V after V

by tobias crabtree

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Sunday morning. A tiny, waning moon rose like a tea-cup in the east, way out past the lights of downtown Denver. The moon is so sweet in this phase, so quiet and hidden and ready to give way to whatever comes next. So many early mornings, when I’m the crazy man at 4a.m. and She’s the quiet dying moon, I have told her about all the things I’ve hidden, or dropped, or buried, or broken. I’ve talked out loud about the heaviest of lies, the ones that weigh as much as a bag of stones, and I’ve told her about the pieces of me that are missing and where it was that I think I might have lost them along the way. She knows all that stuff about me, She’s heard it all many times; still She shows up and lights, just barely, the eastern horizon that is over the stove that brews my coffee. Today, I’m not talking about my faults or furies. Today we are just old friends in the company of one another. Good ol’ friends, you know? One quality of a great friend is that they make me feel exclusive and listened to. And that’s how it is, of course I ain’t their only friend, but when they’re with me, they are with me. I’m sure there are many folks spilling their guts to the big Mama Moon, and She listens to them as well. What a damn good Moon!

Yesterday Ma & Pa came to visit me before I head back out on the road. Ma hadn’t been inside my little r.v. and she’s been askin’. They came over in separate vehicles because, well because my dad’s crazy and my mom’s had fifty years of deciding how to handle him. Oh, they love one another and all that, but Ma has made her decisions and that’s how they’re gonna finish this thing out. So Ma brought me 2 rugs and a book that was written in 1888 with old ship schematics she thought I might like to draw. She’s right, of course, I will draw from that ol’ book. The rugs I didn’t appreciate until this morning at about 5, no cold toes! Pa brought me an old Bible with his name engraved on the cover in gold letters. Chuck Crabtree, it says. Ma had slipped a photo inside the cover, it was a pic of the pet raccoon I had when I was 12.  Smiling, she said, ” maybe you should get a pet, like a little dog or something for when you’re lonely.” My Mom has sparkly eyes and they were extra sparkly as she looked at me in my 1984 toyota dolphin.

I made my Ma some tea. Pa had some strong coffee that he said he loved. They both sat in the drive while the earth turned on it’s winter tilt, leaning away from the Sun, and the Sun was given a special, winter allowance of warmth. I’m quite sure the Universe conspired to give me this moment with my folks. I was on my knees working on a pair of shoes and my Parents watched and asked questions about the sweetest little things. It was a unique occurrence, so rare as to be singular in all my life and since all life began. There has been no other me, that I know of, and no other them, all of us together under this winter sun in my brother’s driveway, and me making shoes and them drinking tea and coffee and asking sweet questions. And it happened once, and I witnessed and noted it’s rarity with lovely attention. This is the closest I come to any God; my religion, the moment of awareness. It felt, umm, good ( like the kind of good that’s not average or overused, the kind of good that you say to yourself when there’s extra butter on your toast and it’s melted just right and the toast is still nice and warm and exactly what you need or want and then you sip your tea or your coffee and, well, you know what I mean. ) to know I am a beloved son, as bumbling as I am, and still beloved. The Begotten, kneeling beneath his true Source.

I went for a walk after my parents left me, just wanted to test the shoes I made. Shoes are tricky. They might be the right size and shape and everything but something doesn’t feel right. The difficulty lies in the small adjustments that produce comfort and performance. A flip-flop’s easy, but a shoe that you can depend on for everything, hell, that’s a trick.  So I went west and up around the corner, up Colfax past the tattoo shop and the bars and the other bars. I dropped into the old cemetery where people were put in the dirt way back at the start of the 1900’s. It’s on a hill and the older part of the graveyard is less ordered. Tombstones are tilted this way and that. I walked over graves in my homemade shoes and thought of that expression, like someone just stepped on your grave. I guess that refers to someone stepping on the spot in which you will be buried. Seems like that makes more sense. A feeling kinda like when someone starts talking about tiny biting insects and your skin starts to itch. A sense of things to come…what’s the word? Foreshadowing? Yeah, that’s the word, perfect for that kind of feeling. I was surprised to see a tent down the hill, just between the graves. I don’t think it was occupied, no movement and the front zipped up, but the tent was definitely being used. It’s kinda smart, setting up camp as a homeless person is not that easy these days. An unkept, old graveyard eliminates a good bit of harassment, as long as you don’t mind sleeping on top of dead people.

The geese have been flying over in massive formations. They pound the air and honk and tilt their piebald heads to see through dark-coffee eyes, the lay of the land. Perfect internal navigation, bearing the memories of their parents who visited marshes that no longer exist, old goose tales of giant feeding grounds now buried under outdoor strip malls with fake streams and false waterfalls. All the mapping systems from their DNA are overlaid with a new, human powered paradigm. They must consult with the whales, and the caribou, and the elephants, and the wolves, and the Monarch butterflies. They are looking for open country that has no agenda, where rivers run and trees stand and stones hide the secrets of a world formed by cosmic fires. THAT, i’m sure, is what they are discussing as they fly overhead, V after V, swapping leads, searching for the sweet spot. Sometimes I smile and wave at them, and they wave back, because they feel my love for their odyssey. The geese and I, we have that in common; the love of journeys without end.

Yeah, if I could save up on any one thing, I’m pretty sure it would be as many horizons as I could fit in my pockets, and I like my pockets big, man.