From a distance

At first the day had no discernible features to it, nothing to hold onto. A smooth rock face stretching up. I made my way through the dark to the coffee pot and back to the den with a blanket where I lit a candle, opened my phone and went back to the year 2016, to blog posts I’d published then. But it was hard listening to myself for too long, hard reading in the dark. The cat was there like some odd, furry spirit. And the caffeine slowly came on with the outdoor light, and I liked this time of day best for the quiet and for the dark, for the alone time and advancing light. It was during those times I made a practice to write, but for the past few months I’d slipped out, troubled by the thought I was wasting my time and should be doing more. Troubled worse by the winter funk we’d fallen into. And how depression is contagious, unavoidable, like a virus with its own brand of spikes. And the only way out was to get out, to trudge through the woods even when it rained, to pad my way through with my thumbs and my phone, putting down words, which is still writing even if it doesn’t feel that way. How we can slip into our own traps of such ingenious design. That my writing was good enough or not good enough, its own trap.

If yoga means union then why do I feel better when my body recedes from itself? We are over-evolved, our brains swell like balloons. We float off to some no-man’s land of our own making and mistake that for enlightenment. Today I saw a girl from my childhood, one of my first crushes, Isabelle Wilson. I saw the features of her face, the brown in her eyes. I saw inside of her and she held me there, I looked inside, she let me. I woke from that and sat in the dark with the bistro lights from the back yard the only light. I closed my eyes and tried to bring it up again but it was like a photocopy, not the same. How was it I could access that, from all those years?

I went back to the fields in Germany where we used to walk, retraced the way down to the lower road beneath the tunnel and past the school, by the pond where the frogs sing in spring, up to a path that runs by the river. And out onto the fields, I’ve been there through every season for the last 18 years. My memories run together to form a kind of painting of the mind, a short film.

My heart pangs with the scene of me going by the swimming pool and looking through the fence at the spot on the grass where we used to sit that first summer when the kids were really small. You can only see it in the winter when the leaves are down and everything looks bare. It’s hard to remember much but I hang on to every last bit.

And will they know how to wind the old clocks if I don’t show them? And what will they make of me from a distance? It is like sitting in a cave, making sketches on the wall. The days would have no discernible features if we didn’t, we mark them this way.

Categories: Memoir, writing


17 replies

  1. Nice, this piece has a great immersive feel, for both you and the reader, very smooth transitioning between your actions, thoughts and dreams. And I particularly like, even though it’s a sad thought “We float off to some no-man’s land of our own making and mistake that for enlightenment.”
    Regards from the frozen Old Northwest

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey man thanks! You mean the frozen old Northeast I think though 😀. We’re just mossy and foggy in these parts at the moment. Thanks for sharing that line you like, I’ve been thinking a lot recently on what separates us from other animals and our brains can often feel like a blessing and a curse. I like the immersive comment, that’s great Robert, glad you felt that and thank you for sharing. “Hawk eye.”


  2. I’ve been working from home and isolation fatigue is setting in. Tough during the cold winter days. The brain fog never fully lifts. I see phantoms, indistinct, like long lost loves. What is even time?

    But the snacks are good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice to hear from you old friend! I think we’re all experiencing similar, different versions thereof. And we come from a place of privilege fortunately, but still not immune to garden variety insanity. Thanks for sharing and reaching a hand out through the haze.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Really one to sink into, Bill. I’m reading on my phone, taking a break on the longest walk I’ve attempted recently. It’s bright and clear and going to be hot. My bunion throbs quietly, reminding me of pain and age. Our bodies accrue scratchy cave drawings too, time’s tattoos.
    Thanks for a terrific piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Bruce! Well shucks thanks for taking me with you on your walk. I’m always just a click away! Ha ha! Glad you’re getting some nice warmth and sun there, sorry to hear about the foot.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Intriguing read. And I’m wondering if there’s some energy associated with just-full moon in January … I woke this morning and 10 minutes of so later was suddenly 5 years old, in the bathroom closet, bathroom doors locked to keep my big sister out while I played with her Little Women dolls (off limits to me) – I felt sure they wanted to exchange outfits with one another, so I helped ’em … So weird to suddenly be a kid in a closet, pursuing something forbidden! You think we’re just the only ones owning up to vivid recalls? Did this happen to everyone in the past day or so?
    Your walks through Germany fields make me want to get my passport renewed and GO … well, better get my hip fixed first, but what a compelling visualization!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey there! I like the new thumbnail. Funny to think it could be a just-full moon thing. Have been sleeping so deeply, so glad for that. Trippy-ass dreams though. Cool to hear about yours! Nuts! Glad the German journals kind of triggered that passport renewal idea for you. We need to do the same for our youngest so we can boogie on command if needed.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Time wasting – I could have been a contender …
    but I couldn’t be arsed.
    Weird dreams under recent full moon: ✓
    Covid induced low mood: ✓
    Mind and spirit lifted by Bill Pearce: ✓

    Thanks, Man.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, as far as the writing goes, it doesn’t seem you’ve lost a step despite the lack of practice. I do wonder though why you started feeling it was a waste of time, and what more you think you ought to be doing. I like the image of the caffeine and sunlight hitting at the same time, and the bit about Isabelle Wilson. As for the body receding from itself, is that it, or is it you receding from the body? It can be a bit of a drag, the body. Nice to take a break from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brilliant! The counselor in you is coming through my friend. Yeah wow the rabbit hole there! The “is it enough?” I think I’ve resurfaced from all that navel gazing. And on the body and union piece, well that’s its own maze. And no I haven’t figured that one out either. Maybe I should stop thinking about it right?! 😜 happy new year buddy.

      Liked by 1 person

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