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.