Monday, December 23, 2013

Two months' of journal snippets.

Fall in the mountains: Woke with melting frost dripping on my head, dead leaves sifting through a tangle of willows, blue sky snapped tight like a sheet out to dry. The morning sun makes everything look more golden than it already is -- burnt, burnished, waiting for snow. The coffee in my tin cup gets cold before my fingers can warm up. ...

Tonight after work I went out to the small grocery store just as it was closing; the kids who work there having a last cigarette in the parking lot, pushing the carts in a train toward the door. The four-way stop in town was empty of traffic, moon rising over the hill, my bicycle creaking, rolling home through silent, dreaming streets...

I dreamt last night that I took Jesse to Vermont, that we went to a ski mountain and the drive in was beautiful, the mountains taller than they really are, hazy on the horizon, and Jesse exclaimed how beautiful it was, and lift tickets were only $4. Places that do not exist except in other dreams, places I do not know but that are real in the dreamworld I have built slowly, one night at a time, a few pebbles each night (except, sometimes, with a flash of lightning, one that brings a whole city into being in less than an hour) -- those places were there -- a house up a windy road on a hill, a restaurant, a collection of cabins under thick pines. Dirt roads, a friend's house. Jesse liked it all, and I was happy.

All day, I write, and yet time passes unmarked; the days slide by as stealthily as fog. Thanksgiving is past, autumn is past - winter blew in overnight, eight inches of sparkling snow, a fine sift of powder falling all day. In the evening, after a good day at work, I eat thin slices of elk, then go for a glittering starlight snowshoe above town, looking down at the houses with Christmas lights and up at the gathering stars, the dissipating clouds. Headlamp off, tramping over the blanket of snow, making tracks intersected only by those of deer, and perhaps the mountain lions that we know are here somewhere, out of sight... The trees and shrubs are strange, twisted lumps under the snow ... lungs burning, nose cold, heart full ... a burst of laughter, then home to a soft blanket, hot cocoa, and the last 20 pages of a book.

The days slide by like fog over the river, but sometimes the fog burns off and a day stands out, shining, clear.

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