I am thinking today about how things can change suddenly, when nothing has changed. An interior reality that moves independently from the weather or circumstance.

Now, in this moment, I am angry or content or want to pick up and begin again new somewhere that smells differently. Spin the wheel. I latch onto reasons for my shifting moods but am wholly unconvinced they are causes. I’m just grabbing at the random facts while the merry-go-round spins. I am my own fortune teller and blue-eyed dupe making “sense” of it all. Lining up the cards and making up a story to explain why I am where I am.

I’m heading north in three weeks – to stay for a week in a tiny, rough house on the fjord-side of the island. To look for porpoises and puffins through my binoculars. Maybe without them. I’m bringing a wetsuit. Wool socks. And wine. K. says we need to trek to the opposite side of the island to see the midnight sun.

What I am looking forward to is the smell of the ocean. Above the arctic circle, the ocean smells… clean. Scrubbed. Ragged. I can’t help but hope it will clear my head. But I know nothing is ever as we imagine it will be. I know the mosquitoes up there are the size of wasps. I know the damp cold of a holiday cabin.

I could pull out my tarot cards to try to figure out how I got myself into this. I’d get the hanged man. I am in a period of indecision. Suspended.

In a time of contemplation.

The brain is amazing. We can always make it “fit”. Whatever it is. The omens. The signs. Today walking Leonard we passed a hedgehog on the sidewalk. Dead. In the middle of the sidewalk. I walked Leonard a big arc on the lawn to avoid it. I watched three people walk by it. I wonder if the body will lay there until the birds take it away bit by bit. The gulls, most likely. Where are the gulls today?

We passed the field where last week the duck couples were coupling in the tall grass. Someone has driven a lawnmower over it all. I wonder where they went? Where will they brood?

In films and in books, people have little epiphanies that get all their ducks in a neat row while on a vacation. After facing death. Getting a sign.

All these external changes that shake up their inner realities. Does it ever really happen that way?

a fetus gestates:
dog, fish, shark, venomous
a year to decide – yes

It’s something of a wake-up call when you think in the morning: today I’m going to shower and brush my hair. How deep I’ve settled into that familiar groove. The familiar always brings with it a kind of comfort. No matter how dark.

No run this morning because of the strained achilles. So the blue sky I see from the porch while the dog is peeing this morning, doesn’t quite do the trick it usually can. The plants in my yoga room are all dead, so I can’t bring myself to roll out my mat there.

I’d like something to grab me by two corners and snap me like a sheet. I want to hear that sound of straightening things out. And then I want to get on a plane and go somewhere where I sweat just sitting on the beach doing nothing.

And that is not going to happen. The school year limps to a close and then summer lies there like a damp cloth. There is a joy in hiking in soft rain, in hazy mornings. But something in me needs heat this year. Heat to burn off this restlessness. To get me to kick off this weighted blanket.

Every morning I write a single poem – quick and dirty – as part of my writing practice. The idea is to let go of the idea that my writing is too precious, and my ideas too few to squander on an online blog. I suppose it has something to do with the pop psychology model of the scarcity vs abundance mindset. At any rate, this morning I wrote about a late childhood summer memory. The twitter-sized poem touched off a cascade of memories. And I’ve been trying to suss out why they came up now and how I feel about them.

Ambivalence is the first word that came to mind, but that isn’t true. I don’t have good memories of the Kentucky river with its stigmatizing impetigo (white trash rash), the drunken men in their flipping dune buggies with their near-misses, recklessly chewing up the riverbanks. My mother too stoned to care that my 6-year-old brother was on a minibike and split his skull open on the tailpipe of a parked car, while I fussed in a kind of vertical rut, like a hopping, cartoon drama queen. Making “too big a deal of it.”

But I swam across the river once. And back. Despite my fear of snapping turtles, water moccasins, fish in general, and step-fathers in the specific. Death. Despite my fear of drowning like my cousin had been drowned in a bathtub.

I swam over the dark cushion of fear that was almost like a buoy, like a propelling presence.

I’ve been wondering if this is really facing one’s fear at all. I suppose it is – but then, I don’t feel like I conquered it. It was more like a battle and a retreat. All these years of battle and retreat.

And if I were to conquer my fears, to puncture the cushion? What then? What’s going to buoy me and propel me through the world?

these dark shapes that stack
one on one like bones to hold
a body upright