Thursday, March 05, 2015


Walked across the valley of 82nd Avenue and up onto the eastern slopes of Mt Tabor, yesterday: Mt Hood white and vast, its foothills (for once) clearly delineated. You could see the form of every rise leading from here to there. I imagined walking there -- I often imagine such things -- in bits: driving out to however far I got last time, and walking on from there. Like so many projects I imagine, the overhead would accumulate to intolerable levels before it was done.

Every view of Mt Hood was slashed with power and telephone wires. It's strange to me how aware I am of that cordage up there, and how oblivious everyone else seems to be. It's not even that I mind it, though I do, sometimes. It's just so present to me: the sharp black cuts dividing every city sky into sliding parallelograms and triangles, hypnotically tangling and untangling as one walks. I'm not sure that most people even see the sky at all, day to day.

Of course, thoughts like that tend to veer into nasty self-congratulation and self-reification. Best to cut them loose.

You, sitting sideways at the top of the half-flight of stairs in your bathrobe, consulting the calendar on your laptop. I was reminded of how Martha used to sit in front of the furnace vent in the little hallway on Milroy Street. Sometimes you can feel the current of time pulling on you and pouring past you: it's like sitting braced against the current of a river in the mountains. No problem; no problem; but any moment of inattention could be disastrous.

So I attend: and the stars come and go, and the planets shift. Orion walks over the southern sky, with Sirius bounding at his heels, over the heads of the douglas firs. The moon rises fat and full. My hands pleasantly sore from days full of massage: the lingering scent of lavender or bergamot or palo santo. Jupiter caroming off Leo and vanishing to westwards. I suppose it's more accurate to think of the moon as falling behind, but I usually think of the stars and planets as scurrying ahead, losing their footing, and then sliding down the slick western slopes of heaven. Not as much traction as the moon.

I stretch, crack my knuckles, shrug. A deep breath. I am the lieutenant of a missing captain. No message, no marching orders, but I'm still under military discipline. -- Unless I've simply been forgotten, and the army is disbanded, and everyone else is making their way home.


Zhoen said...

I tend to notice all the wires when I photograph, but my mind edits them out otherwise - most of the time.

My hands are stained with soil, different aches, and a sense of doing. Sons of toil covered in tons of soil.

Nimble said...

I the R. Crumb film I was struck by his description of the ugliness of aerial powerlines in America. He carefully added them to his drawings while despising them.

Moon traction. heh

Kristen Burkholder said...

You wrote this on my birthday so of course I take it personally. ;)
finally immersing myself in some Mole!
Thank you dale. I esp. liked the last sentence.

Kristen Burkholder said...

P.S. massaging with lavender or bergamot sounds wonderful but what is...palo santo?

Dale said...

Palo santo is a new world relative of frankincense. It's not a scent you want to spring on anyone -- it's distinctive -- but people who like it *really* like it.