Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Thursday, August 17, 2006

    A Loose Affiliation

    The rest of the day, Saturday, was filled with wandering and wading and listening. Mid-days are like that at RockyGrass; mellow and meandering and sweet.

    By now the sun was low enough that the tent next to our blankets and wagons cast enough shadow that we could return to them, while the riverside picked up the remainder of the setting sunlight as it bounced off the red sandstone cliffs, and turned it to gold. I was warm and drowsy, so I leaned against one of the wagons and closed my eyes, letting the sounds around me take solid shape. As I drifted between waking and sleeping, I could hear kids laughing and playing outside the family tent, and conversations from ten feet away clearly, as clearly as the band playing on stage yards and yards away. Everything came into my ears at the same volume and pace, and I floated and watched the sounds and listened to the music. It was as restful as setting my feet onto the smooth rocks in the river and watching the cold water wash away their pain, as restful as the rich green smell of leaf and mud and water that wrapped around me like loving arms when I sat on the banks.

    We ate in shifts, feeding the kiddos, and waited for that night’s big performance – Steve Earle. O and Clowncar were particularly enthused. We decided to get closer to the stage; it’s all general admission, with tents in the back, chairs and blankets and what-have-you toward the stage. Clowncar found an abandoned spot along one of the ‘aisles’ – a broad strip of grass – and we all sat down. By now, it was getting dark, and the first stars were appearing when Steve took the stage.

    I was lying back on someone’s inner tube, absorbing the music. I have no idea who the inner tube belonged to, but it was ok. It’s that kind of a place.

    I was lying back, Jack asleep on my lap all warm and cuddly, and I was watching the stars. Pondering their distance, their age.

    I was thinking about how the starlight we see is already in the past, about how we can’t remember our pasts in their entirety, but only little scenes, little impressions, bright as stars against the dark matter of every minute we’ve passed through, and that the way we remember our childhood is by connecting those memories, to form a shape like a constellation against the sky.

    Then I thought about how absurd it is to believe that we matter at all in all this matter, that God should take any interest, that there should even be a God to take interest. It made perfect, clear sense to me then that we are on our own here. Looking at all that broad dark night, I was convinced.

    About that time, Steve Earle started talking about God and sin and right and wrong and eternal rewards and punishments, depending on our actions right here, right now.

    And then I thought he was probably as right about it all as I was.

    Back in our tent at the campsite that night, I listened as the wind picked up…and up…and up. And by morning, well…

    13 people left me a love letter:

    Anonymous clowncar wrote in a love letter...

    I really like "the way we remember our childhood is by connecting those memories, to form a shape like a constellation against the sky." Though we both know I'm a sucker for astronomical simile.

    That was my favorite moment of that day too - kids all asleep, everyone laid out looking at the sky, listening to the music, watching the stars.

    1:42 PM, August 18, 2006  
    Blogger Schmoopie wrote in a love letter...

    *sigh* Another barrage of beautiful images and wonderful thoughts from a good friend. I can always count on you to put a smile on my face. Your writing makes all of us better for knowing it.

    5:59 PM, August 18, 2006  
    Anonymous O wrote in a love letter...

    I also recall that you were quite appreciative of the fact that I taught the boyos to say "If you wanna be in the band, you gotta put yer hat on." Seeing as we were seeing Steve Earle & all.

    12:06 AM, August 19, 2006  
    Anonymous clowncar wrote in a love letter...

    And equally appreciative of your penchant for saying it in an Indian accent, over and over and over again.

    10:40 AM, August 19, 2006  
    Anonymous O wrote in a love letter...

    I only used the Indian accent a few times. Must've been some of that herbal stuff you brought along. Made things echo.

    11:17 PM, August 19, 2006  
    Anonymous clowncar wrote in a love letter...

    It haunts me in my dreams every night. When will the lambs stop screaming, O? Make the lambs stop screaming....

    11:08 AM, August 20, 2006  
    Blogger Nancy Dancehall wrote in a love letter...

    Clowncar: Thanks! Big surprise you liked that.

    Schmoopie: Thanks! And thanks, and um, thanks. :-) Wow.

    *looking back and forth from O to Clowncar* *snort* I should go back and photshop this conversation into your photo.

    2:32 PM, August 20, 2006  
    Blogger amusing wrote in a love letter...

    This is good. An interactive photo album. It's almost as though you guys forgot you came home! (You are home now, right? Or is Nancy posting from streamside? Laying against an innertube?)

    3:35 PM, August 20, 2006  
    Anonymous O wrote in a love letter...

    No, unfortunately, we're home.
    Clowncar: The lambs will probably stop screaming if'n you lay off that herbal stuff you brought along. But be sure to put yer hat on first....

    11:09 PM, August 20, 2006  
    Blogger amusing wrote in a love letter...

    "and by morning, well...."

    Is this another one of those things where we are supposed to make up what happened next?

    well, the furry man was hungry and I was worried he would try to eat the boyos. I woke early and got the fire going and planned to put on the pancakes and eggs. The wind had made quite a blow up the night before. In fact, O and Clowncar.....


    7:31 PM, August 22, 2006  
    Blogger D_Man wrote in a love letter...

    I wanna go camping!

    2:10 AM, August 24, 2006  
    Blogger amusing wrote in a love letter...

    In fact, O and Clowncar decided to build a large kite and attach themselves to see how high they could get.

    As the wind huffed and puffed, they....


    6:26 PM, August 24, 2006  
    Blogger Nancy Dancehall wrote in a love letter...

    D-Man: I wanna go surfing!

    Amusing: ...realized that the tent made a perfect kite, and since it was half-blown away anyway, they might as well use it. Even though they flew at the same height, somehow Clowncar was still higher than O...

    10:53 PM, August 24, 2006  

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