Photos taken in Arches National Park, Utah
One week ago, I started with this, and now yet another week has passed:
Has it been a week? Sitting here on a fleece Pendleton blanket, stacks of folded laundry around me, outside, sword ferns and moss, a little rushing stream and the opulent wet of the Pacific Northwest.
I’m busiest when not in the truck. Days out involve so.much.laundry, errands, grocery shopping, small trips that add up to big days.
This last run (onions!) we ended up with a blow out on the trailer and were fortunate to have a good spot to pull over in a little town in Texas. But the ground was soft, and the jack sunk as we watched it. With sincerest apologies to ranchers everywhere, I traipsed through the mud, threading myself through a barbed wire fence to unwire a board used for a stay in the fence, promising myself to return it. But by the time we finished wresting off the old tire, using three prying tools, and finished jacking up the axle to set the spare, the sun-weathered wood was toast.
Daniel and I made it back to Washington with our onions.
We spent time at an Airbnb on the Olympic Peninsula, where we found out there was some pesky paperwork + repairs that needed immediate attention, and have dragged on as these things do... thus we are still in the Pacific Northwest.
Yesterday we walked into town and back, about 7 miles, the day overcast and misty like winter here is, past moss-draped trees and the storm-cracked limbs of fragile birches, their paper-bark a pale peach with curls delicate as ghost pipes. I mailed a long-overdue package back to the Safford library, an audio book of The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, and a copy of The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction, by Linda Gordon. I was fortunate enough to interview her for an essay I wrote for The Copper Era. It's a well-researched and rather incredible tale.
While job seeking has taken far longer than I would have hoped, I have had time to read. On the road, I've been using a Kindle for the first time, ruefully accepting the constraints of my living space: There isn't room for stacks of books. But beginning at Christmas, when the Kindle arrived in my stocking, I've finished a few reads.
Of all contemporary writers, Cormac McCarthy is the author who most has me reaching for a dictionary. I wanted very much to like his two linked and latest novels, but math and philosophy and science are not the topics that interest me most, and while I underlined many sections for their beauty—mostly on grief and loss and nature—they took discipline for me to finish. I followed The Passenger and Stella Maris with Fire Sermon, and after finishing Gilead, saw an unexpected and unintended theme of religion, Judaeo-Christian theology, and relationships emerge. Quite a nice lot for that, if you're up for it.
I'm currently in the midst of The Song of Achilles, which feels a wee bit juvenile but less heady, more easy, frankly, more in line with what I need right now.
Last year was a good one for books, and my favorites ( and why they are such) are below:
In the meantime, I'm starting to write some fiction again, writing for the pure joy of details, waking in the middle of the night to take odd descriptive notes like these: "Rolls of sod looking like the bloated bodies of winter-kill sheep," or "Her pupils looked like pools of oil."
Toss me out some characters. I'll create a world for them.
In the meantime, laundry.