13 November 2006


The air outside is chilly, but not as biting cold as it will soon become when the night really decides to settle in. I'm sitting in my 1960 Airstream Tradewind trailer which resides sweetly in my back yard. Before I came out I put on my corduroy pea coat and pulled on my black rubber galoshes, my favorite footwear these days. Uncle Bob calls them my "shit-kickers." I love that man. I am wrapped up, cocoon style, in my old Pendleton wool blanket -- the kind with the four stripes that you usually see on a horse's back under the saddle. There's a candle flickering, a branch bearing the season's last golden leaves in a blue ball jar, and a glass of whiskey on the little table next to me. Ry Cooder's "Viola Lee Blues" is playing. All the things in life I think I might ever want or need -- right here.

I even found a piece of dark chocolate in my coat pocket -- but it's one of those yucky, chalky, healthy ones that leaves a film on the roof of one's mouth. It's the kind of deceptive sweet that makes you feel as though you've been duped, bamboozled, flimflammed, made a fool of. Sort of like when Angela and I, as young girls, were taken to the local bakery called "Slice of Life" and mom allowed us the special to-go snacks of carob chip cookies. Talk about scraping your tongue. Ick. This stuff is made tolerable, however, when combined with the warm, buttery tones of the whiskey. My fingers and toes are getting cold, but I'm deliriously content, and I've only had one sip.

On my twilight run this evening, as I passed through the golf course under an indigo sky, I turned off my iPod so that I could fully understand the scream of the train whistle. It rolled slowly through the neighborhood and lit the foggy air with its piercing light. I stopped and stood under the tall pines and paid my respect to the giant as it rumbled past. What a sight. I was the luckiest girl in the world for a suspended moment. It moved so slowly, I didn't know if it would ever arrive as the light's path promised it would. It came surely, though, down the track -- wheels hissing and sparking. It reminded me of one of my favorite artists, Adolphe Mouron Cassandre. I did a project on his travel posters in my last year of art school. His colors, shapes and compositions always seemed smoky, mysterious, and enchanted to me. Something else was there other than just a train -- the bewitching life of travel and the accompanying, shady loneliness.

I'm on my last sip of whiskey. It has turned colder. The drink bears its chilling effect as do my aching fingertips. I must retreat to the warmth of the house that has no wheels.