Friday, October 24, 2008

California

Leaving San Francisco today after an my carriage of exhaustion caught up with me. We've put 3600 miles behind us, crossed between broad & golden plains, undulating dunes, vast & desolate salt flats, the jagged & sloping rocks of the tahoe wilderness, the sand & low ripple of the lake itself, the valley cloaked in a sunset haze, & finally, here in this city, where the buildings loom unending overhead & tower down avenues on & on until the ocean yawns its response.

Glad to be moving along, but I must note the sense of gratitude I have for everyone along the way. My brother & Dawn, the Brosches, my parents, Stef's parents; we seem to be on precisely the right path. Now to turn northwards & glide up the coast into that verdure that awaits. My life, my life, it looks a bit strange right now, but I feel a dormant vibrance awakening. I feel, simply, wonder.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Boondocks

Here in Denver again after a prolonged while away. In Minnesota I thought after trying to lend substance to some fugitive memories, trying to hunt for branches with my initials carved boldy in youth, for my name falling out in casual conversations among friends I once held dear. I sat in the car & looked over the Commons, where I spent so many hours as a teenager, where the passage of time seemed an abstraction, then, hardly worth contemplating. In remembrance, I feel still the kiss of the breeze, the smell of tobacco mingled with fresh-cut grass, the chthonic heft of wet lichen on the rocks at the shore. The bark's thick sinews on the bough overhanging the water. The fine sand cold under my feet in the autumn. & that attending spirit of youth, laid bare in its gaping, honest simplicity.

I looked for myself in these places, auguring, divining, as if they would speak, lend me substance, reify these strange & changeling songs in my heart. I found nothing. I found places with names, filled with people that I did not know.

There was a truckstop where my brother & I used to stop every time we drove between Des Moines & Minneapolis called Boondocks. Every time, we played a game of chess at the little worn picnic table by the rust-red miniature oil drill & the green fire hydrant labeled for use by "city dogs." As we approached it this time, coming south, I had every intention of stopping. I thought, without thinking, that perhaps it, too, could tell me a story that would sound familiar, a tale in which the characters spoke in recognizable cadence, in which their features would resembled my own. I drove past the exit in tears. What can a place tell you about yourself? As if we deposit ourselves, invest our identities so forcefully upon our environments that they are coined anew, baring the mark of our having-been. As if a truckstop could spell my name, a blade of grass call after me.

We linger where we have been, but we leave no ghost, not while we live. As we are, we are the nearest semblance of completion we can hope to know. I can't tell you what I hoped to find in those natural talismen of my past, but every one of them became a mirror unto my present. Yesterday cannot so neatly rhyme with this moment, as it unfolds & unfolds, a still point leaving a wide wake reft in its backwater that roils & tumbles until it quiets into a hush & pacific sheen.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Minnesota Rain

This morning, the steady beat of the rain upon the window panes, the homogenously grey sky hung overhead, the variously hued leaves slick on the ground in their coats of red & yellow & brown. A morning like this calls the sensate to mind, or the phenomena of sense memory. That a sensory acquisition can come already endowed with a kind of emotional heft. That the thought of dew gathering on your leather shoe can conjure something else entire. Or that you can imagine the cold leaves, how they feel in your hands, their crispness gone, their spines supple & malleable, that cold water dripping off quiet & collected. Rain subsumes every sound, in the most wonderful possible way. Twigs break, cars drive past, but everywhere, everywhere that sleepy consistent hum. I have missed rain more than I ever thought possible; Colorado rains fell for minutes & dissipated. New Mexico had its half-hour monsoons in the late summer. Something about the enduring rainstorm, though, I absolutely love. Nothing profound to say of it, nothing particular to do. Mid-move, the country yawning out between us & the San Juans, where rain falls & falls & falls.