Ten days. With this knowledge and the ever-present tick tock of speeding time, my lover and I sleep closer and closer together. Soft mornings, we savor each one as D Day creeps closer. This morning I half woke entwined in those black lines pressed into his skin, that familiar singing bear friend staring back at my own blurred eyes and my own black lines (Helen Helen Helen) inked in my own script pressed somewhere into his rib region. Trunk to trunk, cheek to cheek, ankle to ankle.
The season is changing beautifully outside my bedroom/living room/music room window (one great big window where the cat spends every waking moment) and while the idea of leaving causes ships to lodge in the channels of my throat, I am looking forward to watching yet another season come fruition before my very eyes. I was lucky enough to watch the turn of summer and then autumn when I went back to Spray.
I look forward to stepping on sphagnum in the swamp, that pinky mauve intricate sponge releasing puffs and plumes of warm air and a sweetness that is more of a feeling than a smell underfoot. Soft 'mmm mmm's released at the same exact moment from my own mouth. I am looking forward to the sleepy morning bus rides into the Block. That scary, sprawling, dark land seen through dirty windows in the back. Every morning I will ask myself, 'How can this happen? How can I do this today?'. These very demands will remain unanswered and forgotten the moment I am dumped off at my piece, my bags pitched from the back door of the bus by some dirty turd, my familiar orange flagging tape wagging invitingly. This is how. Pack saddle bags with care, smell the trees, look at the sky, look at the land, memorize the tree line by pretending there is a red string attached both to my back and the place I first stepped in. I never get lost in the land this way. Bird taught me that trick during spray. Follow your feet and the pretend string and don't forget to watch out for eagles and elk. Body pumping motion like a well-handled well handle, I will fall back into the motion even though the meat on my thighs tells me otherwise. I will be fine in a week and a half. I will be a machine in three. Hills and hills of nothingness, begging to be crawled over and explored with a prodding shovel and boots at the pace of a low cougar.
I am looking forward to writing letters in the quiet of my own tent at the end of the day after my feet have been massaged back into form. Quiet thoughts, clear mind, calm hands and a steady heart thinking of my man drawing at the light table in the studio that has become my family and another version of home. I carry Martha Street studio with me wherever I go. I will want to be there too, then, thinking of him there. But another day will close with birdsong and high winds carrying smoking fires along with it and my missing will subside for just long enough to fall into dead sleep. Another day will open with the zip zip zip of a tent flap at four in the mornig, rushed movement, no grace, haggard face and body, constantly thinking of Mitch and my mother and my family and my bride sister and my best friends in that initial confusion of waking up on the ground in the dark and in the cold. Where will you all be and what will you all be doing while I am packing up my gear for another day? You will be in your warm beds (my warm bed without me) while I make four PB and J's and two bags of carrot sticks and one of grapefruit. I look forward to the roadside sighs in between sips of black cowboy coffee, visits from my foreman Papa Birdman on the quad with Motorhead blaring from some secret place on his Hi Vis body. I will not see it, but I will hear it and think of Mitch again and again.
I will cry and piss myself on the sixth day of straight rain. "I AM ALREADY WET". Who cares.
I do, aplenty. With so much missing, and to think I am still here at this familiar desk I love so much in my home that I have made with a man whom I also love so much. We will be fine. I am getting ready. My shovel is being sharpened as I type. There is a red string in my mind that attaches me to you.
I will be just fine.