Thursday, October 6
Today's a good day / to flex the muscles of the weary...
I've memories like trains, sometimes about trains, another day running on to night. This current memory triggered by a text: 'you don't remember me, maybe, but we met on a train last August... here's that bakery's address.' She was wrong - I do remember her, we shared whiskey and good venison sausage and talked about speaking German in Montana - but I don't as much care about that. I wonder if she still lives in the cold by the border, but it's the thought of this bakery I'd forgotten which excites me. It's fall, I can't help but slide across times before and yet to come.
My americano tastes burnt, grounds thick like a charred skin that wouldn't dare think of dissolving. I'm trying not to think of all this tired. He texts: another long morning, limbs acting on impulse, auto-pilot. Thoughts are delayed, sky is gray-brite, prose lacking. Muse on repeat, and I hope you're well... I suspect we've each fallen into our own respective wells, more likely; these stories are completely different - and just the same altogether too alike.
These mornings come early, hard-edged like summer heat lightning. May be I've run only three hours before, but that too was another life, now nearly forgotten; students text me, and the sky's still purple-gray, and that's exciting and that's okay and that's terrifying - some need more help than I've time to give. I've slept for hours; I've seemingly not slept; another long week's begun. I'm reading these words and writing those, there's math and smiles and frustration written across all of it. I'm surviving this Monday, just surviving.
A sweet ride to work it is, wheels spinning across the drip-drop and splish-splash, and slip-sliding streams sent cascading in waves by the cars that plow through them, a smaller - but similar - shower spraying from my fenders. I am cold, beyond damp, and joyous just the same. Fingers numbed, I ride through white-gray clouds swathing the still purpled streets; shredded cotton balls of wet, they soften and obscure the way even just ahead. This is a palatial water-world fairytale, and in it I have no work day ahead, only play.
Like all good dreams, the illusion does not last.
I've legs in want of fire, a hellish day of nowhere meetings and wholly lost students to put miles behind; a quick hour I can perhaps squeeze into the fading day before I've next an appointment, and so it is that I've flats on my feet, a whispering wind for my breath, these slopes falling away from the trail that clings only by the narrowest margins against gravity. I've up and up and then another route up to try, the sky sliding from purple-orange to purple-gray, and then this pounding flying whirling dervish descent. Three times in the space of a mile I nearly bowl a walker over... I'm careening too rapidly down to have seen them before I'm upon them. I fly, a ghost against the fading sky. Silent as a deer, bounding as a hare. I hear nothing, I hear everything. I am the whispering grasses, I am gravity, I am a pebble loosed to roll the pitch. And then I've overdone it completely, these last few miles liquid fire and starry eyes and I am a god. Still, maybe more so for the suffering, I am a god. For the moment, for the night, I am a god - and all is well, quite well. Forty miles and two days and all is so unbelievably right. just... right.
They'll throw it up, and I'll do my damnedest to run it down. They'll throw it up, and I'll do my damnedest to run it down. They'll throw it up, and I'll do my damnedest to run it down. Then someone will cut, hard, while I'm covering - and I won't have a chance, these short arms and slower reflexes useless. I'll watch that disc sail right on by. Point, other team. Agility, quickness, me? Not so much. Still, I've missed this game. Damn, I've missed it.
Not just for the drinking after.
My bag's dead. The last functional zipper functional no more. All the miles this bag's seen, more miles perhaps than all previous bags combined: that first Portland trip, that big day to the coast and back; shenanigans; three bike summers, strapped atop the trailer - the food bag, usually; so much grocery-getting; so many days of school. It hadn't a name, but felt like it should have. Was family, as gear goes. It wouldn't have felt wrong, I don't think, if I'd cried - though I didn't. I'm not sure what it says, this realization that I may have been more attached to this bag than I am most people. If Proud Mary ever dies I'll have myself an emotional crisis.
A gorgeous sky surrounds me - Twin Peaks veiled, air crisp with a tangy hint of potential rain. Students keep calling my name excitedly in the halls of the high school - I'd no idea I'd become so popular. Maybe they just miss my help; I'm at the college more now, and here less. Inside myself, reflecting, overthinking - it's the promise of trails this evening, later, eventually, that's calling me most. This thing akin a primal urge, some last vestige of an earlier before. I'm exhausted, would be hungover probably were it not for that sixteen-miler that just whittled away the dark. It's only Tuesday. I need to run, need it badly.
The second week of classes at the college begins. This is the first week it's mandatory for enrollment in the program that these students come see me. Two hours a week, we're requiring, despite that adding up to a total three times what I'm approved to work, at least twice what I would want to work - though even those hours wouldn't be near enough for some of them. They need so much help. There'll be juggling, always, and this being education, I'm fairly certain the balance'll often as not find a way to come short. I tell myself it's early, they've another ten weeks to drop off this quarter, to fall behind - but still, I see our numbers and I'm hopeful. It's Monday, and I'm hopeful.
Another morning. Heel's bloody, a scrap of skin just flapping off my Achilles, a stray dog lagging at each stride. I overdid it, again. Still, the day's burn is the quietly satisfying sort, a fatigue that lingers - a cup of tea, or the smell of woodsmoke. I'm closer to the me I remember from falls of yore, here in this fatigue. Students keep me busy, and I nest in the fatigue and burrow in their questions and in the trust we're already finding. Simple problems stand in for their much larger ones, but they trust me, and I'm honored, and hope to hell not to let them down. I've made it my nest, this place and this fatigue and these problems. This is simple, the ways we make it so, and this is satiating. Above all, this is good. So very good.
a miracle's a miracle / even when it's ordinary...