offered here as sort of an object lesson and an apology to people who have to respond to my correspondence
I am sorry I have taken so long to answer your last letter. One of the great disadvantages of being this age seems to be an occasional soul-sucking ennui. Fortunately, it doesnt seem to affect my entire day with depression, as it does to so many, but it does seem to render me unable to write for days on end. I am glad to know you are out there.. Knowing I have people to write to eventually makes me sit at the keys even if I don’t think I have anything to say. So if you get a note saying I am trying to write to you, or that I will write when I can, or “Got Letter. Not Dead.” you will know. Sincere, but slow, and feeling a little unsure, these days, about my writing and whether I am reaching any of you. I hope that you and Robin find your days brightened by a letter as much as mine is by yours.
So, I tried to write all week, and I had less luck than usual, but when I ran my efforts through the spell checker, it rejected the word love and suggested I use Love instead. I was unexpectedly touched by this tiny event, and spent a great deal of time thinking about the programer, and what his life is like.
Then Jim, said to me in the car - “Your hair is amazing in the headlights. It looks like you have thrown out a net of copper wire to catch any ideas that might be in the air.“
So if we find out together that I have nothing to say, I will blame it on bad ether. ******
One night as we sat with friends, a doe came up onto their back porch to eat from the bird feeder. They are very bold here. Our friends were annoyed, but it seemed wonderful to me, magical somehow.
So, I have been feeling dislocated in space and time. I found that suddenly I was somewhere between missing the dear familiar depths of winter and the comfortable and exhilarating feeling I get riding in the car, home through the dark on those too warm days of spring. Wheat in the fields was flowing over the ground in the wind like waves on the ocean. God, it makes me so homesick, even though this is my home now, has been my home for years, and I have come to love it here, enough that I could not now easily give it up. The smell of the bloom and the wet in the air always makes me feel like I am riding on the Jones Beach Causeway, no matter where we really are. When the wind is right, I can still smell the sea.
The little kid that rules so much of my life still has the urge to kneel on the seat and hang out the window like a puppy. These days I try to act like an adult, so I tend to sublimate it by scooting around under the seat belt until I can rest my back against the car door and feel the slip stream get a good grip on my hair. Yet, here I was , riding home in the car and totally possessed by the need to fly. Jim bought me a seat belt extender, so I am legally buckled up, but the truth of it all is I am halfway out the window almost all the time. My poor Jamie - but you'd think he would know better than to encourage me after nearly fifteen years. (It hardly seems reasonable that I am the one whose hair is turning white when he has to deal with living with me.)
I love the feeling of my hair flying out the window, cracking like a whip. I always think of Manly Wade Wellman telling me an Odd John story in an elevator in Baltimore, singing- Her skin was speckled like an egg, her eyes were brown as brown, her hair was like a thundercloud before the rain comes down, or Tom Waits singing on vinyl “her hair spilled out like root beer.“ in Burma Shave.
This is great weather for window driving too, although rain would be better still. I hate when we have to have the air conditioner on in the car; I don't feel like I have been anywhere near airborn. I am never happy these days unless I reach our destination with hair that looks like I have been rather too intimate with the whirlwind or a kitchen mixer.
Jim laughs at the way I fly down the road, driving, singing, talking to him, and suddenly pointing to animals on the roadside - Chipmunk - Bluejay - Bunny - Groundchuck - I tell him I am the 60 mph naturalist. I sometimes wonder if there is a book in that- learning to tell both the real and the imagined by what your brain can perceive at 60 miles an hour. Jim is always amazed that I can do it; he swears he can never spot anything smaller than a caribou. There is no good explanation for it. I look at everything. I have an affinity for live things. I was born with a Void of Course Moon. It is a wild talent… Perhaps it is the surfacing of some long disused but genetically stored hunting skill. (Related to the feeling that tells us that one should not attempt to gralloch a deer carcass armed only with a ceremonial knife and a circular saw? Yes, we did.Well, mostly Robin did. We also made use of the ornamental ironwork....)
Soon summer senses will replace the spring wheat fields waving and hanging in the chilly air tonight. I was overcome with the desire for speed and the smell of ripe corn standing in the fields, moonlight gleaming on the tall corn tassels. I hope that when I die I will have one piper and they will take my ashes deep into the fields and mix them with ocean water and the sweet corn pollen. Bees will be my chariot and I will journey everywhere as I travel back to the lands I love. *****
I spent most of the day in the Hickory Corner Library doing researchfor a friend’s book. I had a great day, actually, sitting in the big window and studying at a carrel. I managed to find enough Xerographable material to be able to goof off in the stacks for a while... always a favorite game. I cannot help but love to be in a place where people hand me more books than I am already holding and encourage me to take them home for free. If only they didn't want them back! I also get quite a lift of spirit when the Librarians call me by name and hand me the Xerox keys when I ask fro change. *****
I wanted to drive down to New Hope but it was late and I wasn't sure I could pick Jim up on time if I went. In the end, I gave in and went anyway, but I wasn’t able to park the car anywhere, so all I actually did was drive to Pennsylvania to use the money machine and get gas. (What do the people in big states do for fun?) But on the way home, a young dog fox came out into the road in front of the car, facing me down and making that heech-heech noise. I pulled over to the side of the road, and he cocked his head and looked at me, right in the face. He sauntered into the field and pronked in the long grass, six huge leaps and his paws curled to his chest, and then he came back to the road and looked me in the face again before he turned and ran off into the tall grass. I guess he had been waiting for his audience. He made my day. I felt like he had been sent to remind me that connections happen because they should happen, must happen, and not for any of the reasons I agonize over, loosing sleep. (Or, in my case, loosing the lack of sleep, waiting for omens.) He brought his little solar fire out onto the road and rekindled the light I was losing my hold on. He lit up my soul with the white-hot fire at the end of his tail. *****
Looking forward to the hurricane season, and hoping to become a more disciplined correspondant again.
Be well, and best always. Comfort and Joy. Please get in touch when you can.
I am Listening to: The New St. George / Wolfstone / Four Men And A Dog /Jeter La Pont
I am Reading: Mysteries by Kinky Friedman