Day One and Day Two On The Road

My friend Jonathan Ward told me, when we were moving last May:  “When you’re moving, everything takes three times longer than you think it will.”

That’s proven true at so many levels.  We “planned” to depart Washington State in May — we’re doing it in October.  Last month, the packing I thought would take a week or so — took four.  Yesterday, I actually thought we’d be up and on the road by 10 am at the latest — with all the last-minute details, we rolled out at about 1:30 pm.

Tonight, though, I’m finding I’m not in resistance to this trip taking longer than I thought it might — I’m typing this at a campsite by the Columbia River, with a balmy-turning-crisp night breeze ruffling the trees above me, having driven through a landscape that is astounding at any time of year, but which is especially astounding right now.

In the late-afternoon today, we passed rocks and waterfalls and mosses and trees, all resting in the amber-red hands of early Autumn.  Last night, we slept under huge trees that reached so high above us that Ashielah had to tell me “Look up there at that broken one” and I had to stretch my neck back and back to see — not the top of it — but where the top used to start.

I’m trying to remember to take photographs (and I’ll post some tomorrow, if the internet connection is as good at our next campground as it is here), but the truth is, I wish I had a camera in my eyes — that I could simply go “blink-blink” and send the images to my beloved friends with just a thought.

I suppose, though, that a truly crafty writer does that anyway — transmits what they are seeing and experiencing through their words.  Generation upon generation of authors have penned their “blink-blink” moments to us, and we have thrilled to perceive what they perceived.

So, here — I’ll do my best, and offer a poem:


On this last day only
there is a sadness

it rests in my chest

a drawing and a hunger

tipped into awareness
by this intended meeting

I stand with this man
in the market

this man who came
early in my time here
and stayed on

I recognized him
the first time I saw him

It wasn’t
“Oh, there you are!”

It was
“Oh yes . . . you.”

I think:
I might not see him again.

and realize:
This has been true every day
we’ve known each other.

The sadness is not a fear of loss.

It is a knowing

about proximity
and random sightings
and bumpings-into

I walk away from our hug
with my heart hungering
to have all the things I treasure
close-enough by

copyright C. Steinel — 10/8/2012

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