Lonely Stones (or, Ramblings on Love, Part 1 of ??)

There’s no ‘menu’ of click-on-able items at the top of this page so it says just Home, which isn’t really redundant, just weird. Home makes no sense if there aren’t other more interesting and less permanent options, but the word is just built into the default thing here and so there it sits. In a pretty little font. A cute 27-year-old in a white dress and square glasses designed that font in a Portland mini-loft while a late-summer breeze waltzed lazily with her turtle-printed curtains and she alternated absentmindedly between hard thoughts on dying young and her actual feelings about the Decembrists. Sometime in 2007. Her sandals were a little city-dirty and had ankle straps. Probably. Is my guess.

I love turtles too. Home on/around/part of your person? Protective shelter that moves, even if it means sacrificing some speed and agility? A longish while ago, when it first got obvious that I wasn’t going to be one of those people who dug in and did home anytime soon, I figured I better learn how to feel home anywhere or stuff was gonna be pretty disorienting. That worked damn well, until it didn’t. In retrospect, I kind of think the sea turtle gets a major pass on turtle-related hardships cause of, you know, being able to fly under the sea and stuff. So that animal probably would’ve made for a better model.

(Cause what happened later was: Huh. Sure do miss that speed and agility. [By which I mean: the out-of-nowhere new stuff, the good-crazy crazies, the experimentals that get to happen when you’re not so worried about carrying such a serious life-shield, the weird bird of paradise or dancer your legs and arms and self can extend into when your core mind and feet are rooted and still.])

But see here I am using the Portland and the turtles and the yoga to avoid… love. Just like in the would-be ‘menu’ up there, choices take one away–sometimes far away–from home. Man, can I do menus.

Are love and home the same? I guess that’s what I’m wondering about.

I woke up on Saturday feeling, I don’t know, not sad but super quiet. It’s spring here, feels like early summer. Gorgeous, but a little off and weird, as if the spring I’d crushed on from afar all winter suddenly grabbed my arm and whispered something hot but nasty, like bad-nasty, and but I’m a committed lover of winter and it all feels uhhh way too sudden, you know? And wrong.

But I like Valentine’s Day, and not just because it’s the day I do my taxes. I like it because I used to hate it, really hate it–it made me angry for all the reasons you can imagine it might make someone angry, gross commercialization and hollow cliche and all that–but I don’t hate it anymore. It’s just another day, and love is everywhere, all the time, I kinda get that now. So. Hey. Sure. I can get on board with everyone being a little loud about love for 24 hours, and even if it does get a little barfy in the bad ways, well, I can get a little barfy myself. On Valentine’s Day, goddamn it, that’s permitted. Plus, doing taxes feels pretty good. If only love could guarantee refunds.

…But I’ve had more than my share of windfalls. Can’t complain.

A little before sunset I drove up into the park, just half a mile in, to the first paved turnout. A pretty good vantage: the road I’d just driven up, which slithered back down like a black rattler into its hole; the tall solemn range to the southwest; the blueing fins far off north and east; and between them and me, a thousand wide-ridged tales of alluvial movement. I opened the back hatch and sat there, watching that awesome thing that happens after the sun’s already sunk down under the horizon and you think the show’s over–you have to believe you missed it in order for it to happen, I’m convinced of that–that burning ball dings into some hidden magical alpenglow pinball bumper, and the whole world washes suddenly pink, pink as strawberry ice cream.

Hungry climbers and hikers passed in their Jeeps and Subarus, sunburned and mellow, heading back to town. The owners of the small white car parked at the other end of the turnout might have been hiking on the loops of bridle trail, or edging up that stupid little hunk of dried-out sand that people try to climb over there to my left. Or they could have been across the road, having followed the base of a big formation around to the first set of Lonely Stones, three beautiful boulders of approximately the same size and very different shapes. On the loveliest of these there’s a route, or a way to climb to the top, that requires you to hang off some edges and then rise higher by side-compressing a chunk of rock shaped like a giant’s chest. I can’t do it yet. Maybe never. That route’s called Dream Sequence. 

With the first inky wash of night came a breeze and with the breeze came a sigh, mine, and with the sigh came a different light, a lightness, a slight, soft edge of invincibility. Oh, this. But: this. Still faint pink streaks in the far southern sky. No, I wouldn’t just drive home. I’d find people, see things, feel stuff. On purpose. Not because I don’t hurt, but because I can. Because I’m pretty sure that hurt is never, ever, the only real whole story.


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