Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I couldn’t make up my mind

What to call this blog, vacillating between “Calvin, if you are reading this” and “I hope next month is kinder to you.” Then I realized there’s not a chance in hell Calvin reads my blog, and for a few (very few, mind you, but a few) of my readers, November was just fine.

Plus, neither of these topics is really what the blog is about, at least it doesn’t seem so at this point. Although I freely admit I never know at this point where a blog will end up. Or how it will get to wherever it is going.

I am up at the cabin for a few days for the first time in too long. And it’s raining, a deep, heavy rain, also for the first time in too long. I’m not even unhappy about being kept mostly inside, as this rain is a godsend to firefighters across the southeast. We were not burning here, but across the mountain huge swaths of Amherst county blackened. Fires elsewhere in Virginia and North Carolina raged across tinder dry forests. And my beloved Smokey Mountains burned out of control Monday, devastating the towns that hold many of my fondest childhood memories. These towns grew exponentially in intervening years, and what was there on Sunday, I know, bore not the slightest resemblance to the small towns of my youth.

Now it bears no resemblance to anyone’s.

This rain may runnel the road, may force us to spend even more money and time smoothing and shaping, clearing ditches, making pretty for any potential buyer. Our mountain home is still on the market with no serious inquiries, something that both saddens me and makes me happy. We will have it at least though the spring, so I don’t have to say a final goodbye just yet. And yet, this drawn-out farewell takes its toll in more than money and time. It’s a slow wearing down in my soul. The decision has been made to leave it behind, now I am anxious to move on. That’s the way I have always been. I loathe leaving where I am until I go, then I have little desire to look back.
For years in my travels I tried never to take the same route twice. And when I landed someplace I was there, roots down, firmly entrenched. Until it was time to leave. The older you get, the more constrictions you place, or have placed on your life. And the harder it becomes to just pack up, pick up, and go.

The rain is slacking now. I might be able to get out for a walk in a while. Just down to check the drive, staying on the road. It’s hunting season, and even with my red cap I am not fool enough to wander the woods.

I stuck the computer in the doorway to try and take a couple of pictures without drenching it. The woods might not wear the bright colors of earlier in the fall, but to me, they have their own stark pre-winter beauty. And the scent of wet leaves. I wish this camera could capture smells. If it could, I think my joy at this moment might make more sense to you.

There hasn’t been a lot of joy for many of us this month. The bitterness and innate fear and racism brought out by the election, the ongoing confrontations at Standing Rock, these are two of the situations causing deep emotional wounds in my household, my town, my country.

And yet there are moments of beauty.

Hey, Calvin, what’s up? It’s getting late in season. Where are you with what may possibly be the last deer I ever butcher from this property? I need the taste of this mountain to carry me through this next month, this next year.

And, to everyone: may your December and the year to come be the best possible time it can be. Never stop trying to make it better. Never stop trying to be better.  It’s time to go. Let’s move on.