the lovely edge

by tobias crabtree

the shanty



the world is raining. i’m sure the moss on the roof is loving it. there’s a deer feeding on the poison oak just outside the fence that runs past the shack i’m calling home. there’s a gray veil over the valley. a hound is baying from somewhere down beyond the dips and curves. southern oregon; it’s good.

i don’t have the blues, no more than normal, but the rain is sneaky; it’ll let the sad thought seep through. not yet though, i’ll push them thoughts back for a bit, reschedule them for later. i have coffee in my mitt and that is something i want to enjoy. joy and sorrow can mix but you really got to stir them.

last night i stepped outside to take a leak and i saw the moon glowing from behind the clouds. i regularly might not mention something like that but there is some significance to it. that natural bodily function that calls also requires a moment or two of stillness. in those moments i often look to the stars or into the woods. i stand, and breathe, and think.  the ponderosas were lining the hill with drooping limbs, all in black, and beyond, the sky alight with the lemon moon. beauty is difficult to describe; too often words over-used words lose their potency, thus the described reality, already second-hand goods, is relegated to the mundane. i have learned the hard way that some of my most brilliant experiences lose their magic when i try to dress them up with words. some wonders are best left to wander along the edges of my memories. reproduction is futile. re-enactment serves only to cheapen the original; glowing ambers, periwinkle skies, blood reds, and ferny greens quickly turn into some dusty daguerreotype, framed and suited for the shelf with all the other past experiences. i find very little difference between things that really were and those things that were dreams. they both are not happening. they neither one can be animated and shown as what is real. (sure we can film stuff, but it is not the same. in film there is only what is in the lens, what of everything else? what of the world behind the camera-man? what of the smell of the wharf? what of the colors the camera can’t capture? what of the whirling planets and tumbling stars?) i’m not saying the past is unimportant, nor am i saying dreams are as important as our past. they are simply a part of our life and life is best used immediately.

i have a friend who is pedaling across the country. she’s on a bike in montana and she’s pointed east. life for here is watching her feet go up and down and round and round. life is the thoughts that are buzzing around her like the bugs around a lantern on a porch in south carolina. there is the feeling of her legs. there is the sound of the approach of vehicles from the rear. there is the incessant sound of wind in her ears. there are ever-changing horizons. there are mice at night and mosquitos in the morning. there are the people along the way and the help they provide or not. she is on a mission to change awareness. she is fighting a bigger fight, but it is working itself out in the miles she covers. it is laid out in the miles to come. go sarah. i love your fight.

while i’ve written this little bit, plants have grown. the deer beyond the fence moved off into the deeper woods. i finished my coffee and checked the time; my coffee was cold at the bottom and time was still there, tapping his fingers. the rain has picked up. the birds are singing gloriously. i’m sure some news announcer somewhere is talking with a smug look about what someone else is saying about global warming or about so-and-so who is fighting cancer. i’m sure some mother somewhere is wondering what to do, how she’ll ever make it. i’m sure someone is waking up from a bender and looking to see if he has any money left. somewhere a little kid is laughing with his little sister (that laughter from the kids is a medicine for sure). we are all doing our thing. i wish we would all do it with a bit more care, me included. i’ve found it’s good to start with me and work my way out; that should keep me busy for a lifetime.  i wonder what my ma is doing…maybe i’ll give her a call and tell her about this spot at the edge of the garden and the woods. what a lovely edge. gotta go, ma is waiting.