Excerpt from my Letter to Brenna, 20 February 2006

It is good to be on the road again. Never mind the petty nuisances of this tour; for myself, for my core, the road is a patient and most salutary physician.

The trappings and assortments of who I am fold together, if not neatly, then with conspicuous readiness. Details clarify. Scales fall away from the eyes. Shape and color return to the husk of discipline; my boots almost lace themselves. Like Epaminondas rationalizing the tattered mess of Greece, so now I feel myself avidly mucking about, preparing the way for some new, unsuspected Alexander to burst across my world.


More than anything else, I’m even a bit relieved that what amounts to a sea change is now taking place in the otherwise glacial progression of events in my family’s world; and nothing less than this sort of sea change is absolutely necessary before I can begin to resolve anything.

This gives me pause, though. My housemate S is endlessly fascinated by the strange, idiosyncratic gestures or conditions that I’m always waiting for people to meet before I agree to do anything. Witness the College Letters. Petty etiquette, it would seem at first glance, except that, for me, forms and appearances tend to mean a great deal more, like icebergs foreshadowing entire continents of intentions, hidden in obfuscatory mist.

Sometimes, I suspect the nascent roots of a tentatively obsessive-compulsive, or perhaps even a manic propensity. Even this very suspicion can be a symptom of the cause. Needless to say, this is something I can’t help but monitor.

As it bears upon my mother, I feel as though I’ve been waiting for just this development to empower my renewed involvement in her affairs; hence, it is rather more, in my opinion, than simply a petty desire to spite my mother by my being absent for so long, and only now coming to her aid.

But the aforementioned manic piece of me makes a hash of this. I hold my self, and my motives, irretrievably suspect, just as my mother does. Would matters have detiorated so badly—would so much have been wasted over time—if I had just taken a more vigorously active role in my Mom’s care? Would I personally be a happier person? Would my Mom be happier, healthier? Such questions keep me humble.

The waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge are all frozen, or nearly so. Multnomah Falls is a thin streak of whitewater, thickly emblazoned with bursts of frozen cascades. I remember a quietly delightful picnic, a handful of years ago, sharing a basket with you on a beautiful summer day. I am impatient to see such days again...

No comments: