Headlights trace the curve along the road that leads to the lake, the road we don’t know the name of that changes names every bend three or four times, all of them number-names with no apparent logic, so we just call it the Lake Road, like the old-timers do.
In the early morning dark the street lamps make orange cones, catch the mist, and I cross the road for the street that leads to the park entrance the locals use, on the side. And there the trees get bigger, the first of the landscape paintings with the dark morning sky beginning to brighten, the bare branches pressing up, I can let go and turn back in time, can picture myself on the side streets from my mom’s house going down to the river and crossing the A27 to the next small, German town: and once across, the path along the railroad tracks where sometimes you catch the train screeching to a stop, the hiss of the doors opening and closing, then off again…and the silence that replaces it, that backfills the space of time and memory…could take you anywhere.
Through the small gap in a tunnel under the tracks, up the steep Roman steps, the uneven stones, the rungs in a ladder they call the Himmelsleiter that bends and zig-zags along the grape vine rows: and once at the top turning back you can see my mom’s small village, and make out her house: the same view I had framed in a picture at my desk at work, when we imagined going back, some day for real.
In the morning when I step out of bed the left heel is bad, could be the fall in the subway going to the beer festival, could be the last trip to Oil City with Loren, getting cocky on the logs, falling…having to crawl like a crab on the rock scramble out trying to beat the tide, the early morning dark.
The last working Monday of the calendar year, getting ready to go back to Germany for the first time in two years: Brad moving in to our place for the month, lists of things to do, watching the weather, knowing next Monday it won’t matter.
Photo by Loren Chasse, Portland OR, 2017