“It’s not the end of the world, but you can see it from here.”
-North Cove Minit Market Tide Book
I kept seeing these posters around the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, unsigned, an image of trees rising between brick walls and the caption, “REWILD”. Finally I saw one that was grabbable, and it turns out it is some sort of silkscreen, original artwork, on Tyvek Home Wrap. The idea of REWILD has stayed with me. I put it up on my Tyvek shack.
Ready? Just like that, it’s fall. Mow the grass if you like, you’re in Raking Denial. I’m sure there’s a support group for us. The purple dusks, the golden sideways light, I love fall, I do! But the melancholy is palpable. You should see these spiders. And the nip of doom is in the air. How much time do we have? Is this it?
Summer, I loved you. Crappy events notwithstanding. Let’s have a little summer retrospective, shall we?
The turtle-tidepools, inland waterways, rippling sand, warm on your bare feet.
Now it is most definitely fall. Let’s not kid ourselves. Rewild. Reacquaint yourself with the wind that howls, the sea that roars, the roof that leaks, the ocean that steals and robs everything, like it has for over a hundred years. The sheets of clattering rain, the flying branches. Denial, dashed. I like fall, but it does send a message about the end of a cycle. Trees lose their leaves. People die. Do you think the dead can hear us thinking, or is this just a story we tell ourselves? I do a lot of thinking, just in case.
Just over a year ago I bought my Honda Accord from an 88-year-old woman named Bonnie at the beach who was about to move away. She told me she feeds the crows because they take care of their elders. So, for good luck, I’ve been feeding the crows ever since. It’s scary how smart they are. They gather in the trees, surround me, not hollering, just saying, with their presence, thanks. We noticed.
Know how I found Washaway in the first place? When I was driving cross-country in 1992 with my friend Julia, we were swimming in a blue lake near Albuquerque, New Mexico and we met these two cool girls, Lori and Kimi. They said, “You are girls traveling. We’ve traveled. Come drink margaritas with us, go dancing, and stay in our house.” So we did.
They were a couple, and their house was the coolest adobe cave. Kimi would wear these tiny flowered dresses with steel-toed boots all the time, cementing my love of steel-toes. Lori was a traveling nurse from Seattle and she moved back there, and when I moved to Seattle, from Virginia, that summer she took me to her uncle’s place in Tokeland. Tokeland is next to Washaway. I lost touch with her but for years I’ve wanted to thank her, changing my life like she did, but, to her credit, she was not on that boring time-vampire, Facebook.
Lori seemed frazzled and tired, coworkers said. She was ending a relationship and was selling her house. Lori said she was taking a break, left her purse on the table, her truck in the lot, and went in the staff bathroom and overdosed on a skeletal muscle relaxant for tracheotomy patients, wearing scrubs and a T-shirt. Do we need to know what she was wearing? They didn’t check the bathroom for twelve hours. I think about the fearless sorrow that must’ve informed her her final act. Hopefully those were some good drugs. How many lives did she save before that morning in June 2006? I hope she can hear me, though my words fail.