This Leaving Place (II)
This dirt road is a sharp smell of rock before it is a throated sound under another pair of exhausted shoes. Rain waxing and waning has had my legs swimming for two weeks in the cold bite of freezing water that melts leaves. It must be therapeutic; attempting to warm these wet socks dry walking this deciduous road as seasons merge. Leaving is a place I must go back to if I want the light returned to my eyes. The road knows me and counts my steps out loud in reverse; circling words that never land. Days till leaving. Days until knowing. This mouth of gravel is tallying, discussing. My ears erases and subtracts pauses spent in thought from miles served. The wet polished shine of the dirt road licks around another turn I must decipher before I can turn back toward my silver home by the river. The turn pouts where water has risen to cross over, then relaxes its mouth again into a line that is not partial to anything but the next mile, and then the next.
With what I earn in a day of light carpentry I could nourish a month of walking. This will forever be what I use to measure employment against now. In a week of nailing two hundred year old 26" wide pine boards, training saws down chalk lines and spitting out antique nails I could have a hot plate of greens, heavy bread, and a shingle of meat every day for half a year, and morning oats boiled soft while I wait for the sun to take the hat from my head. The road knows that I am an agitation of thoughts; senses the internal gravity pulling me toward where I should winter; knows I prepare my leave from where I have patched and processed.
Leaving is the lover as I entertain: have entertained in a while, and this intimacy I have with leaving, well, it's right there next to sublime... at least until I can't get my fix....another town, a strangers voice over a chipped porcelain cup, and all the uncertainty in the world. Alone beside a cold river is no place to sit and listen to rocks until spring. Soon the ice will move away from stone, cover the wide calm bellies where the fish nudge death, and then the rocks too will sleep.
Dark at four o'clock. These were hard months walking year after year when winter threw its white skirt over my head and made me dizzy with dehydration, and beauty, and hunger. Sewing seams that torn to a fray,and shucking chapters off second hand paperback while I read myself warm could eat only so many hours while I shivered on earth; the cold of the grave crawled up into my bones, my breath snowed down on my face, and there I slept. It was the cold that would always save me though, each winter as it filing all intention down into a black well of delicious sleep oiled with indistinct memories free of agitation and remorse. Winter saved me from thinking myself broken, and the cruel way a mind envisions the idyllic comfort of warmth always dancing with two good blankets always just out of reach.