Thursday, November 17, 2011

Addition.

These are the days after daylight savings time -- of early rising and setting, of falling back into being standard -- and maybe this is why it feels good. Springing forward rushes, spurring urgency, reminding that you must run hard and fast over the next six months. There is no time to stay at home or indoors or lallygag. The sun beats from its high-noon arched pulpit that the days are longer for a reason. So get busy. Find your reason.

As a child my reason was kick-the-can into twilight. As a youth, it was bathing and blowing cattle and cleaning stalls to George Straight’s croons late into the night. Modern ‘lightricity,’ as my sister used to say, lengthened days as well as work. I wonder if Franklin or Edison thought about that --- now, you can always see the shit.

Then as a college student, I lost track of seasons and daylight -- and my reason -- locking myself into windowless practice rooms for hours at a time, within a city socked in the stasis of fog. For years, life was measured in sonata form by semester.

And now as an adult, I’ve found it again -- my reason, the highcountry. Long days are created for hikes deep in and their opposite. Spent in these glacial-fed-lake cirques, the hours are a microcosm of the larger world. Strange, I always think, being in a place at once expansive and yet suffocating, ages old and yet young – but such opposites tinge love (of place and person); and thus, we not only are able to discover familiar in the foreign, but also foreign in the familiar. Like a lover who daily you learn, and after years turned into decades still find pleasure in re-reading....like a good book or homewaters.....none are ever exactly the same twice. Such opposites, discrepancies if you will, also tinge life – and mine and its parts are summed between abacus wires framed on foothills, equalized on talus.

Yet right now the days are short, and getting shorter. Right now is the time of addition. The sum will be worked out in seven months or so. In the meantime, I add.

If we want to survive, we have to. For what is life but subtraction always at work? Thus we run on, trying to keep the ground we’ve gained, trying to work harder. Sometimes putting up trail signs – not the kind showing the animal track of its namesake; rather the un-named sort following blazes in tree-trunks. Other times, we want no one to follow us -- the terrain being too good, or bad -- and so we nail up No Trespassing signs at overly-cautious 9 ft. intervals. But I want to survive, and I want to leave a trail.

Thus I eat, adding a little weight here and there, in the tradition of mammalian wintering.

I read, laying in a sun patch, spreading like a stain over carpet I should be vacuuming. But instead I add stories and words to a mind already full.

I sit at my desk and tie, adding to boxes from whom many were lost. Some blood stained. Some frayed. All, mirrors of a soul.

I write, to add memories to a life I hope won’t someday be forgotten.

And I wait, to be measured, weighed, and not found wanting.  

43 comments:

  1. A very pensive piece, lovely in its quiet self evaluation. A fine addition to your thoughtful catalog. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I wrote an eerily similar post this week. I thought it was pretty well written until I read yours. Glad I stopped by to see it!

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  3. Mike - A thought "catalog"...that just sounds quite charming and will think of these ramblings of mine as such henceforth. Thank you!

    River Mud - Well shucks...thanks! And thanks for stopping by...and are you referring to "Last Call on the Little Patuxent"..? I really loved that piece of yours!

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  4. "Like a lover who daily you learn, and after years turned into decades still find pleasure in re-reading....like a good book or homewaters.....none are ever exactly the same twice."

    Another reason you are my favorite writer.

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  5. Jay - And liberal ellipses usage...another reason you are mine.

    OneBug - Glad we're on the same page!

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  6. "For years, life was measured in sonata form by semester." ... You should be a writer ... so well put ...

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  7. Ankur - Thanks! Now I just need to find a wealthy benefactor. ;)

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  8. kicking-the-can was a favorite past time of mine growing up on the mean streets of Fargo...running wild until dark, not having to come inside until the front light was turned on. ahhh....youth.

    keep moving to stay ahead, keep adding to stay happy.

    Cheers

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  9. Anyone who has met you would not forget your sparkling eyes. Anyone who ever reads you can't really get you out of their head.

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  10. Sanders - "keep moving to stay ahead, keep adding to stay happy"...a good mantra to live by...especially that first part. But I get tired thinking about it. ;)

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  11. Hart - The Great Huntress...returned!!! You know, in large part you're to thank for my sparkling eyes...and the fact that I'm still writing. So...thank you!

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  12. Regular Rod - Very glad of it...thanks!

    Shaun - Spiked eggnog can help with that. ;)

    G Lech - Thanks much!

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  13. there are many times when I am at a loss for word after reading your posts. this is one of those times. another brilliant one. I am glad you are not at a loss when you sit down to write them.

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  14. Ditto Jay!
    "Mirrors of a soul".. what I enjoy most about your writing is how you bare your soul so we, the readers, know you like an "Addition" to our family.

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  15. Ivan - Well, I spend a lot of time looking at a blank Word document...at a loss. But eventually I write a lot and make a lot of edits and something turns out in the end. Thanks for your kind words, I always appreciate when you stop by...

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  16. FlyFishingCrazy - Many thanks...and I'm honored to be considered one.

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  17. Alas Erin, all lives's are eventually forgotten but yours, I feel, will linger longer than many of ours especially if parts of your existence are bound in hardback ;-) Make it happen.

    Also, you say lallygag, some say lollygag, either way - its a brilliant word.

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  18. Dave - You know, it's funny: I say "lollygag" but wrote "lallygag." Either way it's always been one of my favorite words and I think it brilliant too. Hardback!? Eek. I am trying! :)

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  19. You can do it girl - trust me ;-)

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  20. Nice piece, Erin. Much to ruminate on. Love the "falling back to being standard" idea; and the closing is classic. What it's all about in a few concise words. Thanks.

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  21. Pardon my French, but damn, that was good.

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  22. Brk Trt - Thank you sir!

    Jim - As always, many many thanks for your thoughts.

    Ty - I rather like French...thanks! :)

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  23. Awesome read Erin, particularly as I sit here locked in solitude in my hotel room, unable to go outside due to the sustained 70 mph winds in Casper today. Can you believe it, gusts of up to 100 mph this afternoon? Seriously, WTF? I actually couldn't slow myself down while walking across a parking lot this afternoon. As fly flingers, the wind offers terrible torment. How about a post on the scrooge we whisper in hatred called the "W's?"

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  24. You truly have a way with words. My favorite:

    "I read, laying in a sun patch, spreading like a stain over carpet I should be vacuuming..."


    Thanks for sharing...

    Ben

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  25. I think I've stared at this comment box for like 10 minutes now. I always seem to be the last to comment. This post was really touching. What you will do with your life will be an addition to us all... if it hasn't been already.

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  26. This was one of those weeks where it felt like there were both stunning subtractions and equally miraculous additions; defying expectations in so many ways. This life has a mean, diminishing algebra to it; growing the sum or product is largely a function of who we touch and the things that we leave behind.

    Thoughtful piece. Thanks.

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  27. Gary - The wind here in my canyon has been ridiculous as well. Sounds like I'm at sea with a vicious gale blowing...kept me inside most of last weekend too. A whispering post about she who rarely does so herself...now there's a challenge!

    Ben - Thanks for stopping by and for the good words...and I truly hate vacuuming. ;)

    BCNerd - Wow. Thank you. That truly means a lot to me...and hey, look! You're not the last. ;)

    Steve - It has been one of those weeks in my life too...subtractions, anniversaries, additions...on the same day in fact. Life has a sense of humor, if anything, although oftentimes it seems maniacal. Thanks, as always...

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  28. Shawn - Many thanks for stopping by, and the kind words!

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  29. Tim - To be determined....by whom, I have no idea. ;)

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  30. What is life if you cannot spend an hour or two 'lollygagging' every now and again.

    A lovely insightful post Erin.

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  31. Tom - I do believe it would be a much less thoughtful and interesting place...thanks as always!

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  32. I'm commenting to let you know that my failure to comment on your pieces is usually just an expression of stunned silence ...

    (I hear you like elipses)

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  33. Quill - I love them...I do...and thank you for your comment about not commenting...I'm humbled, and thankful...

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  34. Although I have to admit that this post gave me the shivers now and then, it was a delight to read! And if you didn’t live that far away, I would come over and hug you for an hour or two, after which we could go fishing (whether you like it or not)!

    Oh, and… WRITE A BOOK!!!

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  35. lonesome piker - Someday, I truly hope to go fishing with you...cold weather or not. I was out today for a bit, and my guides were freezing up. oof! And fear not, I'm working on the book idea. :-)

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