When I woke again, the neighborhood is hushed. I'm not sure what time it is, as I don't see a clock on the wall or wear a wristwatch. I have one, left to me by my mother, given to me, not so that I remember time, for hers was short, but to forget it. Forget it, as I move out into the world, gathering the wind to propel my journey, not holding my breath to conquer it, the folly of many a philosopher and fool.
The household is quiet, but for my presence, Barkley snoozing in a quiet room somewhere. Outside, the yard is perfect with stillness, the sun glinting between low clouds. No dog tracks, yet, no human or squirrel tracks, only a line of old trees standing with the enduring and ageless patience of static stillness, waiting for something. Perhaps waiting for me to venture out into the rasping cold of a not yet Spring morning.
The neighborhood slumbering. I look out, innumerable shadows on the ground as still as if they had been laid down upon it as stencils, sunlight just a pencil tracing, drawing dark and light. The morning is here, now. Where I came from last night is only a distant memory. Parked out in the back, an obsidian truck, from which I compass forever between these two points, moved by blood, duty and need.
Back behind the trees, the sound of a train dying away to the click of a watch that is not there, running through another day, somewhere far away for now, fire in his eyes, fire in his hair. The sound hangs in the air like punctuation, the clouds curled up above in small catnaps of infinity, only my small form, and perhaps a camera, to capture them. The train moves away, in unshaken pull and balance, consuming inertia itself, its desire only a breath of steam in the cold air.
The light is soft, a blue cold fragility that speaks of shattered thought, not enough light quite yet for photos, no tangible remembrance of the feeling, only words that gather up their own steam, even as they fade away into silence.
As I went deeper into the woods, I broke off a few small branches, small signs that I was on the right path, even as whole trees had fallen over paths I used to take. As I walked, I think of stories of my grandparents on my Dad's side, who were raised here, from whom my Dad inherited the strength of losses keen, of laughter shared, that he, in turn, shared with us. Tales of strong settlers, who did not so much til the earth as rough it up and render it humbled.
People stood on these very spots a hundred years ago and smelled the land, and knew as we do, that no matter how much you love it, it is no sheltered world. Thunderstorms rear up and fight isolated battles of rain and hail, along with wind and erosion and fate. All curl up over the land, sometimes depositing richness, sometimes stealing our hearts, sometimes stealing our lives. We give and we take and so does the land
The blind was still there, still secure, so I begin the journey back, looking carefully to make sure I was on the right path, to light and safety. From a distance I could see the warm glow of the house. From the trees I heard the gentle huff of a buck, a greeting, a warning, his breath clouding the air in anticipation of that which he knows that he wants.
I wished I'd had a camera, to capture that, to capture all that I can't see, can't remember, so much here beyond the grasp of anything born or invented. Perhaps I could find words for it, if only silently.
When I make the long drive after my work week, the path will be clear, the way familiar. Still, when I roll in, it will be quite late after a long work day. I will be tired and hungry, anxious for the warmth of home, a little supper. Coming up past the house, large pine trees brush up against the truck as I pull in, back deep behind the house.
The back of the property by the shop is quite dark; for a moment, with the darkness and my weariness I'll hesitate on which way to turn. Then I'll notice the bent branch from my truck as I came in, marking my path. I'll grab my bag, as I hear a familiar greeting, his breath clouding the air.
Our journeys take us many places, but the best ones are those that lead us home.