it all compounds in the blood, in the skin. you can tell by the way it gives you the shivers. the memories, the space they occupy as they occasionally flee, then return. flee, then return. the feeling of the side of the road at midnight, getting out to howl at the moon. because it is the year 2K and you are young and free and you stop at a dive bar in the middle of a northern nowhere town that is not even a town and there is an old indian woman getting drunk by herself and you are all delighted to make each others' acquaintance, if just for a while, if just for one beer. laughing way too loudly, the way it echoes against the pool tables and jukebox. you and your sister. always, addie and i. stopping to buy cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, by the handfulls at roadside stands, little packets of salt, diet coke, driving all night, falling asleep at the wheel, taunting death, because we are so alive that how can we ever die, or age, or change? it's just this road, these dark rainforests along the edge of the vast ocean, the voice of tori amos, the careening road. a park near oregon's border looming close and foreign, every city an adventure, reading books to each other aloud, dreaming of boys in velvet jackets that belong to another time. nick drake. oh nick drake.
it was cool for three days, three eerie july days that remind me of when lucy was born, when a rare summer storm blew in and worried our wispy curtains all night and the cats sat peering out into that haunting brume. i baked a peach pie with peaches i had picked in brian hayes' orchard when missa and mary were in town. full of the spirit of children and friendship, that's what peaches taste like anyway, and they fell apart under my fingers, so ripe, the juices made tiny floods across the wooden cutting board. cornstarch, brown sugar, white. pinch of cinnamon, pinch of clove. pie dough baking and that smell of fall even stronger, the rain baking into the pavement, the way the backyard lowers its voice into a whisper, quiet as the young buck with budding antlers takes a drink from the pool and eyes us curiously. and walks away on soundless hooves. now i call my babies to show them our friends. nothing is solitary anymore, always it is my babies on my hip, in my arms, a whisper's call away. show them everything new, from the ocean to the spotted fawn to the way the moon looks when she is full. and when the clouds come in july a summer rain makes us dance.
i heard of a saint who had loved you so i studied all night in his school
he taught that the duty of lovers is to tarnish the golden rule
and just when i was sure that his teachings were pure
he drowned himself in the pool
his body is gone but back here on the lawn his spirit continues to drool.
an eskimo showed me a movie he'd recently taken of you.
the poor man could hardly stop shivering,
his lips and his fingers were blue.
i suppose that he froze when the wind took your clothes
and i guess he just never got warm
but you stand there so nice in your blizzard of ice
oh please let me come into the storm.
- from leonard cohen's "one of us cannot be wrong"
also good listening for nostalgia: m. ward's "carolina" and "changes" by phil ochs (thanks to emily for this playlist)
and also, "hard to find" by the National