I’m sitting on the couch under a fantastically soft blanket that Robyn (housemate, singer, player of the ukelele, giver of excellent hugs) purchased recently, with a half-empty glass of red wine that was opened several days ago and honestly has seen better, richer, brighter days. There is something about the darkness of the sky outside right now (the ordinary light pollution seems to have vanished tonight), something about this old wine, something about the very very good and happy phone call I had today with a very good friend, that is making me feel verbose and message send-y.
The living room is illuminated with a tall, bendy floor lamp. A list of what is hanging on the walls in the living room:
- One long, skinny map of Isle Royale, nearly five feet long, in pale blues and greens and properly labeled
- A partial topo map of Mount Everest, in shades of blue and gray
- One original Patrick Dengate painting, of tall lithe birches standing on a bluff over Lake Superior
- One original Susan Armington painting, of her father, collaged in pieces of maps and diagrams
- One original Sam Case drawing, small, of a sandhill crane, partially colored with coffee
These are all things I love. (Well, the Mount Everest has less personal relevance, but it reminds me of climbing and adventures, of mountaineers, and this reminds me of my brother, who is one of my personal heroes and probably having an adventure on a mountain somewhere as you read this.)
To the straight-shooting cowboy, reader of stars: hello from distant Minnesota. Your new son is beautiful. He has eyebrows to delight for days. Take him into the forest, show him the big dipper, ride with him someday to the red canyons of the desert. You will. He is such a lucky tiny human.
The wine has turned a corner. There is a bowl of candy canes on the glass coffee table. There is a long line of folded red paper horses on the windowsill, and a succulent plant which is managing to survive beside the ice-frosted windowpane.
To my beloved friend Levi, two years gone: we miss you still. I cook curry, drink bourbon, in your memory, barefoot on the kitchen floor. I’m missing your singing, your scooped up hug, your skeptical look. If you were here I would sit you down and feed you curry. You would laugh, make me let you cook me something. Stop it now, look, you’re going to make me cry. We miss you, okay? We will, we always will, it does not go away, and I know this now.
There is a chin-up bar in the doorway to the closet. I can do two of them in a row now, on a good day. There are many objects in this room, including but not limited to: a tiny wooden moose. A coconut. Old Michigan license plates. A cowbell. A long silver feather. A letter that needs to be sent.
There are some messages you can’t pick up, pad down to the porch, and stick in the mailbox. These messages live in our brains. They live in glasses of wine and darker than usual nights.