An hour ago

by Jennifer on April 8, 2016

An hour ago, this is how it was.

I reach the top of the one hill where the view opens wide and vast to the edges of the valley. On any day, it’s something to see, but this morning there’s a rare desert fog, a gray-blue-silver fog stretching loose-limbed and moody between the darker grays of the mountains. This drift of fog follows the river. A person could find a way through the canyon by it and maybe someone has. I would.

I don’t know the state of things before I reached this view, if this fog was pulled over the river by one blue heron or all of them, by a murmuration of starlings or one quiet word. By a wild horse, or by nothing. Who can say.

My thoughts keep time by drifts of cloud and light. My daughter could name all the sorts of clouds, and she would, even as she felt the spirit of them somehow threading her soul together. My son would look, too, and feel it as something true and stay quiet. That’s how they are different. Each of them like me and not, in ways.

I think of how life speeds up and hardly slows down anymore and how it all, in the end, comes to not much and how it all adds up to everything. This soundtrack of these middle years that takes over when I forget to change the station to something better and less solemn. (Life is more clever and interesting and stubborn and so much more of a prankster than just that.)

Four Peaks looks larger and prouder than yesterday through the magnifying glass of these low clouds or whatever magic takes hold on a day like this, these tricks of light that have their way and make me think on things that pull at my weaker seams.

I reach back into the past, spin the world like a merry-go-round, backwards. Half of me laughs at the speed of it, and the rest begs for me to stop. When I do, I pick up one or two things I shouldn’t have left behind and let loose of a few things that were never mine. The world spins forward again and the fog is nothing more than air and science and weather.

But, still, this feeling. It’s not everything, but it’s something. Today, just a day, but one whole, ripe, sweet, warm, willful day. It might rain, they say, and we need it.

We hope for what we need and for some of what we want, and so I leave the fog to the river and get on with that.

An hour ago, this is how it was.

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