Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pitch Black

It's really dark here at night, and quiet. One can become annoyed by the tiniest light a mile away.

I just arrived home. It's eleven thirty now.

Tonight I walked down a country road, in the mountains, in absolute blackness - except for the stars - with a group of Gothic residents, six in all, to dismantle a tee pee south of town built by one of the summer work crew (Jonathan Speer - some kinda plant artist). We built a fire and burned the mildewed blankets and sundries. It was an event like that of an exit from summer camp, or cleaning out one's high school locker... except it was here.

And here is seriously the middle of nowhere.

The best part of this night was the exchange I had with George, previously named, on the way down to the fire, which amounted to... 'I walk all over this valley, at night, alone, without a light, all the time, unafraid.' And he's been doing it for ten years.

Who are these people? My dad took me to see 'The Legend of Boggy Creek' when I was five or something and ruined me for dark wooded places, forever.

And so as I walked, one foot in front of the other, assuming the attitude of those around me... soon realizing I could see in the dark, like they could. I could see the road, the trees, the sky, the vague silhouette of light from CB over Snodgrass, the Milky Way, Andromeda... I could see two point two-million light years. I felt the dizziness of the unfamiliar. And being with people who knew where they were and what they were doing, I felt safe. The unfamiliar began to feel familiar. And I realized I knew where I was... I could tell by the outline of the mountains and the stars. I knew exactly where I was.

We had a great time pulling up stakes, knocking down poles, tossing crap onto the bonfire.

We stared at the fire for a long time... And after the coals died down we all walked home. Nothing unusual.

This is life in Gothic.

1 comment:

Dan Jones said...


Thought you might like to know that I sent your blog URL to the entire RMBL Board of Trustees. As I hope you know, they love it.

I also sent it to my family. They know this place. But they know it a bit better through your eyes.

And I know you a bit better for the lovely story of becoming un-afraid of the dark on your walk back from the tee-pee site....many years ago when I first arrived hereabouts, I lived in a tee-pee up Kebler Pass way. I also experienced the joys your describe of knowing the night sky........