“It wasn’t butter it was earth crisis we were eating last night,” says the tall work-study. The work-study philosophizes about life. “The circle of giving keeps giving” he says.
We’re all philosophers. Breathing into the dusted sepia pages of books, stacked from floor to ceiling in rooms scented with musk and memory. Sunlight streams from skylights and neglected windows. Cars whiz by on Laurel Canyon and Magnolia and the Pioneer Chicken on the corner will outlast us all.
I want to be outside but the cigarette smoker exhales feathers of tar toward saltwater. The ocean cries and the wall of voodoo forms on the horizon, waiting to hug the cliffs and paint everyone in mist.
There is always a choice. Today it’s between the all-saltwater-roll-your-own and the voices of those that live among the trees. Voices that echo in canyons, Love me, free me, color me blue, violet, blood orange yellow and pink; a kaleidoscope of light that winds its way up the trunks of trees.
The trees. The trees plant themselves into hillsides. The trees push themselves from rock and stone. The trees, older than the birds that perch themselves, wings spread ready to hunt, older than the iron, stone and wood structures built around them, older than the smoking man. And what of the rocks?
The earth shook and a piece of cliff set itself free. Tumble, bounce, crumble crash. Particles disperse and morph into another time.
The wind is hollow. The blue jay hunts for food. I wait.
I don’t move. I can’t spread my wings until I know I am home.
I can’t find a home and so I pick up my cup of tea, my crumpled packet of Truvia, my bent spoon, my pen, my new red cap and my bottle of Fiji. Ten years ago I walked along a beach in Fiji. The Fijians have flat feet. They climb the palm trees and drop-thud the coconuts to the ground. I thought about moving to Fiji.
I’ve moved before. I was young and splintered. I tread water for a long time.
We all tread water, burn ourselves into a blue flame until we suffocate or stroke. I butterflied my way to a south-facing beach, crawled up on shore, my home strapped to my back. Sloshed through thick wet sand. Why not let the sea push me into a dream where the sun sets in the North?
Glue me together.
And what of the dirt that I can’t seem to clean from the bottom of my feet? Is that from a stone that fell hundreds of skies into my South facing ocean? Lightning striking sand, melted it into long, thin tubes that sucked themselves toward the beginning. Volcanoes erupted melted rocks. I am stained by my earth.
Today I stepped on a shard of glass. I didn’t see it, but I felt it. I had to stop, sit down and pull it out of my toe. I am ground fine like glass. A window to peer through, a crystal to fill, to drink from and then place under my husband’s foot. I have left behind pieces of myself, on pillows and in sheets and wrapped in the souls of those I have loved.