Lines From a Life III

August of 1983, Northern Wisconsin

A sunrise sky of mauve and cream and silver through a light cloud cover. Clouds with vaguely silvered linings.

Morning on the Paint River. Another one of the holy places. The ancient rocks. A small plane sailed overhead--a faint hum. Fighter jets in the evening sky last night. Visions this morning in the sun on the water. Healing visions. Oh--to have the strength to touch the sad souls--to give them light and strength and joy. The power to transform--if only by a shade--to lighten the shadows. Here rocks glisten in the sunlight and the water runs greenish-black and tumbles white around the rocks, while in the pool of back water, behind the island, three water reeds stand green and still. Each rock is a landscape of its own--the ruins of an ancient civilization are etched on one--cities built into its cliffs and roads that cross the mountains and broad valleys--the remains of ancient lakes. The shadows on the rock downriver are a a pair of bear, sniffing the air before crossing. Others are remains of logs--others are just rocks.

At times like this I feel as if I could finally clear away the confusion, and my strength would bring my laughter back, and then it will have the sound of many bells, and my language will flow with the music of the earth and all of its peoples and I could show them pictures of themselves revealed as glory and we would laugh together and be strong.

Back in Green Bay. I just walked out on the roof again to water the tomatoes. The tracks are being torn up at a prodigious pace - there's already a slab of raw concrete across the street and deep holes on down the way. It's a bit of a morning-after, and with these city noises, it's even more so. A morning after the country and the night before.

Yesterday I stood in a magical garden, behind the garage, where last year the bulldozer came in and cleared a space for semi's to turn around. It's been free now for over a year, and the muillein have moved in, tall and thick, with candlelabra arms like cactus. Full-blown thistles, with their seed pods burst and covered with thistle down all dewey and shining like silk in the sun. Against the garage wall was a large, fragrant evening primrose. The world was sparkling and marvelous and new.

The mornings are always like that - wherever I am. When the sun is shining and things are beginning again. I don't understand how it all falls apart, mangled by necessity and duty and getting through the day.

24 August. September weather is out there somewhere. It's overcast and cool - early autumn cool. The trees look heavy and tired. I have my feet in the oven for the first time this year. And I'm still paying last winter's heating bill - well, maybe not. I'm probably just beginning to pay this summer's bill.

25 August. A promisingly lovely day. Yesterday - rain and cold. The rain was long and heavy, but it started to break up when I went to the store around 2:00. A rainbow arched in the east and the sky was filled wih an incredible variety of clouds and colors.

The rainbow rose over blue-grey clouds - below and to the north the storm clouds that had moved northeast mounded up sooty black and thick. In the west, the sky showed blue with trails and scarves and wisps of clouds at different heights and shades, from dark scribbles to a patch of bright pink catching the last of the senset, to white edged in silver, and all of it moving swiftly but at different speeds depending on altitude. It was marvelous.

28 August. Lovely day again. The weather is cooling perceptibly. Fall comes fast here, but with any luck at all, it stays for awhile. We barely get spring, summer is all too short, but the autumns are long and lovely. What Green Bay does best at, though, is winter - if you call doing something long and interminably cold doing it well.

7 September. Woke up at 6:00 this morning. Decided to throw some clothes on and go finish JAG before they got to work. Stole a dollar from Steve for cigarettes and went in to play cleaning lady. The city crew was wroking outside painting new lines in the intersection. They had the entire intersection festooned with little orange cones. It looked like a Halloween party. Tried to take a picture of it through the screen. By the time I got my clothes on, it was gone. Party's over.

14 September. Cool and cloudy - the treetops showing yellow-green - the wind chime swinging lazy with an end of summer tinkle.

Friday 17 December. A cold gray dawn. No snow as yet. No sparkle in the world. Green Bay looks like a cheap black and white movie.

19 December. When I think of ideal landscapes now, they are barren deserts. Even rocks and cactus would mar the perfect world which should be warm and dry and contain absolutely nothing.