Oh, what a grand few days…
We look at another place I know I won’t like — I’m one of those who know — and I’m not overwhelmed. Expecting the deal to crumble in the end regardless, I stay on my best behavior and pretty much keep silent. (Mistake!) But right away, in the absence of my all-knowing analysis, the landlord’s new refrigerator and a big sunroom have her heart racing. She doesn’t even mind that the wooded lot that starts 20 feet from the tall south-facing windows has just been sold — yet who buys a quarter-acre in town just to look at the bushes?
The house has forced-air heat with outlets way up near the high ceilings. The furnace uses propane. There isn’t a woodstove worth mentioning. I see money flying out the door and being cold to boot. “That little electric heater sure does a great job in here,” the owner says, pointing to a unit in the corner of the sunroom. She’s a very nice person, but I’m wondering why a sunroom needs a heater. At night, maybe, in the absence of insulating drapes, but still. All this I take in but keep to myself instead of sharing with my partner, who’s practically dancing a jig. Surely she’ll stop and see the bedrooms are too small, I think to myself.
In the end of course she’s flying high, so I have to come clean and do so about half a mile after leaving the place: basically, I hate it and we’d freeze to death. There’s a long ride home, if you know what I mean, on which I take silence for wanting to hear more. Yes, even after almost 30 years, I can still be that stupid. It isn’t hard at all. The biggest irony is that she’s fucking brilliant when cornered and almost always does the right thing: if I’d confided in her all along, she might have pulled the plug herself. We notice different things, though. On her own, she might have plunked her piano down in that sunroom, plugged electric heaters in all the rooms, and just kept on truckin’. Still, we just came through the longest, coldest winter of my life. I want a fire to get cozy with.
This morning I flip out and have to “do something,” so I drive into town to read bulletin boards for housing notices. Pretty lame, but it gets me off my butt. Trying to shake something loose, I take a short side trip on the way home to visit the Mabel Dodge Luhan House [historical site & conference center] like someone suggested. Just an intuitive thing. I walk inside, but there isn’t a bulletin board or anyone to talk to. The vibes are good back there in the compound, though, and I don’t mind.
The air outside is sharply cool and damp from last night’s rain. As I creep down the tight little alley in first gear on the way out, the sunlight is warm and welcome by way of contrast. Halfway down the little hill I stop, incredulous: sitting in the dirt road looking up at me right below the open driver’s window is a HUGE GREEN BULLFROG the size of a cantelope! We stare at each other for a long moment, and then I drive on, checking in my rear-view mirror that I haven’t seen a mirage. I can’t tell you how many decades it’s been since I saw a frog like that, probably not since the early days of my life. It’s been years since I heard one, too. I know there’s a big pond at a nearby gallery tucked back in the trees, but this is still the high desert, and I just saw a goddamn bullfrog in the alley.
Very tricky afternoon on my own. I sit down to do some boring detail work for a client, but my mind is a limpet that won’t let go of where it shouldn’t be. Then I have an idea. (You don’t need to know what it is, it’s just an idea that comes from something I see.) But of course I can do that, I say to myself. It’s as obvious as anything. Something lifts, and it’s like I’m back. Hey, I feel — well, normal… no, better than “normal.” What?? I see What Can Be. Outrageous!
And then, at the same time, AT THE VERY SAME TIME, I’m aware of the pain. The big pain, the all-encompassing thing that tries to kill me. I’m okay and the pain is still there, but I’m neither one. I ease toward the hurt for a test, almost close enough to fall in, then pull back to where there’s both at the same time.
Both. At. The. Same. Time.
Sitting outside just before sunset, I notice the plum tree branches blowing in the wind, yellow-white light flashing on the leaves. The tree is a pulsating field I’ve never seen before. It wants me to promise to remember.
Maybe we won’t exactly move, you know. Maybe something else is going on.