__________________________________During college when I worked for the Forest Service I bought a rowboat at a yard sale. It was one of those crazy backwoods kind of yard sales where it's hard to tell what's out because it was left out and what's out because it's part of the sale. The owner was a character and said she kept her dogs in the house so the fleas would stay on the dogs and leave the humans alone. Anyway, I got my boat and a set of oars for $25, loaded it onto the top of my 1967 Volkswagon bug and was a very happy camper.
The bunkhouse we lived in was an old 1930's log structure built by the Work Projects Administration that was situated near a small lake. I christened my sturdy red and white wooden craft "Sea Bitch" with a bottle of Henry's Dark Ale. We had some good times. I've always loved rowing and just knew I'd be on a rowing team one day. Unfortunately, my legs stopped growing a few feet shy of that dream.
There's something about skimming across the water that fills me up. Especially on a morning that starts off cool and foggy and still, then transforms right before your eyes into clear brilliance. I'm always mesmerized by the flashing of sun sparkles on the water and imagine myself diving in after them, chasing the flecks of gold.
This morning the air smells like spring. The sun is warm. The chirpy spring birds are out and singing. Low-lying fog was hanging above the forest when the sun came up. As I looked beyond my hill down into the valley while out on a walk, I noticed a triangle of mist rising above a cluster of fir trees. It looked like a little cone-shaped mountain and my heart leapt (I know, I'm easily excitable) as I realized that I was witnessing the birth of a cloud. The mist thickened above the tree tops, then swirled and morphed and blossomed and at last, detatched from the branches and went drifting off into the bright robin egg blue sky. It was so cool!
Magic mist found it's way into a little sensual fable I wrote way back in October or November -- and I'm thrilled to announce that it will finally see light of a brilliant blue day at Ruthie's Club next month. Here's the misty part of Fairy Tale Ending!
Fairy Tale Ending
After Ariel finished the stacking, she unscrewed the lid from her thermos and sat on the stump to rest before tackling the next chore. The bitter steam rose from the thermos as she poured it into the tin cup. The coffee was made with an exotic blend of beans she’d gathered from the jungles of Honduras. Well, not herself, exactly. She discovered the coffee at her favorite cafe. The package said simply “Si” hand-written on the brown paper bag, offering no explanation or description, but smelled to Ariel like sex and all-night bouts of wild naughtiness in pine-scented forests and on top of kitchen tables, bent over moss logs, tied to the rough log posts of her bed, etc., etc. The steam lifted from her cup and her lips into the bright morning, spiraling like a water sprout into the trees where she assumed it simply evaporated.
It did not. It drifted up, up, up like a lost balloon before descending. Jungle lust then descended in a thick, white cloud of steam straight from the heart of darkness and fell upon Mikael as he tossed stones into the ocean, whispering a prayer with each one and who was confused enough already. But the combination of caffeinated steam and exotic realism contained in it woke him up. His mind cleared in a flash. The answers to all of life’s big, terrifying questions became agonizingly clear.
“Fuck this nonsense,” he shouted to the waves. “Fuck this dreck.”
Mikael knew what he had to do. He remembered Ima’s advice: “Gifts….you must earn them first.” And then his own conclusion: “This is about passion. Finding her lost passion and bringing it to her.”
(Note: the photo up top is me rowing my shed through the woods -- I hope putting it on here won't ruin my political career :)