27 August 2004

Trip: An Outlander, a Thousand Towns.
(8/15) I met Jeremy on a Sunday, at a small park miles into the starry darkness; I left for Michigan, alone, on a Sunday night – there is no greater freedom than going somewhere alone on a Sunday night.
The fall crept in from the north, and peered from the crimsoning ridges – our fire was low and filled with steam and wet hissing; I slept well, and woke late, to bright sun and happy children laughing.
(8/16) We hiked on trails flanked by hedges (thoughts of vineyards) and descended shady ravines and climbed grassy hills and passed across an old cracked deserted parking lot (thoughts of the ends of the worlds) then
ate lunch
then
a long afternoon, watching clouds dance, reading (a ghost story), a nap, the curious sensation of time’s slowdown
then
a shower (thoughts of travel), wet spider’s webs
then
a hiking trip, over a bridge onto an island, through close woods, a sky painted on a glowing lake speckled with tiny islands (reachable by canoe only) and then into reclaimed fields and hedges (more thoughts of vineyards) and heightening dusk; a woman wore too much perfume – a man looked like he was riding an ostrich in the failing light
then
dinner; night broke completely, an explosion of full darkness. The stove’s flames cast us in flimsy projection
then
another bubbling fire that fizzed and bled smoke (thoughts of old friends, most of whom I don’t care about anymore)
then
sleep (boisterous stars).
(8/17) Woke, from my sleep.
Broke camp (thoughts of Canada).
When we couldn’t rent a skiff, we set off in search of the clogged river.
Farewell, Jeremy. If only you weren’t so busy…
Another shower (giddy freedom, a sensation of space).
Eastward, to foreign lands, and the big bridge at Port Huron, and wild optimism, longing, loud conversations with myself, and Beck, and stopping for gas and ice and tire-air outside some dismal shithole Michigan town; the stern lady at the border asked me questions, the humidity climbed, I spun down the 402 (The King’s Highway), (thoughts of Sarah who knows this road); I bent northward, regarded Huron’s massive gasping on an incongruous square of grass (thoughts of odd perfection), bent east again along the lakeside through stadiums of trees (the fields danced proudly under dangling storm clouds).
I wanted to lay my bed down, to make home.
The Pinery was bustling – a store, a restaurant, a rental shop, hives of tourists – despite being poised on the lip of nothing.
The sky: so bizarre and wonderful (a heartbreaking, unfathomable vastness). I registered and arranged for the night – a pall of silence, an orange stormlight, a bike ride (through the hills at dazzling speed).
Dinner in gloom, alone. I missed Jeremy, and Sarah, and had thoughts of home. It rained, a sudden vertical deluge. I ate in the car.
I lay reading, then somehow stoked a steamy fire that filled my eyes with smoke.
I had a nightmare that was to haunt me through the next day.
(8/18) There is an addictive feeling of independence that comes with traveling of your own volition.
Riding a bicycle to a distant trail.
Soup. Lazy old afternoon (reading, napping, watching filtered sunlight dance on my heavy eyes)
In the evening I found myself on a dock alone, on the brim of a river, at the end of a long trail. I came very close to the mystery of my happiness and my sadness, and penned perhaps my greatest lyric.
dinner in darkness preceded a long walk preceded a windy lightless fire preceded bedding down preceded falling asleep despite desperate silence
(8/19) I woke just as dawn was falling, and peed on a bush. A shopping bag looked like a ghost.
The sun was brilliant, uninteresting. The temperature, the humidity had dropped, and I felt depressed.
For there was no consequence.
But London welcomed me home again, and I roamed, a weary traveler, through her neighborhoods, said hallo to the Lamplighter, ate and drank and raised a toast to summer’s passing, sipped coffee at midnight with Gibran, then sat below a gleaming basilica, and debated the existence of time.
In Victoria Park, beneath the stars and the halo of the city, I was profoundly happy; and sadness met me, and said hello, and took me by the arm. We walked home together, the three of us, stopping to peer at old houses, and interesting patterns of shadows.
(8/20) Uniformity is humdrum.
Give me tornadoes, but not too much wind.
Every driving-home day is a Sunday; this one was a Friday, and gray and rainy and fairly boring, and I forwent MAKING GOOD TIME for further exploration, and curved south for many miles until I could go no further, and hiked in the rain to the drone of plaster dummies’ snoring – the forest was wet and aching green and drippy (thoughts of winter days spent wanting) and led me to a Point, pinprick terminus of sand, leather boots in frothy water (the southernmost man in Canada); spun L. Cohen songs that made the rain and the end of summer okay (Americans came in the ‘50s because of the Riveria atmosphere, and I envied their arrival).
It rained and the towns bent and slept. (Odelay, just passing through).
The GM building looms like a glass ghost over the entrance to America, leering and empty.
I ate a Michigan dinner, surrounded by fat limping shadows.
A sky distended with sun – “It’s Nobody’s Fault But My Own.”
Now I am a teacher, but still very happy thank you.
I wrote three six-word stories.
She buried him. He came back./ She slept with many, died alone./ Extra innings, windblown homer, Cubs win!
Sarah got a new car and works all the time.
My cat Spice, one of my oldest and dearest friends, died while I was away. He had a big, loud mouth and cute blue eyes, and liked to paw at doors, liked being held. I miss him a lot, but I’m glad he didn’t suffer much (he had cancer).

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