My dear, I just got up and am dreamily waking over a cup of coffee. Snatches of dreams last night. I had lunch with Martha Stewart, described my blog to her, and congratulated her on being a new grandmother. She had an exquisite leafed sprig of perfectly ripe raspberries and I remarked that I have a cousin by that name. Then I was with my cousin and her mother, my aunt, at their car, stopped by a park by a river. A little boy was playing with a teeny frog he'd found, and I suspected that he had cruel designs on it - I asked him to be gentle. The boy willfully ignored me, so I took the frog from him with the idea of placing it somewhere more hospitable, a pond or lake. We were all about to leave, were waiting for someone, and I said I'll be right back. I walked along a walled canal, too hardscaped to be congenial to a frog, and found myself entering a college campus. I had a vague knowledge of the place, grounds I'd once been familiar with, and the map in my mind was akin to a child's board game, cacophonous sweep of roads and hills and belltowers and natural features and administrative buildings all in a colorful jumble. I realized that any small natural body of water was a great distance away, on the other end of campus. I wandered with the frog in my hand - would it survive my trying to rescue it? I was very far from the car now, either they would leave without me, or if I managed to return I would have delayed them very much...
There was more to the dream, but I don't remember now. I woke in cool gray stillness, ceiling fan whirring, thinking of you lying next to me. Very peaceful to wake up that way. I lay under the comforter, self-sufficiently savoring.
On my walk yesterday morning I realized that what I had thought were foxes or coyote pups last week weren't at all - they must have been very, very young fawns. Because coming down the hill with my weights I encountered a ghostly group of them, barely visible in the shadowy thickets - a large doe and four kneehigh delicate progeny - that much bigger, I calculated, than when I'd seen them a week or so before. The group stood staring at me, and the baby deer, nuzzling in the grass, stumbling on wobbly thin legs, seemed friendly. If I had stood still I wouldn't have been surprised if they might have approached like young children out of sweetly unguarded curiosity. I passed near them and called out softly in greeting - hi deers, aren't you pretty, look at you.
A bit later on my walk was a big dog, I've seen it before, unleashed, barking, a bit menacing, a mix, German shepherd/collie, to take a guess. I was heading home at that point, and it barked and darted across the road in front of me, into someone's front yard, and a car was coming around the bend, which I'm sure hadn't seen the dog who I was afraid might leap back into the road, so I stood in the middle and shouted, don't go on the road dog (or some such - I was instructing the dog, in firm tones). The car slowly rolled towards me, stopped, and a window rolled down: a woman and her teenage daughter. The woman said, I've seen that dog - and she mentioned a spot several miles away. Wow, that dog gets around, I said. So be careful the woman said, leaning over the steering wheel as both she and her daughter, a pair of print faces, peered at me - I think it's lost. Yeah I guess so, I said, standing helplessly in the road. The window rolled back up and the car moved away. Great, so now I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere with this dog, who's staring at me. I stood for a minute considering what to do, I didn't want to pass it, in case it was in a mood to bite, or even just to charge up at me, which would have been frightening even if its intentions were friendly (how could I know?). I thought, you know, considering that the woman herself mentioned that the dog might be dangerous, she might have offered me a lift just far enough to get past it, in the direction I was headed. But no... Then again, I hadn't asked her for a lift either.
So I turned on my heel realizing that I wasn't trapped, I could double back and take a different path home, the trail that winds up along the edge of a ravine, ending at its summit at the ancient cemetery behind the handsome old church. I returned to the end of the dead end road, where the trail starts, and passed by the car with the mother & daughter. They seemed to be going from house to house. Oh great, I thought, it's like a Flannery O'Connor short story. Maybe they didn't offer a lift to a stranger out of an abundance of caution. But maybe I'm the one who might have been at risk. It seems that they may be a pair of religious zealots out prosletyzing - they might have tried to convert me!
I stepped from the road across a narrow sodden ditch and entered the trail. I was about to encounter an obstacle here too, as well I knew - an enormous pine that had toppled during severe storms about a month ago, blocking the path. Such a dramatic landscape, making my way up the trail - teeny me (relatively), the ancient pine, when I came upon it, timber snapped in two, lying across the path, smote before me like a toppled giant. There was no getting around it, too overgrown on my left, I might have slipped down the ravine to my right. I thought maybe I can straddle it, but the massive trunk was about waist high and I thought, what if I get stuck and disturb it some way, and the tree dislodges. I tested the trunk, trying to shake it with my hands. It didn't budge. There was a narrow opening beneath, just big enough for me to go on all fours and creep under. So I did, and had that scary irrational feeling I get if I have to crawl beneath the grand piano for some reason - say to retrieve a cat toy - I'm afraid that at that precise moment its legs will collapse and the piano will come crashing down on me. I crawled under the pine and within a few awkward moments emerged on the other side, jeans muddied, cream-colored sweater streaked with dirt. But here I was back on the trail, continuing up the heights to the Civil War-era cemetery.
As for the dog, about a month ago on my walk a man had stopped his bigass truck to ask me if I'd seen a stray dog, he was looking for it - and I said, no - not then I hadn't, but I wonder if it's the same one. Poor dog.
Later in the afternoon, D stopped the car short, and just managed to avoid running over a chipmunk, crazed with fear trying to figure out which way to run to avoid the wheels. Mercifully, it escaped, I jumped out of the car to make sure.
And out in the darkness overnight were coyote yips in the yard...
And that's that, dearest love, an early morning debriefing of a palette of impressions that I thought I might as well try to set down, before they disappear with all the fresh tasks and sensations and thoughts that are bound to rain down like meteor showers as the day goes on.
Ah, that's a thought I remember from lying in bed early this quiet morning, thinking of you. Your kisses were like gentle rain coming down all over my back, caressing and enveloping me. I lay with my eyes closed, luxuriating, warmly waking.