volume 8 of in america: 2005 april-august  work & days: a lifetime journal project

 

 

 

 

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More intensity with students. Part 1 a trip to San Felipe with Louie. Parts 4 and 5 a long road trip to northern Alberta. Part 5 La Glace School reunion, camping with Luke, camping at David's in New Westminster. Part 6, a summer residency in VT goes wrong in ways that put the entire semester, and embodiment studies as an enterprise, in question.

Notes: Ruth Stein Father and son, and vertical desire, AS Byatt on George Eliot, Steven Lewis on women in the UN, Le Guin on writing, Christopher Alexander, Fuster Cortex and mind: unifying cognition, Agee A death in the family, Neil Sheehan A bright shining lie, Mary Renault The mask of Apollo.

Mentioned: Louie E, Tom Fendler, Stan Brakhage, Ed Epp, Jerry Reznick, Jim McKellar, Susan M, Louise G, Rick Behrman, Anna Hawkins, Margo MacLeod, Millie B, Rowen, Jam Ismail, Rhoda Rosenfeld, Nellie van Leuwen, Cheryl S, Carolyn Hauck, Carol d'Agostino, Michael Duke, Lise Weil, Joyce Frazee, Dave Carter, Leslie D, Jim Race, Jody Golick, Mark Schulman, Gail Angen, Bernice Alstad, Marvin Berg, Freddie Warnecke, Henry Olydam, Teresa von Tiesenhausen, Peter von Tiesenhausen, Rudy Epp, Frank Doerksen, Peter Epp, Brigitte Horseman, Helmer Dolemo, Doug Odland, Myrtle Torgerson, Walter Pol, Raymond Gilkyson, Dorothy Connell, Allan Heidebrecht, Joe Farnsworth, Edith Janzen, Sharon Schwemler, Fay Walle, Wayne Moodie, Charlie Penson, Arden Bangen, Bucky Thompson, Jean Waite, David Beach, Dorothy Beach, Moonboy, Janet Atkinson-Grosjean, Russell Beach, Muggs Siggurgierson, Michael Voskamp, Mary Epp, Anne Dyck, Karen Campbell, Dennis Stamp, Michael de Courcey, Trudy Rubenfeld, Neil Beach, Lise Weil, Juliana Borrero, Sarah Butterfield.

State 94, Chapala Motel in San Felipe, the Sea of Cortez, Tecate, Motel Balboa in Ensenada, Carretera Federal 3, Baja Java, San Mattias, Valle de Trinidad, Valle Guadaloupe, Cabrillo Point, Juniper-Front Community Garden, Wind and Sea, Spur Meadow, Corral Canyon, Laguna Junction, Palm Springs, Reiss Hotel, Brian's American Diner, 3743 Charles Street in Point Loma, Tierra del Sol, Starbucks on Fifth, I8, El Capitan, Lakeside, El Cajon, Sunshine Highway, Old Highway 80, the La Posta road, State 94, Shockly Truck Trail, McCain Valley, Lark Valley, Cottonwoods Campground, Carizo Gorge, Maryland Hotel, Broadway, First Avenue, I5, Via de la Valle, San Pasqual Valley, Santa Ysabel, Warner Springs, Mesa Grande, Palm Valley Road, Santa Rosas, I15, VA Hospital at UCSD, 5562 Taft Avenue in La Jolla, UCSD Library, VA clinic in Mission Valley, Denny's on Pacific Highway, Harbor Island, Qualcomm Way, Bread & Cie in Mission Hills, Financial 21 Credit Union, the Esplanade, St Vincent de Paul Mission, Mission Bay Drive, the Star of India, Gap store at Horton's Plaza, Valentine's Restaurant, Yacht Club Motel in Quartzite Arizona, Ocotillo, Postal Annex, I8, Yuma, Imperial Valley, State 95, Page AZ, Colorado River, Prescott, Sedona, Jerome, Flagstaff, Navajo Nation, Kanab Utah, Pocatello Idaho, Salt Lake City, Salmon Idaho, State 93, Lost River Range, Salmon River, Ponderosa Motel in Missoula Montana, Budget Inn in Provo Idaho, Conrad Montana, State 200, Highway 2 in AB, Highway 22, Vulcan, Fox Creek, Demmitt AB, Kinderwater farm, La Glace MB Church cemetery, La Glace Co-op Store, Valhalla Centre, Valhalla Cemetery, Hythe Laundromat, Hythe Museum, Horse Lake Reserve, York Hotel in Grande Prairie, Sexsmith, Kreeksite Camping north of Quesnel, Prince George Art Gallery, Clinton, the Fraser River, City Centre Motel in Vancouver, Williams Lake, Lillooet, Pavilion, Diamond S Ranch, Alkali Lake, Dog Creek, Whistler, Lion's Gate Bridge, Blenz on Hastings, the Beachs' houseon River Drive in New Westminster, Café Calabria, Vancouver Public Library, Hon's Won-Ton, Lucky Rooms, Strathcona Community Garden, Read Island, REACH Clinic, Zero Avenue, Mount Baker, Gulf and Fraser Credit Union, Plainfield VT, Burlington Airport, Sarducci's in Montpelier, 874 East Georgia.

Edelman, Grotowsky, Milner, Julie Henderson, Colette, Carol Gilligan, Eugene Gendlin, Martha Nussbaum, Marianne Williamson, V Woolf, Leonard Talmy, Linda Oyama, Hagia Sophia, Robert Creeley, Moving Images, James Brown, Jorie Graham, Robert Rosen, Andy Goldsworthy, Einstein, the Stone Foundation, Wellesley, Paul Shepard, Adrienne Rich, Debbie Rose, Richard Nelson, Tony Packer, Damasio, Laura Sewall, Andrew Harvey, Oyama, Michael Benedikt, Doris Lessing's intro to The golden notebook, Herbert Guenther, Le Guin Always coming home, Human events list of the ten most harmful books, LA Times, NY Times, Bart Testa's piece on experimental film in the Canadian Encyclopedia, The stones of Arran, NPR, Montana Big Sky tent by Coleman, Karina Gauvin singing Mozart, London Underground bombings, Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone, The diviners, The odyssey, Roget's thesaurus, Huckleberry Finn, Seven arrows, David Terry Glavin, Civilization 3, Time, space and knowledge, Anne Konrad And in their silent beauty speak, Intermedia, Jewison Moonstruck, Trivia. 

 5 April 2005 San Felipe, Chapala Motel

Night in a motel room with the sounds of a midway in a vacant lot behind it. I was standing on the toilet seat with my head out the window watching the twister's counterbalancing arms swing slow up to a balance point, fall, rise higher on the far side, fall, rise higher again, and so on until they stand balanced together like hands at twelve o'clock. Then part and fall. And next time make it past and around. It's a small midway with Mexican music and a lovely light. I could see down into the carrousel where along with the flying horses there were camels, peacocks, elephants, a few small children being held round the waist by a young teenager, all in a mild sweet light diffusing from many bulbs in the round room under the canopy. I watched on and on.

It's a dense sound, many fibers, little screams, a fan, a concertina, shouts. It's thick and pleasant. A cool night. Night being celebrated as such.

The tide is far down the sand, fish boats beached, sometimes a rocket set off and jetting up above the unlit water, exploding into sparks. Why did I think of Stan Brakhage then. I thought of my father earlier when I was crossing the street, his string ties and cowboy hat and his stranger's eyes looking at Mexico.

Thursday 7th

The sun has just risen hot gold on the horizon above the sea. It's warmer already.

A perfect night that woke me at first light. I dreamed I was at some sort of workshop. It was the afternoon session. I was there with no pants on and asked a woman sitting at the end of the row to move over one so I could sit down more quickly. The woman teaching the workshop began by singing something in a native language. At the second stanza or repetition young people in the audience sang too, they had learned it somewhere else. They began moving their arms and hands as if to imitate the gliding flight of a bird. Some stood swaying and moving their arms. It was as if they had gone into a trance of watching or flying with the bird the song was about.

The birds I saw yesterday were sandpipers, terns, gulls, doves, herons, turkey vultures, pelicans, and just one completely black bird who rode the air steadily north along the coast, not moving his wings once, the most elegant of beings. The pelicans are beautiful in their motion in formation, very sleek the way they follow the same curve as if it's drawn by the first.

Yesterday's night tide woke me at midnight running sideways on the sand. Last night it came and went and I slept on.

The blue of the shadows on the page - a porous dark blue. Now that I look, the whole page is like a snowy slope with humps and wind streaks.

13th April

What does 'spiritual' mean to people - a contrast with daily concreteness - that yearning for something - it's an indefinable emotional matrix - based in early love and its freedoms and terrors - for many it seems to have to do with making efforts to improve oneself, taking oneself as a task - it is imagined in terms of 'consciousness' - taking willful control of conscious states - something like the sense of self as a journey, having a beginning and an ending and adventures that are consequential - the sense of event consequential to the quality of being - sense of quality of state - that's mine - sense of gratitude and dependency - that's early love - there's elaboration of defenses around a vulnerability - the vulnerabilities felt by creatures who know they will die - there's experimentation with state - there's exploration by means of change of state, exploration of 'reality' usually thought of as other than the concrete - there's wanting to feel sublimity, mystery.

So:

early love
being stoned
sublimity, mystery
self-improvement
death denial

14 April

Susan supports my soul by risking her own, by giving me the company of hers.
By seeing me beautiful and giving me that.
By startling me.
By a rhythm she has taken care to learn from the best.
By newness. By fear.
By beauty she insists on.
 
What I am seeing in her packets is the way her neuroticism is the matrix of work. She sustains it as the fluid of pain and fright in which beautiful lines can set.

17 April

What is it I'm so avid for in Susan's notes.
Her polish in language.
The way she said o/ as if.
And oh y aussitot.
Her venturous selfness, the way she could tell her story of kneeling behind the man and setting an energy bridge into him.
Her greed to love.
The way she said, You flew me like a kite all week.
The way I'm met.
She's not a moral dependent hanging off my rigor as both Louie and Tom do. If anything am I hanging off hers? That's something.
She takes her own risks.
She has wrong modes, an intellectual one for instance.
But she works hard. She's a working mortal.
She can feel my humor, which is quite inexplicit.
She evokes many of my people at once, Jam in her intellectuality, even.
Rhoda in her physical polish.
Nellie in her lesbian community past.
Cheryl in being that kind of mother.
My earlier self a lot - its passion and secret sophistication, devotion, breadth.
She way she quotes me, good bits.
And is reading Edelman even, Talmy, Oyama.
 
April 18

Said if I were a grasshopper I'd be rubbing my hands at some of her phrases. That she can set a phrase so it goes tuk like a pool ball. She basked and was up until 2 replying.

-

I am so bratty with this packet period, so reluctant.

There I lie down and try to feel what it is. Hungry, aching. Wanting all day to put something in my mouth. Wanting to be contained so I can let go of something, into some heart state. Addictive craving but without object, nothing I have will satisfy it. Wanting what I used to have, Joyce, my house, the garden. When I began the doctorate I was a young woman, when I ended it I had become an old one. Now there's nothing I love.

I say Now there's nothing I love and tears come into my eyes. I don't know how to go on to the end of my life without love. I'm afraid I'm dying. I look at my hands wondering whether they look like death, whether I can see death in their color.

Then the book reminds me it is a memory. It says, Hope, do you have a hope? Yes that someone will come for me. There it was.

April 23

The moment when I was twelve or thirteen? - sitting at the kitchen table watching my father walk toward the barn, seeing his shape for the first time, broad shoulders, narrow hips, beautiful, a beautiful man.

Did he ever see me looking at him that way? I think it was always unconscious. I think he kept it dark and kept himself divided. The truth was there was a charge between us and it was mutual. I was his dark soul. I was the closest to him. I was what he had in him to be. He could see my distinction. He could see that it hadn't failed. And I could see the way his had not. And yet there was his whole blind cranky orthodox surface. What I'm feeling now, at this moment, a questing young alertness, there's no way of saying it, that's me, that's him. And I made a man with Ed in him, I kept him going. Something in Luke I mean.

What I see above is that I still have the story of Ed to tell. There's a shine around him.

25th

It's morning. Clouds close in, too bad, no rosy light on the pink rock.

I was asleep and woke to a lot of light seemingly flashing onto the ceiling of the jeep, light from more than one direction. Sat up still waking and there was a man shining a big flashlight into the side window I had open 4" for air. Just one of you? he says. Young nice American voice. There's another light being shone into the back window from about 10' away. Are you the ranger? I say. No, ma'am, border patrol.

There are two sets of headlights on the far side of the mudhole, double sets: they have roof lamps. A lot of light.

They go back to their vehicles and seem to be checking the edges of the stream with their flashlights. Are they looking for footprints?

Then one after the other they surge through the mud and pass me. Identical Wranglers with hardtops. After a while they return from the other direction.

I'm nearly falling asleep but I see four Mexicans standing on the road the far side of the ruts, men and women in a sort of lit darkness as if I have night vision. It startles me awake and then I'm nervous. Put on socks and boots and get out and lock the liftgate.

Last evening I heard some kind of noise, lifted my head and saw a coyote standing on a boulder in the meadow, large and very finely marked with darker legs and shoulders - was it? He felt my gaze and trotted away among the oaks, not hurried, very dignified.

7

Looking at the Dec-April journal seeing the way it's a story of working with two students. Seeing that made me interested in transcribing.

Telling the story of the semester wd be a series of emails. What wd it be called: embodiment studies at [my college].

6th July

Now it's 9:30, lamplight, Karina Gauvin singing Mozart, the peace and ownness of this little room. Jeep mostly packed. Tomorrow I'll carry down my pillow, bathroom stuff, the blue cup, the milk, journal and credit cards, money, pyjamas, the trash. Bring the bike inside. Take evaluations and packages to mail. Come back and write the lecture paras (wrote Susan's eval today), post them, and then take I8 to Yuma and from there drive north through Arizona.

7th

Quartzite Arizona, Yacht Club Motel, a collection of trailers with clusters of pilings supporting steps covered with Astroturf. It's run by a slattern with very tanned long breasts. She says 116 degrees today. The boys, my neighbours, have likely gone to bed, they're miners, she said.

8th

Page, AZ, just this side of the Colorado and the Utah border. It is too hot to camp, forecast is 97 tomorrow. Long ago this morning - I'm watching a movie about ballet in a large room, very large - real dancing - long ago this morning I left that decrepit trailer and found an empty road. The sun rose. There was a glitter on the pavement. What is it, I thought. A long snake flowing through a glittering Z. Sonoran desert, saguaro, matilija poppies knee-high on the roadside.

9th

Kanab, Utah.

Since Page it's been beauty, soft red and green, buttes like Navajo skirts, layers of buff, orange, rust, maroon, soft wide land between them, sagebrush and juniper, sometimes a small burst of yellow, sunflowers on the verge. Hardly inhabited, the easiest of roads, every once in a while a car, headlights in the mirror miles away. Small animals smeared on the pavement, many of them. Morning light pink on pink. Perfect travel though I'm watching my eyes. Should be wearing sunglasses but they spoil the color.

I'm traveling in the big cargos and one of my orange singlets, blue shirt for appearing among people, red tennies, the old ones.

Steak and eggs and rye toast.

Sunday 10th

Pocatello, Idaho.

Was up at 5:15 and out the door, clean pants washed in the tub last night. Get on the freeway, 40 miles to Salt Lake City. There isn't going to be a sunrise. Dark overcast. Abrupt mountain to the east, city and lake in a murk. There's traffic but it thins after the suburbs. Then 15 is two-lane, speed limit 75. Left foot on the gas. I drive 80 or sometimes see it has edged up to 85 which is the last number on the dial.

Sweet hills with alfalfa yellow on the benches, grass green in the draws, dry and worn off on the ridges. (Even here in town, walking across the parking lot to the café, I can smell hay.) There were spits of rain. The windshield wipers smeared the glass. About three and a half hours later, 210 miles, trout and eggs for breakfast in Astro's town.

Anything to tell from yesterday? Kanab. I liked Kanab. I could live in Kanab, which is Paiute for something about willows.

-

"There wasn't many people out there when we's out there."

Where am I, Salmon Idaho. The man speaking is 65, tight jeans, small rump, big belt, white hat, light blue Sunday shirt, worn cowboy boots with slanted heels.

The men talk, the women are silent. There's a graceful teenage boy who works in the kitchen, earring, shaved head, come out in his black apron and shamrock green runners to talk to the boy eating with his folks. There's a juicy waitress, a goldy-skinned blond, carrying her breasts high and round.

Oh my arms are tired, shoulders.

93 turned out to be good. I had to drive 70 miles west to catch it, and minded those miles, but then there was a wide valley with smooth mountains, grass, silence, all those miles of visible silence. I stopped to take a picture of a clump of scarlet penstemon in the grassy ditch. Further on there were clumps of blue flax along with them. The Lost River Range.

No way to describe that stretch along the Salmon River, that had cliffs and bluffs so complicated in form and color and texture, so diverse, so much too much I knew I wd remember nothing, having to manage the curves, no place to stop. I was looking as hard as I could, seeing the cut and lie of hundreds of thousands of shards of stone, and in among them was it three or four colors of plant sorted by condition - yellow-green bunchgrass, silver sagebrush, something bright green, and scrub juniper almost black. The sagebrush grows alone where the rock has fallen in a single-color scree, oxblood sometimes, that manzantita dark red-brown. Oh the order.

My good jeep, at 70 or 75 it settles into a deep strong throb like a driving heart.

-

577 miles today - really - I'll be in Alberta tomorrow.

There was a bear of an Indian man in the Chevron station at the edge of Missoula, which I'd been aiming for determined since I got onto 93. He was taking money from an ATM and I was looking for a map of Montana in the rack next to it. I said, Do you live here? Do you know what part of town I should go to to find the older motels, less expensive? He said his sister was the housekeeper at the Ponderosa, and unfolded a map of Missoula and showed me how to find it. He'd been to Grande Prairie, he said. He was a steelworker. He began to refold the map with his big paws. Let me do that for you, I said. And here I am at the Ponderosa Motel watching Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone. There's a large dry hill looking down through my window.

The motel in Provo, Idaho yesterday said Up-town Motel on the roof and Budget Inn on the sign. My room looked through green trees to a mountain with snow. I liked seeing my pants hung on the balcony rail drying in front of the mountain.

July 11th

Today there's sun. It's the first morning I've made tea. I'm on my nice bed in 323 in the Ponderosa, a pink cinderblock room with deep orangey-red carpet and two dusty-rose wing chairs on either side of a plywood-topped bar table.

I'm thinner. Have been buying only breakfast and eating half of it.

It has taken until now but I'm in myself. I'm happy. More than happy, a pressure in the chest. There are a lot of travel stresses and yesterday I'd come through them.

I came across a mountain pass, hairpin curves at 20 mph, in a hard squall of rain, front and back wipers whacking, nervous especially downhill on the far side. That was some kind of threshold - it was the Montana border but also some kind of emotional threshold. And then the bear man because I pressed on strongly and wouldn't refill my tank until I got to my goal, though I was watching the needle. And then this big room and a tale of a small marked child who is raised by ugly people who hate his giftedness. I was watching it as the intervention it is, liberal propaganda certainly, Christian conservative kids will recognize the shut-downness of their parents in Harry's aunt and uncle, the muggles concept implanted. Hermione is a confident non-pleasant know-it-all. The antihero is a smooth-haired butter-blond boy with aristocratic pretensions. Harry has the right kind of quiet smile, alert and bemused. I loved the marvels. The chocolate frog that jumped out the window, platform 9 3/4 found by running at a brick arch, the goblin bankers, birds dropping the mail, the dining hall, the portrait that asks for a password, the shaggy giant who comes for Harry. I also like that this so pervasive magic was devised by a welfare mother and not an Oxford Anglican.

Alright. 8:30. I'll unpack my passport and take 200 over to 15.

Alberta 13th

And then I hoped I'd recognize the turn-off, and did, and there was the road where I met the groundhog and the place around the corner where Jam's little car and mine were both in the ditch, and then at the corner, is there still a track? Barely, but it doesn't go through to the house, which now can't be seen from the road. I drive up over the summerfallow to get as close to the house as I can, then have to push through grass to my waist. There's no longer any kind of gate in the spruce, which have grown tall. The house isn't white anymore. The south face is weathered almost to bare wood. The porch rails have fallen. The chimney has collapsed. The kitchen floor has buckled and there's a hole at the foot of the stairs that someone has covered with the stair door. Someone has been throwing whatever there was to throw, the pantry cupboard, the red chair. The front porch pillars have broken off. the wallpaper is down in sheets. No shard of glass is left in any of the windows. Squirrel shit everywhere. The little desk I built upstairs broken off. But there on the wall I painted night sky blue I see my own handwriting in white chalk, perfectly fresh. What was it I felt about that, wordless, something - in so much ruin my mark's duration unspoiled for now. I loved a time. The place is spoiled but my love is not.

I was sad, I was struck hard, but there was also what I have always been, that wishing to know what life is - so this is what time means, so this is what happens.

Thurs 14th

Peter's black figure. I was coming up the path behind Theresa, who was talking about a bear. We were passing between young poplars and there ahead of us among the leaves was suddenly a black figure taller than a human being, one of Peter's watchers, burnt black - charred wood - holding himself with a straight back and his chin lifted. I like that figure best, here, because it's human and more than human, as if also bear and land and tree and native collectivity, standing on large feet with lifted ribs and tender belly, in an attitude of attention but also blind, without eyes or features, like a post, attentive inwardly or with the blind senses.

-

In the laundromat at Hythe a native woman in her fifties, strong eyes, was looking at me. Do you know a woman called Brigitte Horseman I asked. She'd known her from a baby. "She has three or four kids now, but she's into drugs. The chief at Horse Lake supplies them and he just got re-elected for another four years." She herself is from Kelly Lake - the woman says - and it's not so bad there. "I live for my kids." She says it again. She has brown hair not black, meaning she's Métis, and her granddaughter is another part white. She doesn't look me in the eye when she talks. I like her, I like her eyes and her big bearing, but I could see we were unbridgable. She packed her two double-loader loads wet into garbage bags. "I'm going to dry these outside" she says. "There's a wind" I say. Helmer and Brigette and Ellie The End.

I'm here but I've done just about everything I've got to do. I'm forlorn. I don't know what to say. The moon is growing but it's like breaking of strength, so much is gone.

17

Myrtle. What was it about her. There was a grandmother in pink pantsuit, large wire earrings, brownish burgundy fingernails. When she came up the path I didn't know her and never did see anyone I'd known in her, but loved her for some reason. Sane clear heart.

-

A lot to say at once. A sweetness about the event. First, the place where it was, an established farmyard with a lot of space in it and then so much space beyond it. The fields, standing barley, miles of it. There was rain earlier and then the evening opened into perfection - the long evening. It was still evening when we left at 11:30. A ring of chairs around a big fire pit. Walter Pol who was a wall-eyed runt, now a large comfortable farmer on 14 quarter-sections. Raymond Gilkyson white-haired and very like himself but two heart-attacks later. Bernice - plain and responsible - rooted in the yard her father founded in 1911, her kids continuing there. Gail - Princess Gail - in streaked contemporary hair. She told her son's story with a kind of fixity and was drinking a lot of wine. Her husband Ross had been important in various international jobs and was there with a big belly and a sort of wonky intelligence lurking around being interested in things. Dorothy Connell a skinny small thing with smokers' creases (though I didn't see anyone smoking). Allan Heidebrecht a stout old man, the oldest of the men, white haired, very bulky, kindly, farming his dad's place. Joe Farnsworth a millwright, flourishing - hooked up with Dorothy after her two marriages, she running the liquor store in Sexsmith. A lot of these people had been elsewhere and now are back. Edith Janzen who'd been an ugly mouse of a girl was there the image of a sexpot, tight little ass in fancy jeans, ash-blond shoulder-length hair, tense speedy manner fixing me with her eyes - tight thin skin - is that what a face-lift looks like? Fay Walle a bright unaged small thing, very pert, with a good Olympus and Photoshop 7. A lot of false teeth at the gathering. A lot of them, it seemed, retired. I was the only woman who doesn't dye my hair.

It seemed to me, though maybe only for the event, the old distinctions of status had been dissolved - they had been very sharp - and everyone was there in sweet equality. People had made their way. Everyone had traveled. Peoples' kids have dispersed into all sorts of distinction and fruitfulness. Some of us had died, Henry of an electrical shock, Wayne Moodie of AIDS, Freddie Warnecke of cancer I think, last year, but there we were around the fire with the lovely polishing light on the shelterbelt spruce, on the miles of fields, on the towering cloud at a distance. We'd eaten and drunk together and told stories and not been ashamed of ourselves.

And there was Luke in his blue and red soccer jersey affable with anyone, helping to clear the tables, standing at the edge of the field talking on his cell. Luke Epp it said on his nametag.

When we drove home the sky was, he said, grapefruit pink to the northwest at midnight. There was a moose in a canola field west of Valhalla.

When I was driving with Luke through Sexsmith and down our hill and up the road, there was something I've never seen, just this side of the bridge a doe on the road. It was lovely life in the place I had mourned and it was there when I was with Luke.

It was a beautiful event.

I loved Luke's company in it. We were in bed in the cabin, firelight, talking about it in our sleeping bags.

There was the muddy blue jeep parked in a line with all the other cars and pickups, with its California plates.

18th

Monday morning. Luke went back to sleep. I'm on the wide half-log in a breeze with my tea.

I wanted to say something about what it was like for me in La Glace, and I did, to Myrtle. I said I'd had a hard time until about grade 7 because of my leg. I'd been isolated and sad. There had definitely been outsiders and insiders. Maybe the insiders didn't know they were insiders, but they were. That was when Myrtle said she'd never felt anything but acceptance.

What am I feeling. A little sharpness at heart because it's over, they are all gone again. I hadn't finished being with them. The completeness of life in childhood, no matter how sad or isolated. The parts are all together, still, like a whole landscape with its copses, fences, fields, paths and vistas eternally in place.

I was telling Gail I remembered her beautiful pleated skirt. She didn't remember it, and I didn't remember the color, but Dorothy beside me said it was blue with green and white, not white exactly.

Vancouver 25th

This morning what's drawn on the side of the tent is wild rose vine, slight dropping cables with leaves and twigs angled upwards, all swaying very gently. There went a bee-shadow. In the dark green band that runs up from the floor, sturdy unmoving blades of grass, a dandelion leaf.

Was I dreaming because of the trains, the locomotive's very loud voice and the rustling-past of the cars. I wake and go back to sleep. It's alright.

I'm not talking about Dorothy and David, the way I shy off writing about people when they're in the house. Dortie, he calls her sometimes. She has sweet corners on her mouth that turn up - she's so, so old. A tiny crook-backed frame but she'll put her feet up on the bench like a girl, and slouch back in the sofa looking at the tulip tree, watching the bush tits. She asks questions and listens carefully to the answers - who, anywhere, does that? Her face is yellow and blue and creased like a dried fruit and yet she's pretty. She wears longish skirts, red or blue, and green velvet slippers. And David - he's just David. He is kind and affectionate, stands at the stove cooking. Saves bits of wood, brings me things to read.

Vermont 19th August

The viewer visualization. A being is looking at you from whatever direction or distance you choose. Feel what it feels like to be seen. If it wasn't a look you liked, now imagine a different being who is looking at you with complete comprehension. It can see everything about you, and is looking at you with utter pleasure. How does it feel to be seen that way?

Now step into the viewer's position and look at yourself the way that viewer was looking at you.

I neglected my students for the lectures.
I had only one session in which they talked about study plans.

I'm looking at the lake of meadow grass beyond this shelving bank where two nights ago was it I set these two adirondack chairs and smoked a cigarette. What a glamorous idea.

There are spots of pink, a few, joe pye weed. These dark stalks of some dry weed. Tansy where it meets the mown edges. Goldenrod. Dry grass. Burdock I think.

American Spirit tobacco. Held the smoke under my palate and felt it hit my brain. Boom.

Pines and apples on the shore.

Sat 20th

Here it is 6:43 in the morning. The eaves are dripping.

-

Burlington airport.

Sumac on the deep roadsides - let me comfort myself - leaves in the soft air - they like this kind of day probably - restful to them - they don't have to work hard at devouring light, they don't lose water or fight not to, they're being quietly washed.

I'm reminding myself that stupid people are needed to do the kinds of things I don't like to do. That's in relation to the man with a party having breakfast across the room, whose cell phone plinked out six loud bars of a tune before he got it out of his pocket.

Caryn said she liked hearing my travel journal. She got points for that because it was undramatic.

The evening Susan and I drove up the hill and saw wide land with blue hills banded in the distance, sun a spot of cherry red at the horizon, goldenrod yellow in green meadows. There was Susan next to me in the driver's seat, a scrap of a creature. She was turned away looking out the window and when she turned back to me her face was flooded with tears. She was protesting that I'd said terrible things to her. I didn't think it was a moment to argue. I was disarmed, I guess, a pretty small creature in tears.

What else - the moment in the deck chairs at night, holding the cigarette above my head like a banner, watching it stream into the blackness, big dipper a bit to the right. The quiet night and shaven grass.