Always it’s the wind in the trees on a stormy day that stirs me up. Restless, restless. Pine trees in the wind roar like sea waves on a rocky shore. It is a lonely, desolate sound; the sound of the world before man. Before loneliness.
I run up into the trees and there is no one about. Except, I remember, a lean man and his dog back down on the field, the dog loping about on a grassy bank, sometimes frozen and alert, sometimes briskly running its nose across the grass. A black dog.
Something I read this morning puts Gran in my mind. Probably also connected to standing in a friend’s kitchen on Friday after work and noticing the smell of a stainless steel bench, and rubber gloves, and washing up liquid and letting it take me back to Gran’s house in Mosgiel after dinner. Always back to that place, and the light of that place, and the smells of that place, even in my dreams, or in the certain weight of a blanket on my bed, or the smell of woodsmoke over the listless suburbs.
And songs by Radiohead. Beautiful, sad, restless.
I notice as I wind along the hill path that my legs feel tired. I ran home from work on Friday through the trees in the town belt. The tracks were wet and the grass slick. On the downhills my legs ran to keep up with the sudden velocity of myself, skittering on the brink of out of control and not as fearless as I once was, remembering the poorly knitted collar-bone I ignominiously broke a few years ago, as I half bolted, half skidded down the tracks with feet shooting out, body plunging to keep balance.
Strangely, connected with nothing, I remember a tape M sent from England perhaps fifteen years ago. He described making a bonfire of the autumn leaves at his parents’ house. I don’t know why, but it always stayed in my head, that image of a bonfire I never saw, the sparks rising in the updraft to mingle with the stars, the smell of the autumn leaves and cold, night earth.
Dancing in the living room with Eleanor on Saturday she was pure joy, pure, pure joy. I would love her to know how much I love her, but sense that it is beyond language. That how much I love her might be shown in the jumping about to silly songs in the living room on Saturday, and not in other things like words, or in the heat in her that comes later in a hot rush of rage when I tell her to go to her room for some act I have already forgotten.
I come back down out of the hills to the streets near my house feeling the heat of the sweat through me, and the wind colder on my skin. The clouds seem to be breaking apart above, tendrils along the ripped edges, and a blue sky behind. I come to my house and sit in the porch straining for breath. Inside I can hear Eleanor’s plaintive cry of protest, and smell Cathy cooking a loaf.
Soon I will stand up and go inside. And the wind will die.