August 22, 2011

Walking After Midnight

Late August nights find me torn between contentment and mourning, for I know it is ending: summer. Fall is creeping in, at first a threat and then, inevitably, a fact. The light has changed, and the warm, saturating haze of summer days gives way to the cold edged evenings of coming September. The water cools and the nettles vanish, and with them, the ease I find overtakes me in June and July. There are hot days left, I know, and on those that the humidity holds its ground I could almost convince myself that it's not over yet. I harvest butternut squash from the quickly waning summer garden, and the tomatoes ripen on dry, brown vines. I do love autumn in Mathews--the wild persimmons and the rashes of brown and red in the island meadows, but for me, summer is the magic time. I find myself a bit nostalgic for weeks only just past. It has been a good, strange summer. Bonnaroo and Pittsburgh, hot District nights, and long sojourns here, on Gwynn's Island, a time I spent swimming at Tin Can Alley, biking along the lanes, and sitting comfortably at the new bar at Southwind, drinking cold pints of Legend Brown and Lager while listening to the Usual Suspects, Runaway String Band, and Mixed Grill. I can't complain about that kind of summer. The cooling days make it easier to leave, to return to school and DC friends and the little life I've built for myself three hours north of where I sit now, watching the sun bow out to darkness over Barn Creek. But I am sad to leave now, as I am every time, at any time of year and in any circumstance. My car will leave Mathews with Virginia plates, an admission on my part to my love for this place, and my anticipation of my return.

August 12, 2011

Some Sad Shit.

Sometimes, without any
real telling why, I become aware of a sadness. It is pervasive and real, and I sometimes fear that if I let myself stop to consider it that this sadness will overtake me. I know that people who have lost people as I have lost my sister know about this sadness. Maybe those who haven't lost anyone know it too. It's not to say that I am not okay. It's just to say that there is a piece of me now that feels like it doesn't belong to the rest of me anymore. Like I've lent it out. It's the piece where the sadness is and can stay and grow or subside as it will, given time and experience and age. And I keep it there because if I don't allow this place for it, I know that I can't do all the things I need to do: the grocery shopping and the metro riding and the dancing and the growing up that continues to put years between the person I am and the person I was the day that Laura died. We don't really have so much time to live, in all, and I am not going to spend my time circling around events that cannot be undone or a person who is not here. I fear I've teased this piece too completely from the tangle--that I don't allow it enough moments. It's difficult to negotiate the desire to be fun or funny or easy to be around with that to express who you are, when so much of who you are is determined by a terrible loss. I guess that I am trying to say: I miss my sister.

August 3, 2011

How We Go, When We Go

It has been a very busy summer, which is quite honestly ridiculous, as I have been neither working nor in school. At the outset I told myself that I would do Bonnaroo, visit California, and go to Nevada for the Air Sailing contest. The first is the only thing on that list that I've managed to do. And yet, I feel I've winnowed away the time in three day increments. Three days here, three days there, occasionally punctuated by a week long sojourn on Gwynn's Island. Between visitors and visits, I find myself in August, less than a month away from the start of my second year of graduate school. I visited my Yankee relatives in Pennsylvania over the weekend, stopping off in Springfield to pick up my youngest cousin, Marie (my mother's brother's daughter) before heading off to Pittsburgh, where my cousin David (her older brother) is enjoying the bizarre and fast-changing terrain of post-college life. Quite unexpectedly, I found myself in Ohio riding the second tallest roller coaster in the world. It was in Ohio that I realized that I'd never been to Ohio before, and I found myself mentally tallying the states I've visited since July of 2009, when I up and left California. What follows is that list.

Road Trip of Danger and Excellence, July 2009:

California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia

And I haven't seemed to slow down. In Virginia I lived, quiet and alone, and learned to recognize the trees. In Pennsylvania, I've slept in the bedroom my mother slept in as a child and trampled brilliant yellow leaves at my uncle's cabin in the autumn-lit Poconos. I've screamed upside down on roller coasters in Ohio and dressed as a pigeon at Jessica and Travis's Halloween-bedecked brownstone in Brooklyn. I've watched New Jersey and Delaware's backyards whip by from the window of the Acela, and cracked lobster in Maine. I've moved to DC and burnt brown under the dust-choked Tennessee sun, eyes trained to the stage, where the members of Old Crow Medicine Show stamp their feet. I have been tired and I have driven for eleven hours and I have flown and flown. I have grown to know the three hour drive to Gwynn's Island better than that to Santa Cruz from Fremont. I find I want to know this country and its cities and its hills, its deserts and softly sloping Eastern mountains. I used to wake nights in Santa Cruz with the most overwhelming urge to run, to step into my car and drive and drive until the past fell away. I am not running, I think. I am seeing.