Escher paradox diagram (on cold medication)

By Albert Bierstadt, 'Storm in the Mountains,' 1870

By Albert Bierstadt, ‘Storm in the Mountains,’ 1870

Monday at the Brewhouse, in Issaquah. “Mondays don’t matter,” that’s what mom said when we lived in Germany. We’d walk up to the butcher for the weiß wursts late morning, a soft pretzel and a beer, go back home, take a nap. The doves perch in a tree by the salmon hatchery next to the Brewhouse, they fan out like a deck of playing cards across the sky, clubs and spades, like an M.C. Escher print, black and white.

We had to take the long way home (Fall City road, closed) and the tweeter on the speaker on the passenger’s side hung by a wire, flapped like a gland or a body part, a Dali painting, and the hillsides opposite the lake with mist and fog plumes hanging there in clots, like campfire smoke—and when we got home I saw the fox again, or the coyote, possibly a wolf, it looked so healthy—I went for my phone but it was inside the house charging, so I ran around the backside hoping to sneak up on it but it was gone, though I sensed its eyes on me from the shrubs, and everything got quiet but for the damp holly leaves and branches, I looked out over the neighbor’s property past a broken shed covered in vines, and wondered how anything wild could survive out here.

And I went back down in my den on the sofa, under the gray canopy of clouds, one hand on my chest until it had been there so long I couldn’t feel it, half-feared I’d died, my soul one foot in, one foot out: and I realized the figurines on the Christmas tree were all facing out the window the same way the dog does when the kids leave: and I fit myself inside the crack of some memory this time of year in Wales, ferrying over from Ireland, climbing the hillsides in our stick shift, stopping in a small town with not much more than a B&B, a couple pubs, a pharmacist, that feeling after Christmas that everything’s about to close up, how I felt it drawing down with the year: and a strong wind storm coming, but the place was like a hundred years old or more and all stone, so you couldn’t feel or hear a thing, the trees just shook and waved their limbs like elephant trunks, like tusks, and sometimes it seemed the power dipped, the lights, but it was dark and hard to tell—and we wished we could stay there longer, it was only one night.

The trees looked the same from my den, the tall pine limbs waving. I ran into my neighbor coming back from the lake and asked if he’d seen the fox (or coyote), and he asked what color it was but I couldn’t remember, each time I tried to focus on it, it wriggled out of view, and he told me about a buck he saw with a good sized rack but it was missing a hind leg, it had healed over nicely though, and I thought we’re defined as much by what we have as what we’ve lost.

Categories: musings

Tags: , , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. Super ending, just like the buck’s (heh heh). Love the mysterious winter mood.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That post-Christmas feeling… Unbelievable how everything changes totally overnight, like a magical snowfall turning to slush.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, it has a palpable feeling, and odd to experience it overseas, and how that’s universal (at least in Christian-based cultures). Slush sucks! Wish we had some snow but we rarely get it here, in the Pacific Northwest.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Or on southern Vancouver Island. This year was looking promising for a white Christmas, but latest forecasts are for rain. (And of course there was our Blizzard of 1996, which was too much of a good thing).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey! The blizzard of 96; I know that blizzard well! That was in the days before the internet for me and I had no idea it was coming, then I walked to work in my boots because I needed to collect my check. The day after Christmas, a Friday it must have been? Nice to know you’re a PNW’er too. And the snows of 08 were good too, round Christmastime. Bill

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Some fantastic imagery in this one, really stands out, the descriptions. My fav is the speaker hanging like a Dali.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i love the last line the best.


  5. So much to like in this one…doves like playing cards…decorations on the tree facing out like the dog…the fox/coyote/wolf watching from the bushes…the silence of a storm from inside. Also really like that painting you included. No one sees the world the same, but these posts make me want to watch with a sharper eye.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a great comment Kristen, thanks! Yes, I dug around for an image and happy you liked that one too. We have a painting by that guy in our house, one of the Pacific Northwest, a beach scene with storm/dusk…he does light really well, captures the drama. Here’s to sharp eyes.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I felt myself drifting on the sofa with you, that feeling when you know you’re almost asleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This whole piece is a success, but the idea of the figurines on the tree, all facing the window expectantly, is my favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Robert, wow! Thanks for dipping into my archive here — I had to reread this to remember what you were referring to, funny. Happy Monday, mister. Bill

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a good one. I always mean to do everything chronologically, read through and see the progression and patterns, maybe this year one of my resolutions will come true (it would have to be magic, not willpower 🙂 )

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s ambitious. At least for my posts, it shouldn’t matter—they’re kind of all over the place, not linear. This one especially! Blame the cold meds.

        Liked by 1 person

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