Thursday, April 4, 2013

October 6, 2008: An afternoon of purple prose

[editor's note: the storm alluded to in the previous post kept me holed up in my tent most of the next day.  I spent the afternoon describing the immediate area in my notebook; in the absence of more immediate interest, this is reproduced in all its excess below.]

Above, the sky is grey, but as I look down across the river it gradually takes on the texture of dark cotton, and then a thin blue reasserting itself to the horizon.  This blue is broken by the naked crowns of trees which have stripped themselves for the winter, contrary to human fashion.  About them are others,  These nude trees extend above others, clothed in yellow, for the trees do not shed their garments so as to freeze in winter, but so that the thin chemistry of life retreats within its shield of bark, a thin layer of death to separate it from the encroaching atmosphere of death outside.

Many of these trees remain green for the moment; they are upstarts, risking their lifeblood for another inch of growth before winter's reign, and thus to have some slight advantage over their neighbors on catching the light of spring.

The but bulk of this woods is two thumbs' width high, as measured by outstretched arm; the bare boughs extend another pinky above this.

The bank slopes down two pinkies to the water; the first half of this is populated by brush and weeds lit by some otherworldly sun; for the sky has no brightness, but the plants glow green atop and cast red shadows, unlike any earthly light, but outstripp but now that I look carefully with my tired eyes I see bright stripes of yellow in the weeds, and it is perhaps from the glow of these plants that the others take their color.

The remainder of the shore is a staircase of sick chocolate mud -- roughly seven steps of uncertain height.  Here and there it has been colonized by the red-green herbs treading slowly down to the river.

The water is smooth now, trickling lef to my left, where earlier it had been invigorated by shouting winds and whispering rains to such strengths as to make my muscles ache anew.  The waves had so terrified me in the morning and throughout the day that I had not endeavored to pack or embark my canoe lying diagonally on the near shore.

This shore surely mirrors the other. in generalities, but its proximity brings certain particulars to light.  The mud steps here average one foot high by three feet long, and are broken by a cascade of white rock a few feet wide, flowing down to the water.  It was this that attracted my attention to the area last night.

On this rocky way lies a log, rotten on one end and cut on the other, which might have been placed there for viewing or fishing the waters except for its accidental angle.  Instead of fishing tackle box, a cardboard carton of eggs sits on it, six eggs occupying the center, and six cups on either side of these filling & degrading from rainwater.  Beside the log sites a small stove sheathed in a metal windshield, a bottle of fuel & a blue mesh bags of other cooking supplies abandoned after my breakfast this afternoon.

The white rocks lead up to a deer trail, ten feet connecting to a mowed kind of driveway above, consisting of grass mowed some two or three weeks ago.  Despite this proof of the site's importance to the human animal, the only clear tracks between the rocks and this mowed circle were deer.

To the right of the mowed circle is a naked tree 50 foot high, branching like the passages of a lung.  It is alone here but for a yellow offspring cowering out from its left, half as tall, but still clothed.

These trees became unacceptable for toilet when I became aware of the secret building watching from behind their blinds of trees.  The lonely tree mother tree sat too high, exposed around, so I tramped through tall grass on one side to relieve myself at the trunk at the margin of this clearing, and hid my s--t under bark at its base.

Then I returned to my tent where I have waited out the day.  It was pitched on the fourth (or 5th) mud step, wider than the others, and covered with a dead yellow moss that proved insignificant insufficient to shield the floor from the moistness beneath.  The base of the tent is soaked through with opaque waters, cold with thick bubbles, much of which has collected at the lower edge and corner.  A battery swimming in this muck, in uncorroded only for already having been drained.  There is little to do but hope for clear skies in the morning to dry everything off, and still airs in late morning to permit my passage around the bend.
PL*.  Finished Titus Groan today.  Prayer for Owen Meany is feared dead before reading.
PPL.  A rainbow forms across the river.  Behind, the air turns gold, pink, fading to blue above.

The (two) lonely trees are joined at the trunk?

The deer path is populated by poison ivy, just tinged with red, brown cockleburrs and a weed of deep lavender, its seeds arranged in decreasing clusters from its base to its peak.
PPPL.  One an of rainbow on farm with two sheds & 5 silos.

[* - PL is short for "post line" indicating a comment added after the horizontal line which generally marks the end of a notebook entry.]

Day 107 ended: 49*30.677N, 097*13.478W

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