Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sky’s the Limit, Part 2


On my way home from an errand downtown, I was absorbing the fall colors when I was suddenly struck through by the desire to see the portion of California’s Sierra Nevada foothills that lay just east of where I was born. I’ve taken many a slow drive through those hills, in every season, borne along by silence, thought, and emotion that seemed part of the rocks and dry grass themselves, under skies brooding, empty, and troubled, and at times defined by a single column of smoke or a hawk soaring with outstretched wings. Feeling as I do — as I still do twenty-two years after leaving the San Joaquin Valley and coming to Oregon — it’s little wonder that, on the rare occasions I’m asked about my influences, I begin with the place of my birth and the area around it, rather than any given writer, friend, or relative. And yet I do feel at home here, at least most of the time — and foolish, and rich, and defiant, and happy, and proud, and lonely perhaps most of all. I feel at home wherever I am, especially alone in a crowd, and I dig my graves as I go.


Update:
In the Forum: The Silverado Squatters and an old photo of Robert Louis Stevenson.

8 comments:

Joseph Hutchison said...

One of your most beautiful stretches of writing, William. That final sentence describes me as well, and I wish I had the art to have written it!

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Joe. Your grace is an art in itself.

ALeks said...

"...and I dig my graves as I go."-
William this is so wonderful what you wrote here,no poor language of mine could come close to describe the feelings washing me right now from all the lonelyness and uglyness of my past years,tears are so welcome.Thank you for sharing this juwel with us,all the best,
Aleksandra :O)

vazambam said...

The sky's the limit--or how to be a hawk soaring, digging your graves as you go-- wonderfully uplifting, William!

William Michaelian said...

As are your kind words, Vassilis. As always, they have wind beneath their wings.

Aleksandra, your language is rich in spirit, and your desire to convey and share how you feel is what gives it life and brings your message home. And it isn’t limited to words, as your beautiful paintings and photographs prove.

Elisabeth said...

I love to read about the changing seasons on the other side of the world, William. You have the colours and falling leaves, while we have falling blossoms and a panoply of roses.

Rachel said...

Hier schwingt Sehnsucht mit und ein Gefühl von Zufriedensein...

herzlich, Rachel

William Michaelian said...

Elisabeth and Rachel, I want to say autumn moves and disturbs me at a deeper level, but I’m not so sure it’s true. Each season, as it comes along, seems an acute manifestation of something happening deep inside me. And the recurring changes, in their infinite subtle variety, form a procession I see mirrored in all living things. The feeling of longing, of course, is also part of thought and memory. I do find that I’m more apt to remember different types of things in different seasons, as if, like scents and sounds, each season holds a key to different parts of my brain. But I also remember feeling this way at a very early age, certainly before I was ten. The reservoir of memories was not nearly as deep, but the effect the changing seasons had on me was profound. No wonder I used to talk to myself!