Friday, May 20, 2005

our thursday arrangement

Today is gray falls and sirens. Yesterday I sat by a stream and read the shelter log at a campsite in the mountains. I was supposed to be writing. The bicyclist left me at the campsite to write, which is our Thursday arrangement: he drives, he rides, I do this thing of lying.

There was a mound of burnt rocks, a mud smell, the aforementioned stream, and a white and red log building, little, really nothing more than a roof, scarred with initials. A place for local kids to lose their virginity, my friend said. I opened a cabinet on the front of the building, and out fell the log, a black and white composition book, filled with the comments of hikers who stopped, spent the night, rangers checking in.

I read the whole thing, the wet, water-logged pages, the layers of handwriting and ink colors and misspelled words, profanity torn out.

Boy and girl scout troops were shouting in the woods, someone said. It was too loud, too many people. Several entries warned of the copperhead that lives in the stump, the giant rattlesnake coiled on the picnic table at which I sat, turning. Others are in from Atlanta, hiking the whole Appalachian trail. Someone got rained on. Someone froze. Someone kept leaving for others trail mix, and vegetables, and salt in a paper twist.

I looked but found none of this. I left a paragraph, as I do, something about the cold and the gray, my heart, my book, where it stalled in my chest like a tire spun in mud.

Many of my friends are now writing and you should read them. Brad, an artist: Ungrateful Dumpling Jenny, a philosopher: Mad Melancholic Feminist Chris, a poet: Once a Catholic Schoolboy Alex, a poet: Being the Adventures... Stephanie, all of the above: Perfect Cursive

Leave trail mix, vegetables, salt in a paper twist, something that says you were here, you lived once too, you felt this now, this here.