Thursday, June 26, 2008

when the smoke gets in your eyes

during the night, someone discovered a hundred acre four miles north of me, where i would normally have spotted it right away. (visibility at the moment half a mile.) the most fire-ridden june i've seen in 45 years as a lookout. four days of lightning (perhaps dry) now predicted.

maybe that's why this morning before getting up, i began thinking where i'd like to die. this is, of course, the return of a morbid subject, but i have my reasons.

two weeks ago, i paid my next six months on my secret storage space. roger, the manager, has become a friend over the years. i've heard lots about his troubles. for example, this time he pulls me aside from the house and tells me his wife's daughter, husband, and two kids showed up may 1st with no money. one baby sleeps in the stroller outside the door. i ask, 'other than that, is everything okay?' 'no, afraid not,' pointing to a bump on his jaw. 'cancer. lungs. blood in my stool.' he's about to leave for treatment at the veteran's hospital.' i do my best to reassure him and give him a bottle of french wine. his little blond granddaughter asheley comes out, smiling. 'i've got thirteen of them,' he says, still puffing on a cigarette.

last night, i watched 'wit', the story of a youngish woman professor of metaphysical poetry diagnosed with cancer. she's lively and witty and if you want to see chemo in action, this is the movie for you. unfortunately, the treatment fails.

can i be forgiven for considering the subject while i'm in this twilight zone? (i'm trying to be as realistic as i can be.)

thus, this morning i thought, 'okay, i'd like to die right here, on this bed, surrounded by nature and the sky. where else? in the house i'm house-sitting, artwork and books taking me into themselves. and lastly? on a train, going through fields in europe.' this my secret way of finding what means most to me.

here are pictures of my friend berta on our travels. as she grew weaker, her sister sat her down and they put pins in a world map of all the places she'd been, a very lovely if sad way of showing her she had lived and had a full life. i was very happy to have these photos as a momento.