They Never Were.

by tobias crabtree

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot. That might seem really productive or philosophical, but most of the time nothing comes of it. For instance, today I drove for 8 hours and I never turned on music, nor did I talk to someone on the phone — I just drove and thought. Not much came of it either. Sometimes, I make things in my head. I build stuff. Today I spent some time building a set of stilts (yeah, that’s right, stilts. like the kind in the circus or, god forbid, at burning man) and I wondered if maybe it’s better if I never actually build them; after all, I’m 48 and falling from 10 feet might break a hip.

I write quite a bit about thinking. The stupid thing is, I think more about writing than anything else. Get it? Like, I think about writing but then I won’t be able to write what I’m thinking, and often, I’m thinking about writing about thinking. It’s terrible. I realize that it’s because I’m genuinely not smart enough to grab ahold of what’s out there and put it into words. My mind is a bog and it’s loaded with beautiful things that have sunk and are gone. Maybe, under the right amount of geologic pressure and heat, they will become fossils for future scientists to uncover and study. I doubt it though. Yeah, probably not.

The problem is that I want to write about things so that they come in order. So that they might make some kind of reasonable sense. So I create these mental refuges where I turn certain thoughts loose to roam. Well, if you could see into my head you would understand. The thoughts I’ve gathered have turned feral and no longer respond to my call. They stand in the distance, in the wild grass, and they squint against the setting suns. Their ears are moving to and fro and their noses are wet from the dew. They have grown hair for the seasons. They are unshod and long toothed. The more I call, the farther they roam, the wilder they become. And so I’m the owner of these thoughts that will not return. And they are howling in the night and they are running under the stars.

So I’ll not try and be a writer for you. I’ll not try to bring the wild ones in from the woods to parade in front of you so you might tell me how beautiful they are. No. I’ll just tell you they’re out there and that you can have them if you can catch them. Go on. They’re not really mine anyway. They never were.