So I had this plan all worked out. I should probably learn that, by and large, such things usually don't wind up working as I intend them to. Living occurs between plans, in the cracks, lodged in the shitty days and the spontaneous moments. It's as it should be.

My plan was to accept a teaching offer downstate but that relied on living with my father for the summer. My father, while a decent fellow in many respects, is like me; he's a tumbleweed. He got fired from his job & decided he wanted to live the vagabond life again for awhile, as he's done before. A couple of years ago, he went on this extended trip across the country, sleeping in his near-dead car, getting food somehow. He went down to Sedona, Arizona where he rolled around the gem shows, buying some of the most beautiful rough specimens I've ever seen in my life.
Dad & I were up in the Adirondacks, driving down after a week in the thin, fresh, freezing air of the mountains. We had hiked my favorite summit there, Cascade Mountain. I had fallen on that hike, my face smashing into a rock and crunching my eye pretty good. My eye had puffed up and the skin around it had turned a purplish-yellow. Dad hit the brakes hard just as I was contemplating my bruises in the rear view mirror.

"Garnet." He spoke the word with a finality that I rarely heard in his voice. He looked at me, smiled, jumped out of his seat and ran to the side of the road.

I followed, not sure where the hell his mind had gone. Then I heard it, slowly at first, but still steady: the rush of creekwater. I jumped over the bank after my father, to find him already in the water, feet braced on two rocks protruding above the surface, hands plunged into the silty bed. I grinned, and joined him there.
Today was the last day of my semester here. There are so many people that I'm going to miss during my months away. Erik, philosophy boy, is one of those, the sweet one. I've known him for years; we went to high school together. There's always been an unspoken, appreciative quality in the way we meet each other's eyes. I have so many memories of this fellow from the years past. I remember one day when I saw him walking to class. The mellow dove gray light of the overcast day hit his brow, the wind tousling his thick, straight blond hair; I imagined this is how he'd look if he were at sea, captaining the waves, gaze to the horizon, lifted beyond the ends of this earth. His pea coat buttoned, hands in its pockets; jeans fitted him well. His face was so familiar. Brow puckered as if engaged in introspective warfare. Eyes concerned, warming this cold day and the air between us.

Gail will be missed, too. Honesty or death is her motto. She told me once that one day, she realized how many melodramatic games she'd played in her life, and that it was time to move on. Today, in our last English class together, she walked up to this excruciatingly handsome man in our class and said to him, "You are a beautiful man, do you know that?" Gail is an interesting one. She uses bluntness in odd ways; I know that she wants to twist people sometimes by doing such things, but usually she's just terribly admirable.

There are others. Others who will pass into my memory over the next several weeks. It's a terrifying process for me; I want to pull them all back from the past, to rescue them from the dust that they will become to me. As I wind through my twentieth year, time haunts me. My experiences have whipped by me too quickly; it is as if I have been running at a sprint for miles, my legs burning, my lungs bursting, my mind whirling. My body exhausted, my mind unable to take anything more. I feel like I am always aiming for the point of no return.

"I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay."
1 It is a fear. A fear of losing people. I'm afraid that every person I meet I will never see again. It's the most pressing side effect of my rootless existence. Oddly, I don't cling to people because of it; I push them away; I depend on & expect the fact that they are a temporary aspect of my existence. Hopefully I can gain some sense of balance. I am glad for this summer. I am glad for how beautiful it is up north. I know that my bicycle & my adventures wait for me, and the miles of roads and fields do, too. Perhaps I will gain some better perspective there; alone, in the wind and sun of home.

1Robert Frost. The Sound of the Trees.