Thursday, September 22, 2005
It is immediate, the difference, almost exactly at the state line, the rising up. The peaks have layers and trees and the trees have colors, and I want to believe, I think I believe, the colors are for me. Because I will miss them, because I will not see trees change again for years, because fall has always been a promise: you can start again, and I need a promise now. I need to start again. Also needed: sweaters and pencils and books. Also, a bed when I get there.
The colors are orange and red and yellow, not the yellow of Colorado, not the aspens crisping, but a deep burn, bottomed with brown earth. Also green.
Also we fly in Utah, down the mountain. A truck is burning through his brakes. I see the smoke rising. I get far behind him.
After the mountain is a city, and after the city is a lake, laid out exactly as I had imagined it, though I did not, until this moment, realize I had imagined it: pink mountains in the distance, shouldered with blue, the white white crust, the silver water.
It is like a dream I forgot I had dreamed.
I walk on the water, though it is not water. It is salt, and I sink a little. Someone takes my picture. Someone is swimming, a little ways off, a man, though he is not swimming, not trying at all, just floating there, up and down, buoyant, alone.
I want to swim. I find two stones and put them in my pocket.
I am lonely, but I know I will not always be lonely.
Later, in the Salt Flats, I will see the words people have left in the white expanse: names spelled out in rocks, shapes, crosses, hearts, a ring of bottles, a fossilized tire, candles, offerings.
A paper wreath whips away from its post, sails under my tires, piñata-thin. I do know what it marked. I do not know who Harvey and Rita and Jill and You are, and why they left their names in the salt, what compelled them, who did they love, what did they want, what were they trying to say with rocks.
I keep seeing messages meant for other people, and I will remember them; I will pass them along, I swear, if someone will please, send a message for me.
Posted by Alison Stine