1. The Youth of America
Last night and tonight it was all waxing gibbous and lengthy gloamings, and as I went dusking down the dim ways of Westerly, I chanced upon two sets of teenagers.
Last night, it was three young men on skateboards. They were well-knit: wiry grace and smiling sinews. They were middle-of-the-road-riders-without-helmets-in-uncertain-light (GAH!!!), and any pack of boys–no matter how young and awkward–is generally enough to make me cross the street. Half-reverence, half-whatever. Just to be safe, you know? Anyway.
But these boys had found a stray dog, a floppy golden-eared retriever-like fellow, obviously well-loved and friendly, but with only a flea collar to its name.
Dogs are another thing I cross the street for, reverently, and in the hopes of not getting my throat torn out. I’m not great with animals.
And these skater boys, these smiling silent swift backstreet cyborgs, more wheel than pedal, were knocking door to door trying to find the dog’s owner.
They asked me if I knew anything. We all wondered if any of us were wearing a belt to act as a leash. We asked a neighbor for some twine.
One of the boys said, “I’ll take it home with me for now… I’ll go get my car.”
And another boy asked me, “Do you live above a kid named ____?” And I said yes, to be neighborly.
It was friendly and not frightening at all. Rather heartening. I was reminded that I have brothers and that they too are kind. Not all strangers are horrible.
Then tonight, downhill of State Street, four young women in that thirteen-to-fifteen range, dressed in their summer play clothes, lounging out in the deeps of the blue hour, stretch full length on the driveway, chatting quietly.
One is leaning on something plastic that at first I take for a sword. Then she hops on and it becomes a pogo stick. I hear one phrase: “No, he’s the Archangel who…”
I remember what it is to be a teenager, lying out with friends on a summer-warm driveway, discussing the Mysteries. Now one meets friends in bars or goes on walks or has them over for tea, but it has been a while since I have been half-clothed and indolent and among peers, outside for hours, doing nothing sleepily while the world walks on by.
2. On Cemeteries
After the girls, I pass River Bend Cemetery. There is a stone angel lounging as indolently as a teenage girl on its tombstone. I wonder if it too is chatting quietly with the mortal remains beneath its peeping feet.
The cemetery is all shades of blue. The trees are indigo. The river is azure. The grass is sapphire. The graves are lapis lazuli.
3 & 4. I do not blog like I used to. Instead, I write outrageous Facebook Status Updates and this was almost one of these.
I have come to view blogging, reluctantly, the same way I came to view playing with dolls. I loved it so much and it consumed so many beautiful hours, but then I got to writing fiction. One day, I tried playing with dolls and I couldn’t anymore. I felt like I lost something. (I still do.)
But today I wonder if I still do play with dolls, in the Great Dollhouse called Word Docx. In fact, I have more dolls than I have clothes for them to wear. I cut their hair and pair them off, rip their heads off, mar and maim them, break their hearts.
Because I am still learning about death, and my dolls teach me.
Most days I do not blog or play with dolls, but I’m still writing fiction. It’s something.
5. Skunks please me. They are cuter than cats, softer-looking, smaller. (Also am superfond of Pepe Le Pew who is, yes, creepy, but charming and oh so earnest.) Yet I will still cross the road when I see a skunk (out of reverence, fondness, and yes, fear), for they are wild and they have a stink that even predators know to avoid. I like that. I liked that little skunk.
SKUNK ON! I will requite thee. On these walks, I myself sweat moonlight and stink of the summer night.