Thursday, January 21, 2010

Campfires and Crickets.

1-5-10, 1:30 am

Single-digit temperatures tonight, threatening to drop below zero. I fear I'll never get back to Tennessee and her promised warmth, but only mildly so. Mild fear, mild promises.

Went down with my two younger brothers to the camp today, to see what havoc the snowstorm wrecked, and to idly burn some old dry cedar and a large hardwood log that was in a state just prior to rot, and that came apart in great gray slabs, like toboggans or coffin lids. It burned as if that were its intended purpose, from spore to sapling to sylvan titan to splintered gray log. We carefully excised a portion of the lumber that had a knot-growth resembling an oversized human ear.

And we built a roaring fire in the midst of the silent snow, and we ate smoked oysters out of an oily tin, and when we threw the tin in the fire it smoked and smelled pleasantly funky, like burnt fish eyes. My two brothers tromped off towards the lake as I cut more firewood with that shitty dull folding handsaw (have to get my Pa a new one of these, if only for my own selfish use when I return) and silently stoked the fire and smoked cigarettes. My brothers returned from their expedition with dubious claims of frostbite, lugging a ten-pound chunk of ice that looked like a giant molar. We lounged by the fire until dark, heads resting on shoulders, little cowboy boots gingerly resting on their silent brother's bundled chest, all in a state somewhere between snoozing and heavy-lidded reflection, a state such as only a snow-choked Ozarks holler and a smoldering cedar campfire can provide. Simplify, simplify. My brothers took turns hooting at an owl across the holler, and he felt obliged to reply.

Tonight in the shower, as I rinsed my hair, the smoke from the fire was suddenly fresh in my senses. It streamed down my shoulders, and I felt nearly compelled to stop then, lest I wash all the residue off my scalp. But there will be more campfires, and someday there will be The Campfire, one whose smell I would feign to never shampoo away.

What the fuck does that even mean? Do I mean it? Is it allegory for allegory sake, empty imagery with some vague nostalgic and prosaic importance attached? Maybe. Or maybe it's just my guts, reminding me that I'm not an android. Do Andrews dream of electric sheep?

Also in the shower: I watched a tiny cricket, a straggler of the season, march clumsily and pathetically into the falling water. He tried feebly to clamber up to safety, but the slick tub walls offered no footing and no quarter. Finally, after watching his legs become splayed in bad angles, wrong angles, flattened by the rain, I scooped him up and tossed him behind the water heater.

I left the room to bring back a dictionary, but returned with a thick guide to Missouri flora. Tonight I shall sleep with a dictionary and a thesaurus on either side of my head. Is there a surer catalyst to madness, strapping your skull and all its screaming dreams between these two sizzling battery terminals? I want to exist in the arclite.

Thesaurus Rex

Just finished O. S. Card's Seventh Son, just began The Shining, and I'm eagerly halfway through it in just two days. Locked by inclement weather in the hills as I am, bound to the quiet, warm house by snowdrifts and plummeting mercury, I consider my finally reading this book to be as well-timed as I could've hoped. Interesting: I hardly ever read contemporary fiction, least of all fantasy or horror, but these last two books I've read I've truly enjoyed, and both deal with a young boy and his "knack", both boys born with a caul. I didn't even know of this term and the associated folklore a week ago. There are no coincedences, eh? I think it prudently safe, though, to chalk up the mundane to nothing more.

I suppose I should go to bed soon. I'll read more of The Shining until it scares the hell out of me again and I have to turn on some lights and avoid looking out of windows or into the bath tub. I need to see Kubrick's movie.

". . . on getting away from social conventions and coming closer to nature, we cannot help becoming children: all the things that have been acquired are shed by the soul, and it becomes again as it was once, and as it is surely to be again someday." - Lermontov, from A Hero of Our Time

Just now, in his sleep, Tony said something about "shitting on kids".

1 comment:

Seve Isaacs said...

I really enjoyed the Seventh Son. I read the whole series when I returned from Ukraine.