elliot, then North on 15th Ave W.
The clouds have parted for the Sun on our first day of spring; the winter air bites back through my cracked side window.
A slight smell of smoke in the air.
I listen to my tires against the pavement, then over turtles as I approach Dravus.
One of the regulars steps onto the bus, swipes her Orca card as I wish her Good Morning.
She says,
Happy Spring.

Cedar and Sea

Speaking to Tides, currents and waves.

Cedar And Sea

It was dusk with the crescent moon above the cedars overlooking the bluff that overlooked the water way that was said led to the bigger water that from the view of the moon, led to the other side of the world.

On the Bluff above the shore is a special place for Trees.

As the roots reach to the rocky pebbled beach

Roots exposed to ever lapping water

The push, then pull of waves.

The sound of the water as it comes and goes

Dripping off exposed roots,

Over time, exposing the underbelly that lies beneath the bark.

The skin that wraps the veins of the tree.

Water being pulled into the tree, then washed out as an ebb tide.

Lapping an applause like falling creeks

The Cedar Roots hold strong as the Earth on the edge of the waters waves erodes into its currents

Exposing Roots that connect to Trunks overlooking the bluff.

Waves splashing against, then washing away at its bark, Its inner bark, then skin, then as the tree releases parts of its inner self into the water to be carried by the currents.

This is where Sea and Tree are one and the same.

Speaking to tides, currents and waves.

Sheba and Mice

Last week, I heard a familiar guttural meow

When I first met Sheba, she was new in adulthood, belonged to my then roommate who had a house in North Seattle.

Next door was a house that had a rather rough past over the previous decade. It sat empty, needed some repairs, and its separate garage sat a couple feet away from the fence between the homes.

Sheba, like so many young cats, full of her hunter felineness, feisty, rambunctious, playful.

Her genocide on the local rodent population was both impressive and irritating.

I would find mice heads on the floor, an occasional rat that wasn’t that much smaller than her.

She would bring them to my bed, deliver them to my slippers.

I think she was convinced I could not feed myself.

At the foot of the stairs while I was working on some lamps

She spit out a baby that convulsed, then died.


After all that, she really is a sweet cat.

Like many cats in my experience.

She did meet her match.

She got in a fight with a grey stray cat that had been circling the area for a while.

He beat her up, he made it clear who owned the territory outside.

He would lurk outside after that, I chased him off a few times

She was cautious after that.

Didn’t go outside as much.

Rarely caught a rodent

(which I thought was good)

But the change in her I thought was a little sad.

She is a little cat.

As big as her spirit is, she could not overcome the large grey cat that had a passion to keep his territory available for his food.

There was no further discussion for her.

She would go outside, but not for long, and didn’t go far.

If the door closed behind her, she would come back and paw at the door.

It was clear she wanted an escape.

A Few years ago, I moved into a house in Burien.

It was a house that had a number of stray cats.

She was timid to get to know the yard.

Wanted me around to escort her at first.

I kept an eye on her,

She came across strays that taught her of the pecking order of the neighborhood.

Indoor cats do not do well.

There were no mice. ( that’s a good thing )

We would take walks in the morning, in the evening.

She would smell bushes, walk cautiously as we did.

Eventually, she is comfortable with the door being open as she explores the yard alone.

Never gone too long, she comes in, checks on me, then steps out again.

Last week,

I heard a familiar guttural meow.

She had a small mouse in her mouth, she laid it at my feet while I was sitting at my desk.

It was whole, but dead.

She was proud of her catch.

It had been a long time.

I was surprised with the cats in the neighborhood that there were mice.

She found one. Caught it, did what cats do.

She was happy with herself.

It had been a long time.

This well into adulthood, pudgy indoor cat, still has the hunt in her eyes.

She loved being a cat again.

As much as I hate having to deal with dead rodents.

I was happy she was feeling her “catness”