There was a fire smoldering in the pit this morning, lit last night for Thanksgiving, still putting coal smoke in the air. If not for the fire, it would have been crisp. Getting up at 7am to head to work, blue waves of sky beating trees like sea grass. But you could smell the smoke as soon as you opened the door, like nothing’s letting go of last night. Can’t feel fresh and clear while the fire burns.
I took my time at work. A mostly vacant day, people caught up in recovery from last night’s celebrating. I met a man who was starting his own business and a lawyer who’d inherited her client’s trust. Purposeful people, who’d gone through the whole nine yards to put powerful titles beside their names. Professionals. No one talked about turkeys, and when I asked, they each said Thanksgiving had been ‘just fine.’
I got a text from M saying she could see the stars. She’s camping right now so they’re clearer. I thought about blankness, and space, the cold, and how lovely it all seemed, and I thought about the smoldering fire. Grey smoke’s still going. Lighting out the route for tomorrow.
Sometimes I daydream about a bonfire. It’s on the side of the creek. It’s in a grass bed. It’s surrounded by trees.
There’re five other men sitting by the fire. I don’t know two of them. I’m friends with the other three. One guy has an orange insulation vest. He’s roasting sausage on metal spits. The other stranger tells stories about when he was young.
In this daydream, I’ve got a sleeping bag but no tent. Nighttime is coming. The sun’s hit the ground and lost some teeth, venus, the north star. I hear the water running through the creek bed but can’t see it. Rushing water gets louder when it’s dark.
I know I need to hide somewhere. My three friends will fall asleep. I’ll be alone with the strangers who tend the fire. I try to grip the old, last season leaves still stuck in the summer grass. I try to build a cover so they can’t find me. But it’s no good. I’m exposed.
Six midnight hours of ravenous flame. In the daydream, I wake up with two tick bites, a light head, and everyone gone.
If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.