March 9, 2007 11:20pm
I am bone tired and damp. Sonny is curled up on his blue bed near my feet and Lindsay is on the rug by the laundry door. I can hear her breathe. I look over and sure enough shake my head. A collie. A mahogany sable collie. My collie.
The story of the day.
It rained. I decided to take Sonny for the company and so at least one of the papillons would travel home with her. It was a drive I have thought of making many times over the last 6 years. Just me on an afternoon in the middle of the week.
The parts of the drive become familiar and are separating out now: the change on the I-5 after you go through Wilsonville and enter the valley and the landscape gets very horizontal and green . The trip through Salem and over the bridge, after which you are in rural Oregon, a little growth along the edges. 22 to 99Wsouth and then right where the ground swells up and sighs in great swaths of color, the fields inked over with rain or turned so green they are blinding; the ochre dirt the color of cooked pumpkin flesh and the coast range charting the horizon in blue shadows and cloud smears. The road becomes organic and it dips and curves like the hills themselves. It is breathtaking the way the green hill meets the full black clouds of rain coming, and yet somehow so anonymous…beauty without feeling; or maybe it is beauty without memory. No music from a tinkly amusement park rolling up and over the hills to meet. Although now maybe there is…
Then a left that takes you into the trees that fringe the foothills and then the sign that signals the return of ancient feeling KINGS VALLEY COLLIES. Like a mirage or a pot of gold or a gate to paradise. Up the hill then, narrow and black under the trees dipping and leaping higher into the hills. To the gate.
You stop the car, engine running and brake pulled and swing it open creaking and hollow and metal. Roll through. Close it. Roll down the hill to the chorus of collies.
But I get ahead of myself. Back in the middle lane of the I-5 I am breathing long draughts of breath and stretching the parts that will stretch looking for a calm place, if not the joyous place; keeping the car going straight. To think of even the smallest changes in schedule flip the panic switch…How will we eat supper?
Bt when I focus on her, the dog herself, I find myself grinning a tiny grin so small I have to look into the mirror to see if its really there. And it is, on the left side, a minute curve like a tiny seed in your mouth that feels 10 times bigger than it looks.
The pressure to feel a certain way, only now, at this moment, is absurd. Whatever it is I felt I will remember in the details of what I saw. And a buzzing on my neck, the empty fields. Friday traffic.
I am starting to fade…my eyes won’t stay open…more tomorrow…Now its time to get the girl in her crate and me into bed….