dangerous days

by tobias crabtree

from a letter to sarah fontaine…because she listens to me even when i’m sketchy:

i had some fun in mexico. i did some stuff i knew was kinda sketch. but what fun! i did a little too much drinking and then i swam it off in the ocean. salt purifies.

today i’ll buy lotion (for my skin) and glue (for the cracks in my feet) and some stuff to rebind my black book. it’s coming apart. it’s getting old (so is my skin). maybe i’ll never finish it. i guess you could say i’m working on my skin and my book’s skin. the spine is fine on both of us…or as good as can be expected considering how i’ve treated them both.

i feel good in the soul area. how is your soul area? how’s the love?

you asked me questions in your last oh-so-fucking-good email that i’m not qualified to answer. and by “not qualified” i mean i haven’t the slightest clue what the answer is.

love is…well, hey, do you know how i live for the wildest of things? you do know. well, i am afraid of some of the things that interest me the most. i am afraid of the cold of the ocean even while i’m wading into it with my swim cap on. i’m afraid of those thin cracks that crawl up pure granite faces and call me to come on up to where they get too thin to read from the ground…i have to find my way there using my fingers and toes and lungs and then, when i get there, i sometimes don’t know how to go any farther except to try something…anything. i’m afraid of the fragility of tree limbs when i’m standing 70 feet off the ground and 5 miles in. i’m afraid of the grizzly bear that leaves the paw print in the mud by the blueberry bushes while i’m picking.

and i’m afraid of love. it is the ever beautiful, ever cruel, ever beckoning beast that prowls the wild woods of our hearts. it’s there and i want it and i chase it and when it sees me i am afraid i’ll be eaten whole, digested and shat out on the ground.

there is, however, something that can’t be felt until one is consumed by love. it is something that will draw out the most brilliant colors that we humans posses; a kind of blooming before death. and isn’t this the way things work anyway? are not the running salmon the most wonderful crimson as they die in there birthbeds at the upper reaches of free running streams? and what about the maple leaves in the fall? the scribal messages left in the wrinkles around the eyes of an old person?

maybe love lasts a lifetime like my mom and dad. maybe it burns so hot that it burns out in a month. i’m not an alchemist, i don’t know what makes it work nor do i know what makes it crack apart and leave sharp little pieces that we step on for months (years? maybe, i hope not).

here’s my advice. love the wild things. stand in the way of love every chance you get. when you get clobbered, i won’t ever say “i told you so”. i’ll just help you up and i’ll rub your shoulders and make you some tea and tell you to breathe big and drink water. a tomorrow will show up carrying a wilder heart. that is what i tell myself and it’s what i believe.