The Mud-Slinging Muck of It
The valley was thick and soggy with moisture all day, as if honey-water swelled from clouds in a continuous, pulsing flow. In this temperate rainforest, it is possible to feel like you’re swimming all day even when no rain falls. So as I dug around in sopping piles of rotting mountain laurel branches, maple cuts, and yellow poplar wedges this afternoon, sorting rotten wood from burnable wood, it was difficult not to feel simultaneously submerged and parched.
Which is why Cam’s phone call seemed so perfectly timed. I could almost taste the thin, dry Colorado air on his breath while we talked writing and women and men and language and oh-remember-once-at-Whitman like the good-‘ole-this-and-that’s. He tells me he still falls hard and fast. I tell him I am still playing games with infatuation and that I’m bored of it. It is a safe confession. He, too, lives with his heart on his sleeve. We are both open to love, frequently wounded, die-hard romantics, and late twenty-something’s watching packs of friends on all sides get married-divorced-pregnant-cheated on-lied-to-had-enough-can’t-live-without-you kind of gigs.
There is further confession, though, that the single life is as sweet as it gets. That this freedom cannot be measured now and will only be looked at with sincere gratitude once it has slipped from our sunny-sky days, subsumed by commitments to a companion.
I want not to want and it’s precisely this curling paradox, meandering inside my bones like a lost snake – that keeps language alive for me. I cannot make sense of life within, so I look with-out and try to write my world “into coherence” – all the love, hate, shit, injustice, pain, beauty, mud-slinging rotten muck of it.
We hang up the phone and there is only one thing to do. Back to work.