Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Last Night

This is the last night you’ll ever drive these dirt roads. The sun sets behind you and the mountains are cooling, darkening to a deeper blue. The blinding heat of the day fades to a whisper as clouds of dust rise up behind you, where you’ve been now lost in the distance. A shallow mountain river thick with boulders runs beside the road and you wonder how many times you have been in that water. Sometimes you swam alone, the river and the birds the only sound beyond your breath. Other times you slept on the warm rocks, your bodies touching, less alone than you ever imagined possible. But as with this last day of this last summer, you know there is nothing you can truly hold onto and the more you have tried the more quickly you have lost what you’ve had.

You loved this place, the mountains stacked one on another and rising to the east, clear streams and cold rains, sleeping under moonlit skies, the long pines blowing overhead. But you hated that through it all you still felt lost. So close to perfect and so utterly wrong.

You pull the car off the road and step onto the grass. Beside the river you see a cloud of midges hovering above a still pool. You can smell the sweat that has dried to your skin and you reach your arms into the cool river to cleanse yourself, ancient hemlocks darkening the valley. There are no words for what you feel, at least none you can recall, so you look at the sky and the water and the hills and wait for it all to pass. You know you’ll never be back, but that is not your thought. Instead you ask the forest to tell you what it is that you fear you have missed, that you are always missing, that will never come again. The trees are quiet as darkness falls.

The gravel crackles under the wheels as an owl crosses the road ahead, noiselessly, lit only by the headlights. Of so many nights, this one is the last.

From Oakland, CA.


justin said...

nice post!

tristan said...

lovely, thanks !

tristan said...

... and furthermore, you reminded me of something i read only an hour ago ...

The Conflux of Eternities ...

Carlyle's expressive phrase for time, as in every moment of it a centre in which all the forces to and from eternity meet and unite, so that by no past and no future can we be brought nearer to Eternity than where we at any moment of Time are; the Present Time, the youngest born of Eternity, being the child and heir of all the Past times with their good and evil, and the parent of all the Future, the import of which (see Matt. xvi. 27) it is accordingly the first and most sacred duty of every successive age, and especially the leaders of it, to know and lay to heart as the only link by which Eternity lays hold of it and it of Eternity.

kelly said...

From Oakland, perhaps, but just as easily the day I left Greenville, sad with the loss of a mountain and its stream, discovered only the day before

(yes, sad leaving is turning out to be a theme for me...)

You write well.
Take Care

Jmhouse said...

Greenville, SC? I've spent a little time there. It looked like a nice town.

Yeah, it does seem like a lot gets left behind. Anyway, thanks for your comments and best of luck.