Friday, February 28

Things i have no photos of

A sign at a small strip mall in Kalispell, Montana, mid-February 2014 that said, simply:

Tyler Leigh, will you let me be your Sadie girl?


Tuesday, February 25

some thoughts on snow.

i am still new enough here that every day really and truly feels like i am magically existing in some sort of fantastic winter wonderland... been walking the dogs twice a day and the mornings are quite different from the nights. i have observed many things.

1) the snow sparkles much more intensely at night. i am guessing this is due to the drop in temperature, but i have no explanation as to why that would matter to an already crystallized water molecule. All i know is: it's a fact. Night time is the right time.

2) Pretend smoking is still super fun.

3) i love to walk by peoples' driveways after a fresh snowfall; all of the comings and going of the various vehicles create amazing geometries (diamonds, triangles, perfect parallelograms) and one day i will document this because IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

4) When i was little my best friend's family had special icicle ornaments that they would hang on their christmas tree. They were precious spirals of delicate glass dusted with silvery glitter, and i Loved Them Ferociously. But in later years i found myself coming back to the thought of them; i saw icicles out in the world everywhere–on eaves, railings, bumpers, and the like–but when had anyone ever seen an icicle on a tree?? Well guess what friends: tonight i saw them. They are fully real. It's pretty simple: snow piles up on boughs. Then: melting comes. Then the temps gradually drop, slowly freezing gravity in its tracks. i stopped dead in my tracks and actually pulled at one to make sure it was truly ice and not some sort of whimsical urban decoration... The dogs were inquisitive. i fed them the shards, and i think a little dent in my heart popped out. Reaching max capacity every day.

5) The latest of these Extra-Fascinating Things that i have been paying attention to are sounds. There is your basic: the soft shuhsh shuh shuhsh of tromping through fresh, powdery snow. Then you get your squeaky, creaky snow, which makes sounds like you are walking on styrofoam. There is the crunch, cranch, cronch of breaking into your crustier snowbanks, and then there is my favorite, my latest discovery: the drumbreak (just made that up. right now). Basically here's how it goes. Snowfall. melt. cold snap. ice sheet! repeat. Then add a layer of fresh snow and pack it down with a snowplow. Now you get to walk on it. And the weirdest sounds come out... like there are entire caverns beneath your feet. You can hear your boots breaking through the ice layers to other hidden layers and releasing a bunch of trapped air, echoing within itself and resonating. i can only describe the (immensely pleasurable) feeling (and accompanying soundscapes) as breaking through the skin of a drum. It feels so bad it's good.

6) This list is over. Tune in next time for such hits as: snow being blown off the trees on a sunshiney morn and falling like glitter from the sky in front of your kitchen window while you wash the dishes and try not to pass out from the beauty of it all, which animal made those tracks?, and: hey, why won't this snow form a decent snowball?!

(Also, that last late-night dog run, when it's so cold that your ears go from numb to fiery-frozen then back to numb again is really not all that bad when you are running up a dark road surrounded by evergreens towards the beckoning Pleiades and the whole world around you is glistening like sugar)

Monday, February 24

too late/the road not taken

i would be lying if i said i didn't miss it when you used to look at me that way.

made it my goal to capture your happiness so that it could live forever. instead it pains me to see it now, removed as i am from it. still, paradoxically, nothing makes me more glad than knowing i could have caused even a tiny sliver of it, a fraction of a fraction of a fraction. and the proof is staring me right in the face– right there, on your own.

there is nothing else to say but this.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

Saturday, February 1

a peaceful, uneasy feeling

Watched The Time Machine this evening.

Sat down with a cup of tea to browse through those channels-by-the-hundreds that contribute to millions of Americans' vegetative hours, and when my eyes fell upon the familiar images, everything inside me just sort of ground to a halt. As i sat down slowly, face relaxed in childlike wonder, remote in hand, my mind took me back to the first time i'd ever seen this film.

What is it, exactly, about watching movies in school? What was so special about the drawing down of shades over the windows, the feeling that you were all complicit about doing something in secret, something taboo... coupled with the knowledge that this insanely valuable and highly-coveted recreation time was simply handed to you, for no reason– or perhaps it was a rainy day? But sometimes it was simply just because. And there was no greater comfort than being able to sink sleepily into your seat and allow everything around you to just fall away while you and your classmates drifted along a dreamy suspension of slow hours... sometimes you got to watch a fiction movie (i remember Pippi Longstocking and Gulliver's Travels, among others), or else you were given an educational smorgasbord of short films about the solar system, nutrition, the animal kingdom, or earth sciences...

[Sidebar: here is where Boards of Canada really shines. This short track is one of my standout faves. Takes me back to that special place, every single time. Press play, and read on (if so desired):


Then it was always so disconcerting, to rouse, when the lights came back on and the teacher clapped her hands together, smiling; sometimes, maybe, you'd fallen asleep at your desk and drooled a little onto your arm, or left your ear's hot imprint there. There would be a shuffle of feet as everyone blinked, and squinted, readjusting in their chairs.

And since it was usually a rainy day, you'd stumble bleary-eyed out onto the schoolyard, struggling sluggishly to get your backpack on over your jacket, and begin the moony walk home in the strange-dark afternoon light– stepping around the gathering puddles, walking your best straight line on the curb, smelling the acrid piles of wet oak leaves choking up the gutters. You might stop to observe the raindrops caught fast in a spider's web, or pick up a fallen stick to drag along the sidewalk behind you. Then there was always that one house you had to walk by on your route that gave you bad juju, causing your extremities to tingle and your eyes to quit blinking (the one in my neighborhood had thick arms of ivy creeping inside through the windows' edges from the exterior walls, and it seemed that not a single solitary soul resided there).

Maybe you had the film's narrator from earlier echoing roundly in your skull, reminding you about how clouds form or how fast cheetahs run; how crayons are made and how sunflowers follow the sun. Maybe you had to be home right away, or maybe you were on your way to a friend's house.

Either way, there would probably be juice.