Back now from North Carolina, gone from Seattle, I have a new life and no other option but to settle in to it. At 5:45 every morning the radio goes crazy, my eye's lid flutters. At that hour dawn has not broken, but there is a thin strip of rose hovering over that savage mountain range to the East. The White Mountains are a frigid fucking peice of earth and every morning I drive towards them in my car, windshield wipers hissing over a heavy crust of frost. There is frost on the ground, the dogs' water bowl is a grasshopper's skating rink, grass is heavy white feathers. More and more often, there is snow on the ground and snow sifting down out of the sky. The road leading off my hill is a louge shoot.
I sleepwalk through every early morning, from my bed to the tea kettle to the car keys in the copper bowl. You think the cold would snap me out of it, the mercury shuddering in the thermometer around 10 degrees, but it doesn't. I lower my eyelids to it, shut it out, climb into the car and watch my breath freeze in little clouds. I glide down the empty roads through a little town- just a cluster of houses with darkened windows, praying for traction when I cross the bridge over the gorge.
The day starts in the diner by making coffee for the cooks even before I clock in, so they won't be snarling at me all morning. If I've gotten sleep, it's not terrible. After I start the place up and get everything up and running, I sit at a booth and write for an hour, sometimes two, drinking an entire pot of coffee, before anyone comes in. When someone does come in- Mary with the gap in her front tooth who only wants coffee at the counter- it's like an invasion. Like they walked into my living room without an invitation, how absurd.