I want so much to write. I’d like to be still for a day or two; to draw. To draw at a rate more like I was in October— daily. Or nearly so. To have space for things to percolate and bubble to the surface from below.
Instead, I’ve been kept moving, pulled in multiple directions— and good ones. I’m feeling positive and interested in both the work and other pursuits I’ve been drawn to lately. But I miss the drawing, and its attendant writing.
I look forward to my week upstate at Christmastide, to be still some. And of course to time spent with my family and the animals. Wanders around the Farm to say hi to the Dudes*, take photos, and listen to the quiet of winter up there. Walk the fields. Watch murder mysteries with Mom; talk books and politics with Dad; see a movie with the brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. (Probably the odd game of euchre or gin rummy.)
Some quiet nights in the second floor with a big orange cat lying on the bed as I read or type away on my laptop. Maybe he and I will get lost in the attic for minute, time traveling through old things, cast aways in an uninsulated room where the occasional bird finds her way in but not out— leaving behind, at length, a pile of airy bones in the low-ceilinged space beneath the pitched roof. A room mostly neglected and filled with the memories of several generations. (My kind of room)
All these things will make me feel rested and calm; remind me that no one is ever at the helm in this world. Not for long, anyway, and there is a comfort in that. Just as there is comfort in watching slow snow falling on the grass, gone brown in the fall in preparation for the long winter’s sleep.
. . .
I must quiet my mind.
Sometimes it can be done with reading on the train. And sometimes it needs to be done by formulating, or finding, some clear thing out of the jumble of tangled strings and wires— the ones that formed knots in one’s head during the tumult of the day.
Saturday evening, perhaps twenty minutes before the arrival of some friends, as I sat on the Queen Anne, a shadow shape limped into my peripheral. I said Mouse! And then my tone changed immediately as I saw him slump to a stop on the floor just a few feet from me, and close his eyes. …Mouse?
I thought he may have perished before me in that instant, as he did not move when I interrogated him, nor when I stood up.
My mind searched for what I might do about his limp body. I fetched a wooden drawer that I’d just come across the day before, folded a paper towel in, and used a second to pick the poor thing up. He did not so much as blink when I approached, so I knew he must be feeling very poorly, but he was not yet dead..
I set the box on the kitchen table, and put a tiny butter-pat dish of water and some few pieces of granola in, and left him. He moved around a few times, perhaps trying to get comfortable. I’d warned my guests of his presence, and we left him in there while we gathered in the living room.
Hours later after they’d gone, I went in to check on my new charge, and found the box empty, without so much as a thank you. He clearly had recovered, with speed. Lord knows where he is now, but the insolence! Such rudeness!
Next morning after relaying this new to one of my visitors, I could only joke on the disappearance, “Just like a man!” And then there’s me— always taking in broken things.
I’ve been on a new trajectory. It’s great; it’s weird, It’s new. I love new.
I also love Old. That’s neither here nor there. I’ve been feeling like a teenager again, lately. In the sense where I’m acutely aware how temporary so many people in one’s life tend to be. It’s not a judgement call; only acknowledgement of reality.
Most folks are temporary. There’s a time during which you overlap. It ends.
The thing to always remember is that you’re permanent. Be permanent to yourself. A solid. And recognize those who exhibit permanent qualities in return— they’re your rocks. Will help get you to your True North. The Keepers.
Out the front window near my desk, the swifting plash of car tires; drips dripping off the curled iron of the fire escape.
Out the back window, where the trees climb higher than the roof, rain soft patterings on wet leaves; there is no wind today.
The leaves have not even begun to consider a change of wardrobe, as Summer lingers; couch surfing straight into October.
(This is from last week, when it was still in the 80ºs.)
In summer my fingernails
grow like weeds—
just grow and grow and there’s
no stopping them.
All that vitamin d; sunlight
so I have to clip, trim,
file. Sand down the edges
that snag on my shirt or a
They’re long now, but instead of
cutting, clipping, reigning in, I
have the urge to paint them.
The brightest color I can find.
I’ve no patience for that
occupation. Always I ruin
the lacquer, a fidgeting sitter,
and even when I don’t, the color
soon chips away. My hands
are tools; these nails are daggers,
But I chafe at practicality
in back-to-school season.
So I’ll color instead of clip
and wait for them to chip—
a reminder that nothing lasts
forever, not even lacquer, or
fingernails, and definitely
The wires are a connective element; a conduit of civilizing electricity, yet there is an insistence on isolation inherent in the design of some of the houses here. Beyond an eye toward privacy, they sometimes feel fortress-like, extending a feeling of invitation only to those already familiar; only to those whose homes they are.
On a grey day, after the season has come to a close, these intimations feel exaggerated, thrown into relief, creating a different sense of drama— the sunny delights of summer recede, leave behind arresting silhouettes along the shore and among the stands of trees.