Month: May 2016

The 12th of February 1993 – Fine, New York

(found along the road that ran along the river towards Old Carr Pond)

When the snow’s up to your chest, well, that’s when you’re in trouble, Trudy. When the snow’s up to your chest, it’s what my granddaddy always used to say, when the snow’s up there, well, you’re in trouble.

I don’t have anything to do but shovel anymore, so how well do you think I’m doing? I hope you’re well too, out there in California, with the sun and the sand and the smiles.

Ah, but the snow’s up to my eyeballs today. Yesterday it was over my head. Tomorrow it’ll be around my ankles. The snow, well, I haven’t seen anything but snow for about six months. Maybe longer.

No, certainly a lot longer. I haven’t seen anything but snow for about seventeen years.

Always snow, even just a little bit. Even just a little bit around my ankles. Always at least enough to crunch beneath my boots when I’m walking along the trail.

Amazing, isn’t it? Amazing that I’m still not sick of it yet? Amazing that I still get up and look out my window and see the snow and – still – I want to get outside?

Not even to play with the snow. Not even to get the grandkids out and make snow angels. I just mean, well, as much as I hate that snow, I can’t be here without it. It’ll always be around, and I’ll always be needing it.

So, well, I’m getting the shovels out.

Are you planning a trip here yet? Once the spring comes, most of the snow melts away. You remember. Don’t you?

You should plan a trip here soon. The green and the vegetation will do you some good. The sky here’s a lot clearer, and sometimes I need help with my snow.




The 14th of September 1988 – Bandytown, West Virginia

(found, but torn to shreds, on the brown leaves on the forest floor, glowing in the sunlight streaming through the green leaves of the trees up there)

…but there isn’t any place for that to be anyway. So it’s not that it even matters.

I don’t let that bother me much, though, Georgie. It gives a bit of a sting every now and again, but the sting wears off, and I still get to look around a see the world. As long as I get a chance to see the world, I think it’s worth it for the most part. You know what I’m saying? The sun and the flowers and this sweet smell the grass gets after a rainstorm. Just the world has so much, and I’m here to be a part of it. So that’s what I keep in my mind when I start to think about…

…Not that there’s much of a chance. No matter how many times he tries, there’s just too much traffic, and he can’t get across the freeway.

But I have been doing my stretches, thanks for asking. Has your doctor told you to do any more exercise?

Now, I do get huffy sometimes, and Harold has to remind me, and then I get huffy at him. There’s such a tremendous feeling to breathing, isn’t there? This air that’s been all over the world, probably from the Amazon or from Paris, and now it’s here. It becomes a part of me for the moment, and it helps me to stay alive. I just never stay sure about what any of that means. Does that make any sense? Sometimes it feels like the most terrifying thing, like I’m the smallest leaf getting blown around the surface of it all. Sometimes it just feels like love…

The 6th of May 1994 – Ogden, Utah

(found by a picture of a smiling face kept in freshly-polished picture frame)

Dear Joelle,

I am alive. I am all and then and none and always living. I am the enervating force that causes flowers to bloom and mountains to crumble. I am alive.

Have you bowed to a moving city bus? Have you bowed your head, knelt down and pressed your forehead into the pavement in the face of awe and mighty innovation?

I have and am yet alive, will be still alive, have been always alive. And yet I am alive.

There was a sunny day some time ago. The rain has come, settled over the lake like a cat before a fire. The rain has come and – without even a slicker – I went out and enjoyed the raindrops. A torrent of raindrops – individual and tiny, alone nothing but a fleck of moisture and barely perceived, but together, all together, enough to soak a human to the bone. A torrent of raindrops fell from clouds that blocked out the sun, that made the sky grey at times and black at times and glow with faint halos with the sun did struggle to poke through. A torrent of raindrops.

And here I am, alive. Standing on my feet and alive. Waiting for the bus to come, to come and take me down the road, and I am alive. Sitting in a puddle of the raindrops dripping from my slicker and alive. Alive, Joelle, alive.

The sun, the sun feels glorious. Even when it can’t be seen. It just feels glorious.

I am alive with love. Alive with joy. Alive with…simply. Alive simply. Simply alive.


The 4th of September 2009 – Anaheim, California

(found in an uncannily familiar place…or something)

Dear Sel,

I have stared at my hand, stared at my hand until it became a claw, until it became a collection of talons.

I have walked across land until the dirt felt soft as the clouds. I have breathed in water and let the air fill my lungs.

I have smiled until my face became the antithesis of a face, until the smile left the lips and the nose became an oyster’s pearl.

The world is a wonderful place. The mind is a wonderful place.

Have you seen the sun today? Have you seen the sun for weeks?

Where could it possibly go, the sun? And why would we want to search for it, the sun?

I have thought until I thought in an unknown language. I have thought until my thoughts became unintelligible to myself. Yet I go on thinking.

As if. As if thinking were a thing worthwhile. As if windows were actually clear, instead of tainted by foggy translucence. As if.

Sel, have you gone missing? Or is it just a letter that’s gone away? And what is a Sel that is incomplete? Is it what it was before but less, or is it something more?

I haven’t a clue. Sel, you may be long gone, gone when I exhaled the other day and began looking at my hand, looking at my hand until it became a claw, until it became a collection of talons.

What a wonderful world, Sel. What a wonderful mind too.

Breathe in and out, look at the sun, stare out windows and watch the shadows of our imagination play together on the foggy pane. Smile, Sel, smile. Have we ever smiled enough?

I haven’t seen the sun today. I haven’t seen the sun for months. So I went searching. I looked all around the globe, all across the outdoors. There was no sun. Then I looked inside.

There it was. The sun, within me.

Glorious, Sel, glorious.



The 2nd of May 2018 – Portland, Oregon

(found floating in the water beneath a bridge, floating in the rays of shining sunlight)


I think this is it. Isn’t it? Don’t you think?

I don’t know where it came from, nor do I feign to comprehend where it may go, but it is here. Isn’t it? Don’t you feel it?

I have so much difficulty turning away. I have so much trouble just going forward, living on to the next moment because – here, now – well, it may just be too much.

Is it though? Because I don’t think so. I can’t imagine more, and – yes – I’m terrified of less.

It all started when the sun was out that morning about six months ago. The window was open, and a breeze flowed into the kitchen, carrying the scent of lavender and lilacs and the songs of birds. I looked across the table. I don’t know if I’ve seen anything since. I don’t care if I have or haven’t, either.

It was breakfast, and we were eating cereal. We were eating cereal with milk. But with the sun streaming in and the lilacs and the lavender, that was the best meal I’ve ever eaten.

I think that was it. Wasn’t it? Don’t you think?

I mean – I just…well, but.

Wasn’t there poetry here? What happened to it? And the call-and-response? Wasn’t there? Didn’t you think?

I just – well, I just…but.

I cannot write this any longer, and I wish that you were here.