I wake up when it is still dark out; I fall dark again. Today is my last day.
It takes a lot of back and forth. I'm here I'm gone, I'm in I'm out, I'm inside the house grabbing a load that fits in my 66" wingspan, I'm out putting it inside the car. I spend hours putting things from one place into another, the distance between the two being comical. I think of myself as a cursor on a screen or a blip on a radar, moving, moving. Slowly back and forth. But it is sane to be doing this.
I fold up the cot and drag it through leaves and moist dirt up the short embankment to the car. Loading it in has me soft-gruntled and moaning, like the cows at the dairy down the road from my cabin. They moan, not with an apparent emotion, but with an insistence like someone messaging for attention. It is yelling with no words but lacks the screaming of primal therapy; I wonder what is happening every time the cows moan. Its boldness carries down the road so that sometimes I think they have escaped to graze the grass at the bottom of the cabin's cliffside, or drink from the creek. Perhaps they are lost. It is hunting season but they are only used for their dairy. Seeing the cows made me laugh once, their gentleness so large and gaping between hips like two spears, alien inside with all that milk and those multliple stomachs. But hearing the cows has not been beautiful. Hearing the cows is like being behind the thick walls of an asylum, where the walls are not thick enough.
I go down to the creek once the geodesic dome cabin is empty of my life. I use the bright yellow rope to guide me but wonder if it would be ironic or not to slide down to misfortune right now, now that I am leaving here, now that I have terminated this place to make more sense before the next termination. Has it all been leading just to this?
From the water below the cliff I marvel at the cabin's curious structure, high and imposing at the top. The large window that looks out from the second-floor dome faces east so it receives the sunrise in near-tangible beams of light that hit the porch. From down here, dusk is casting the mosses and woods in a way that breathes near uncertainty, as if Pre-Raphaelite women will sudden appear to gaze at me, beckon me to secrets. I wonder if their gentle beauties would hear the moaning of the cows. Would they find it enchanting or dismissive? I wonder if, along the conglomerate animal forms of the Siren or the Harpy, a Pre-Raphaelite woman carries the body of an earthbound goddess with the voice box of a moaning cow.
Would beauty be enough to distract me?
The cabin is a beautiful structure. Even if inside the dome, the slats of wood do not meet where they form pentagrams to support the geodesic shape, where raccoons and, or, squirrels are living in the walls. They purr. The first floor stays cool but damp, and the bedding smells rancid. There is no cell signal, no Internet, no landline. There is a refrigerator but the power has been known to go out. There is a sulfur shower that is tiny enough for me to knock into the water handle or cracked blue plastic lining. And that is just me inside. It is tall, but this cuts out much of the light. I do not bother moving the cobwebs in the corners of the plastic vestibule.
The cabin is a geodesic dome, with a porch facing the sunrise over the hills on the other side of the creek at the bottom of the property. The full kitchen is spacious with angular walls and windows looking out into the woods. It is, in a word, beautiful.
But beauty is not enough.
Four hours southeast of the cabin are the people who ask, "When are you coming back?" My calendar continues to be plugged with their events and their lives. If this is my life, how is it that I am continuing so far away from it?
The time has served its purpose. It has been difficult and fraught with pain. It has been tedious. It has been exciting and welcoming. It has been a misalignment.
Driving down the winding mountain at night with the last of the cabin puzzled into the car, I am thankful there is no rain. I cannot see fine details without my glasses I packed into some box or bag, and so I am confused when I pass the sign that says PARTING AREA 1000 FT. I picture people separating into two cars.
Where has not been a parting area for me? From whom have I not parted? And at times, the others who have parted from me, even when I continue to not be cleaved off, from my side.
I quickly pass the parking area on the side of a turn on the mountain; it is a lookout, for the view. For the beauty of it all, for the glory.
It is dark and I drive past the stop. I have seen the beauty, I have seen the glory. There is no reason now to stop for it. Why give my attention to what cannot return it to me? Why give up my time just to part and be parted from when I can spare the delay and keep going?
Beauty is not enough for a distraction. And while I do have a small ember of sadness for leaving this place I believed would contain a relief, so gorgeous at times on twists and turns and while on top, the fact remains it is not enough to retain me. It is not the truth that I had hoped for. It is beautiful but I am still parting to return to what I have known before. And for that I don't feel bad, because I can empathize with it, being parted from after being tried. Trial and error, try and err her. Beauty is not enough.