But then I woke up the other morning, just around dawn, and it was raining. My first thought, still dream muddled, was 'It's raining, I get to write today.'
I know what to do when it rains. Feeling very at home, I wrapped the quilt around myself and fell back asleep, and when I finally woke up and tumbled down the front porch steps into the day, the rain was gone. The leaves mutely brandished the flame colors of autumn but the weather was as sunny and warm as any summer day in Seattle.
I'm so far from the Northwest now. I have this ridiculous image of myself in my head: two cartoon legs in a green field, upside down, kicking, the rest of me disappeared into the ground, happily entrenched.
Currently, I am sublimely unbalanced. My room is a mess, I haven't been to one of the box stores yet to pick out the basic things I couldn't take with me- clothes hangers, for instance. Yonton looks at me sometimes when I'm in the kitchen. "I cannot understand where your spectacular messes come from," he says, cheerfully, "so sometimes I like to observe you."
I was sad one night- one night since I've been in Asheville and the circumstances have since reversed themselves. Yonton made me Halva to comfort me, sesame paste mixed with honey, and after that night I was never sad again.
Each morning I'd dive head first from the bed to the floor to check my phone for any information. On the fourth morning I found this on the screen, from Charles' best friend Sarah: They all been rescued.
That night we had friends over for dinner, we toasted to the paddlers and to us, and then we went out to a climbing movie and the paddlers, with the exception of the injured, went straight back into that river to keep kayaking.
I have mixed feelings about the whole thing.
So I went in all confident and excited, got window-shaded and rolled four or five times, surfed long enough to remember I have no idea what to do, I got exhausted underwater, finally flushed out and managed not to swim, although when I finally got upright Yonton was right next to me, ready to pick up my pieces. Those two played in the hole all evening. I decided once was enough.
Just a few days ago, Erich and I went down to the ledges on the French Broad and played around in the eddies. It was seventy degrees, pure sunlight, warm water, class two. It was my lunch hour. We wore nothing but life jackets. It was the day we found out that Charles and Cooper were alive, that there would be another day on the river with Cooper singing all thirteen minutes of Alice's Restaurant Massacre.
"When are you going to run the Green?" Asked Michael. I answered, "The day I am told that I'm going to die tomorrow of a terminal illness, that's the day I'll run the Green."
And yet....there's something about the crush of sunlight and white water.
My sister, it turns out, she doesn't fucking joke around.
I stare at the grits on my plate. I want to be polite and eat them but I don't know what they are.
I tell my sister I'm not kayaking really, mostly spectating. No crying when someone drowns, she says. She's bitter about the whole scene and I understand. She used to paddle, long before any of us did, part of a tight band of kids in a weird world that became a nightmare, a long and painfully twisted story. She'll never kayak again, never want me to either.
So instead, I've started mountain biking, learning the art of high speed self preservation in the form of hopping off the bike just before the obstacle, walking the steep shit, catching my body as it flies forward on the palms of my hands, elbows bent. I right myself, lean my body against a tree and breath hard, heart ready to explode. I bike with the same person every time, Izaac the fire fighter, currently the furloughed fire fighter.
Once we went on this trail that was so overgrown that we were just pumping through big fields of thorns. I went as fast as I could, which wasn't too fast because the flowers formed a net holding me back, and the thorns completely shredded my arms and legs. I loved the blood and scratches, loved that I'd been torn up by flowers. We found a turtle and a toad on the trail. We ate BBQ and tubed down the French Broad river to the Bywater, soaking our stinging limbs.
And that's where I got lost, with the writing. I keep waiting for things to slow down a little bit so I could sit down with a cup of coffee and dutifully record them.
But I don't like coffee anymore. I can't explain it, I just woke up one day and it turned my stomach. And the days aren't slowing down, and they're only getting better.
Here in Asheville, there's no traffic and no rain, no reason to stay inside.
So we don't.
It's so easy to move here, in such interesting ways, there's no reason to sit still. So we don't.
In the evening, exhausted and slightly injured and thirsty, we see no reason not to reward ourselves for such a fine day. So we do. Then a heavy sleep, wake up, and do it all again.
And then one morning I woke up to the rain, to cool, wet air rushing in through the windows. And I got to thinking about how I used to write everything down, how moody the light on the Puget Sound was, with grey clouds sitting heavily over slate water, how simple it was to write and write and write in such a place.
This blog turned five years old a few weeks ago and I was sitting up in a field somewhere, ignoring it.
I don't know how to do this when it's always sunny. I don't know how to do this when I feel so happy. But I figured I'd better start to learn.