Thursday, July 15, 2010
That’s exactly what I’ll be pondering the next few days, in a different place, in other towns, through mountains on highways leading north, on forest paths, in strange restaurants, and maybe even a used bookstore or two. As I’ve told a few people privately, it’s been many years since my wife and I have traveled beyond the grocery store. Our lives and responsibilities simply haven’t permitted it. They scarcely do now, but since my mother’s care is in expert, dependable hands, we’ve decided to wager a full tank of gas against what remains of our sanity. To put it another way, worn to a frazzle, we’re at long last contemplating the possibility of coming up for air. Beyond that, the future remains unsure, as life with this writer has always been, and apparently must be if he’s to go on playing the game.
Our son will be traveling with us. In fact, we’re going in his car. Our destination, roughly, is Port Angeles, Washington, and the Olympic Forest. The name Hurricane Ridge has come up several times lately. It’s been a long time since I’ve stood on a mountaintop, even one only a mile high. I’ve hiked at twice that altitude, gasped in the thin air, tasted snow and ash, inhaled the mad scent of wildflowers. And I’ve looked upward from the valley floor, through heat and dust and fumes, at jagged, inaccessible peaks.
I do the same each day, here at my desk.
Changes. I can feel them in my bones. So many of my own, now, dead and gone. Other names on familiar mailboxes. Dead friends. Rusted bedsprings. Old trees down.
How many reams of paper to say I just don’t know? How many books? How many portraits with mournful eyes? Time will tell.
We’ll be leaving soon. I might check in while we’re on the road. But if I don’t, you have my thanks wherever I go.
In the Forum: a hint of mechanical daylight.