Friday, August 19, 2011


In August, in my hometown, the world holds its breath.  Summer session is kaput.   Fall semester hasn't geared up. The streets are empty but sultry with it, beckoning you deep into the warm black to catch the last of the fireflies, the dribble of the creek, the microscopic erosion of stone after stone.

There's no one much around, in August.  You're down to a handful, the people you grew up with or threw up with, the folks you love and the folks you hate with a hate so comfortable it's the back of love's hand.  There's a spareness to August.   But an expansive spareness, a luxurious certainty that soon -very soon, even now gathering itself just beyond the horizon of your consciousness- will come the storm of Moving Day, the black and terrible thunder of Escalades and Hummers barreling the wrong way down one-way streets.

But not yet.  Not just yet.

It's the not yets that define this particular part of the year.  August, with its not-quites, it's almost-theres.  You may feel it even if you don't live here: the year pivoting on its fulcrum, the days folding themselves into smaller and smaller squares.  If you do live here, you can't help but feel it, and you can't help but feel, too, the secret sweetness of it, like honey deep in its combs.
But not right now, see, not at the moment.

I walk a lot, whenever I come home.   It's common sense.  From one side of town to the other is an hour on foot, so why go any faster?  Why bother to get your car out, only to miss the simmer of walking, the low heat, the secret pathways, the limping old woods?   There's never much to see: a mother and her son waiting for the bus, one loose dog, the road, like old thread, giving out.   Even the grafitti is quiet: a few tags, a delicate wall of flame, the words, in blue paint: I'm still here.

I wish I could the same for myself.  The truth is I don't live here anymore.  The truth is I can't live here anymore.  The truth is that here is, in any case, sorely, irrevocably changed.  Just a minute, though.  Sixty seconds, eighty: I'm still, here. 

1 comment:

Pam said...

Oh my gosh. There are so many parts of this post that I want to write down. To note. "The simmer of walking" - you are so crazy talented.