sunday afternoon, winter.
a fine day, yet here i sit in a north- and - east facing darkened studio, trying to jump start a book into the beginnings of some sort of an existence.
a quick burst of vacuuming ten minutes ago produced bits of things from a part of life years past: torn pages of a paperback (The World According to Garp – created by two month old puppy walter, going on three years ago), bits of bent sterling wire, a beer bottle cap from a visiting son, a piece of worn river glass. a small smooth stone, a tiny watch battery, a penny, a dime. all of these oddities from a fuzzy living room corner summon memories and scents and emotions; the relics are everywhere, spilling over bookshelves, rolling in dust, hiding between a table leg and the wall. why can’t i make myself begin? but really – here, then, at least – i have begun.
a few seconds after flipping open the laptop, while waiting for programs to blossom across the screen, a faint flicker of movement far down on the road caught my eye. there, barely – a rusty brown coyote, trotting on up the steep road as if she knew exactly where she wanted to go. a sunday afternoon winter coyote, loping. there is no mistaking that lope. alone, wild, but accustomed to an asphalt road. now this makes me think of bit of vintage text that the vacuum missed again, all in caps: “WINTER ANIMAL”. so maybe, then, i’ve even got a title for this book that holds back, vaporous, an apparition wavering in the edges of what i am trying to see, to think, to do.
i’ve just spotted the coyote again. a miracle, this chance to be here writing at my window, hidden in the shadows, barely catching a glimpse of this wild four legged creature before it is past the trees and around the bend, once again. and now, a coyote memory – did i really see it? twice? and i can’t pull my eyes away from the window, back to the dormant computer screen. fingers lie resting lightly on keyboard buttons. i type this sentence as i watch the edge of the woods at the road, through the screen, through shadows of trees. how many times have i missed seeing something beautiful in this life, because i was focused on something inside, on something inward, on anything other than what was right outside my window, through the glass, unseen?
winter animal. it begins. it continues. it does not end.
(for some very interesting reading about animals and what their appearances in our lives can mean, go here...)