Monday, December 8, 2008
Yesterday, buffeted against the snow and cold, I trekked through the woods behind my house. The underbrush that in the summer was thick with life now lies in waiting for the dead of winter. I am surprised to find a path so close behind my house, worn by the soles of souls of whom I remain completely unaware. I follow it West then rethink and take it East to see where it leads. Above me, the tall, thin trees snap and groan, so different from their summer sway, and are barely crowned in the sunlight's severe December slant.
I dead end behind a house nearby and retread West, following my own marks in the felted white. The Westward path, I know, leads to a newly built house on a razed rise with a stunning view. I know this spot well by now, having visited in stages, watching it morph from forest to foundation to frame, listening to the dull roar and sharp bang of progress.
I hop the tiny, determined stream and the tumbling stone wall, skirt the downed branches and the batch of brambles, and push back boughs, and there it is. Enormous and righteous, this new house lords over the land. I wonder, briefly, about the propensity of the rich to build up high. Then I think for a long time about Edward Abbey, and how Hayduke would have just lit a match and watch it burn.
I retread East, in the gathering gusts of frigid wind, in the lowering light, and the tap tap tap of tall trees, to my tiny unassuming house tucked away at the edge of the woods. The desire to destroy perhaps is born from the same cell as the desire to progress. Yet I desire neither. Warmth tingles back into my toes and fingers. I close the curtain against the ghostly gray of winter dusk and the dim light of development.