Bonfires

A rainy day; a light, wet snow falling briefly near dusk. Also falling was the temperature, from low sixties this morning to 31F now. The new house seems to hold heat pretty well, but the damp and chill worked its way inside as the day progressed. Here in the studio the thermostat near the door reads 70F but at my desk by the windows seems much cooler. As happens on stormy days, dark fell early and hard.

We continue to search for missing items, knowing full well everything is most likely somewhere, perhaps mislabeled. Still, some objects have demonstrated remarkable skill at hide-and- go-seek. There are only so many boxes left, mostly in the basement, so hiding places are limited.

Outside, the trees are mostly bare, the rain and wind having stripped away their leaves. Here and there the leaves pile up in a corner of the yard where they will desiccate and slowly disappear. Certainly the rain slows that process, but tomorrow’s wan autumn sun will again hasten the drying. We are witness to an odd contrast: the bareness of the late autumn world and the clutter of a house in transition.

Tonight I am reminded of the early pages of Hardy’s The Return of the Native. Politically referenced, Guy Fawkes bonfires mark the day, or rather the falling night, superimposed upon a landscape drenched in millennia of ritual fires that called the Ancestors. Surely today is no different, the historical and political simply float on a surface of deep history. Surely every inch of North America is contested, is saturated with the lived experiences of untold generations, is sacred. We know this; we just have to get a little below the surface of things, and shake off a bit of the collective amnesia we have learned to count as truth.

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