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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A distorted sense of place

It's been cool here lately, and cloudy. Downright weird for this part of the world and this time of year.

So I took a walk on the ditch thinking there was nothing better to do. Once up there, away from the people and the streets and all the rest, it was still cool. I wore a sweater. A breeze. Clouds, dark up the North Fork, a curtain of rain obscuring the mountains.

The temperature, the clouds. It felt like being up in the mountains this time of year. In Silverton, perhaps, 4,000 feet higher than here. Yet along the gurgling water of the ditch, the place was so full of life just like it's supposed to be this time of year, only it wasn't wilting under the heat. Apricots hung from the trees, still green and stone hard but with silver fuzz and a cleft slightly erotic. Plums, too, shiny green. Wild roses pale pink and waxy green leaves. Above, a hawk sailed effortlessly, pestered by a tiny swallow. Milkweed flower like an explosion of stars. I picked it for Wendy, though she's not here. The air felt moist, as though the sky would soon open wide.

I felt the same way. Just the slight change in expected weather had turned the utterly familiar into something novel, and full of possibility. It's like being married to someone for a long time; so many nights spent at the altar of her flesh, exploring every inch. Then, one day, you look at her from a different angle, and see a freckle right there above her clavicle that you had never noticed before from that angle or in that light.

And suddenly, it's all new.

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