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Creek Running North

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December 14, 2005

Sentences

This morning a cold fog lay over town. Steller's jays flew into it, disappeared in blue blur.

Bradford pear leaves scattered over sidewalk and curb. They are crimson now, and vermilion, and chocolate. The fall has been an odd one. The leaves on my apple never dropped. New ones are already growing. This is the year when the apple tree was evergreen.

Four California gulls rode the peak of a roof along Tennent Avenue. They waited for Zeke to pass. A stray tomcat bumped my leg, looked curiously at the dog two houses back. Did he need to run? He threaded himself through my ankles, then walked reluctantly away.

The magazine is nearly done, again. The deadline crush has become routine. One five-page article we were planning to run vaporized last week. Ten years ago I would have pulled out my hair. Last week I made a phone call and had a replacement the next day. What's the worst that could happen? I could lose my job.

Last week the psychiatrist asked me if I ever experienced feelings of hopelessness. I told him I was an environmental journalist. He nodded and made a mark on his checklist.

I walked down to the creek tonight. Zeke pulled eagerly on the leash, at least on the way downhill. A sweet pall hung in the air, woodsmoke and something cloying, like corn stalks. For a moment, I smelled burning Joshua trees. For a moment, I was at campfire on Cima Dome, putting a hand-length section of Joshua tree intto the fire, then drawing it out again to sniff its copal smoke.

Posted by Chris Clarke at December 14, 2005 11:17 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:
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Comments

This is a beautiful piece. It's almost a shame to mention that my automatically-sentence-completing brain thought this:

This morning a cold fog lay over town. Steller's jays flew into it, disappeared in blue blur.

was going to read:

This morning a cold fog lay over town. Steller's jays flew into it, disappeared in blue clouds of feathers.

Posted by: Auguste at December 15, 2005 12:52 AM
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Nice essay, Chris.
You caught me with the psychiatrist part - a surprise laugh in a quiet piece.
CP

Posted by: carpundit at December 15, 2005 05:35 AM
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Bradford pear leaves scattered over sidewalk and curb. They are crimson now, and vermilion, and chocolate.

I love it when the pear leaves around here fall. There's a development very near to me with pear trees lining every street. It makes for gorgeous springs when the trees are clouds of white blossoms. And it makes for very dramatic falls when the streets look like something Monet or Degas would have painted. The only drawback is that the trees are fragile. A stiff breeze can bring down a limb or even half a tree. The price of beauty.

Posted by: eRobin at December 15, 2005 07:54 AM
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I love when you write like this, Chris. It's a long moment of zen. Details noted. Held. Released. When your heart flies even further than the Stellar's Jay and finds itself again.

Posted by: Rexroth's Daughter at December 15, 2005 08:29 AM
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write on chris. no goopy stuff here.

Posted by: dread pirate roberts at December 15, 2005 08:59 AM
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It would be nice to see leaves right now, and blue jays and sea gulls. Out my front window is a giant six inch in diamter ice stalagtite trying to become a stalagmite, burdening, to no end, the DSL coaxial cable running down from the roof into the little whole in the wall into my house. Thoughts of the greater open deserts and campfires are inspiring as i prepare to walk out in the lovely 14ºF mostly sunny day.

Posted by: spyder at December 15, 2005 12:03 PM
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=v= I returned from the East with many pangs of regret that it was right before the leaf season began. The pears have taken the sting out, and the sweetgums have really delivered this year.

Plus, leaf season back East was wrecked by some sort of Day After Tomorrow scenario.

Posted by: Jym at December 16, 2005 02:09 PM
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