One in a continuing series of bathroom mirrors that are too tall for me.
“next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims’ and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn’s early my
country ’tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?”
He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water
Happy birthday to E. E. Cummings, Ben Whishaw, Mia Wasikowska, and Usher, among others.
It’s been a hell of a year. For my birthday this year I’d like everyone to be safe, and happy, and remember once today that you’re loved.
I will also take cake.
It was a door standing at the side of the road, unsupported and unconnected to any wall or structure. Amira slowed from a jog to a walk to a stop, eyeing the door from her peripheral vision as she paused her music. She saw plenty of oddities on her daily runs — like the unicyclist in the park, or poems scrawled in chalk on the sidewalk, or a single bedazzled high heel stuck in a tree — but this door gave her pause.
That means “Height of Forgiveness,” and traditionally a pilgrim reaching this height was pardoned, even if she didn’t make it all the way to Santiago. The wrought iron statue of peregrinos here – a recent addition – reads “donde se cruza el camino del viento con el d las estrellas.”
And it is the path of the wind. Above me and stretching off along the hilltops are wind turbines. Their steady thrum contrasts with the higher, faster chirrup of a grasshopper nearby.
I am sitting in the shadow of a stone shrine much older than anything else up here, waiting for my parents to catch up and feeling the arches of my feet relax from the long climb. My decidedly untraditional pedometer app tells me we have walked more than 7 miles already.
Beside the shrine is a cairn. People have written on the stones they left, benedictions and remembrances. Hats and scarves are pinned under the stones. Ribbons are tied to the peregrino sculpture. I have nothing to leave; the stone in my backpack I am saving for Cruzo de Ferro, later in the trip. So I kneel before the cairn and kiss my fingers to the stones, then I sit and I write, taking away intangible things since I have nothing tangible to leave.
Man, that was pretentious. The idea of being on a pilgrimage can give one airs when one writes.
The 520 was letting boats through as I headed west after a very long day of work, which meant stopping and waiting, but I didn’t mind. Honestly, there are worse places to be at dusk on an August night then the middle of a lake, with the cool air filling up the space around you and the water lapping a few feet away, and nowhere to do and nothing to be.
Me: I think I have to have this.
Clerk: I’m sure you don’t have to bluff your way, though.
And he waived the sales tax for me! Well-played, Twice Sold Tales clerk, very well-played.
So I’m visiting my family in Alaska, right? And we go to Homer, which is a small tourist/fishing town, and after dinner we drive out to see if we can spot any moose on the outskirts of town.
Instead we found this.
It’s next to some industrial oil/gas building, tucked into a copse of trees and cow parsnips but still visible from the road. It had clearly been touched up recently, as there was blue paint on the plants next to it, and it showed no signs of having weathered an Alaska winter. Who the hell built it and maintains it? Why put it there? And is it really bigger on the inside? That I’ll never know; the doors wouldn’t open.
Shine on, Alaskan Whovian, shine on.
ETA: Two more pictures; all of these are courtesy my mother, who blogs over at roadtripteri.com.