The new year was said to begin in darkness, in the northern traditions.
Last night was thus the evening when our dead could roam the earth, and we could acknowledge feeling their presence. I acknowledge that this time of year always evokes the feeling of the unknown. How dark, how cold, how hard will the next quarter be? But this last year went out in a beautiful show of colored leaves and purple-grey skies. A year ago I was wandering in Glendale, Queens, and making the decision to come back to Oregon. I don’t regret it.
This last summer I took some drives around Lane County, watching as my circles get smaller and smaller. I now drive mostly to my new job at the U.S. Bank in the very neighborhood where I grew up, past the spot where I went to grade school, rode horses, looked at the creek near my house, next to the freeway. The trap set for us closes in tighter and tighter, but I am allowed to not wear a face covering, and to be free of altered chromosomal material, and still work in the branch, with the local public. Minor miracle though it seems, I am feeling restless and disgruntled already. There seem to be walls in every direction I look. Perhaps being still is what is called for, and it is difficult. Attempts to connect with new people take off then stall out, inexplicably. Perhaps everyone is hanging back, afraid to be the first to commit to something. That is it: there is no sense of anything to commit to.
In July, at the Creswell Independence Day parade, there was a fine show of commitment, that has fizzled, along with what opposition it engendered. Many other shows of defiance have come and gone. There was a weekend of such hellish heat, that another emergency order was released, which turned out to be unnecessary and forgotten. Janet and I escaped to the coast to wander about with strangers in the fog.
My friend and her husband did commit to a new member of the household. He was met with much skepticism, but is now mostly accepted. He’s a very beta adolescent, who makes the old ones in the house feel glad we’re not that idiotic anymore.
The less traveled high country and spring-fed waters were almost sterile in their purity, but soon engulfed in smoke. I felt like I made it in and then out before things were really and truly unpleasant, as seems to happen. What a strange dance. If there are spirits and angels involved, I wish I knew to what end.
We also have almost half a pig in our freezer, which was butchered in the back yard of a house in a neighborhood I used to walk in, and that I always admired. It was a true coincidence to be there and talk of people I once knew in that town, while observing the manifestation of hate and lies and envy–all while going through the motions of a hallowed tradition of folkways and food. The old man who owns the house, who was being ‘protected’ by nonsensical medical interventions, came out to see me, and pointed out the beauty of a flaming orange maple tree next door. What else can you say?
As far as what else can you do, I can continue down this road, as long as gas and tires don’t run out. I’m bored of it right now, but that will likely not last. The time always comes when we look back at boredom and wonder why we couldn’t enjoy it more. But it is really the illusions I am bored of; I want to make something real.