Take the future by the hand before it grabs you by the throat. You can't fight the clock, every effort against a second is a wasted one. Even if you live 10 years longer that time is empty and hollow because you fought in vain only to achieve an(more) extra blink of the eyes.
You don't walk towards death, it flies a flaming hearse at your face. All your vegetables and exercise make it slow down just enough to laugh at you long and hard. But look the reaper in the eye and casually stroll to meet him, and he may walk with you for a minute.
Throw a stone in the water and see how quickly it sinks and is gone. But see also the splash it makes and the ripple it throws to the edges of the pond. Notice how it lingers on the bottom, collecting algea. Watch a leaf zig zag its way towards the pond, its path desperately trying to bring it past the waters boundaries. See it fall anddfloat on the surface. It fills with water over time, grows brown and ragged, nibbled by fish, all alone. Eventually it sinks and lays down next to the stone, befre it becomes nothing.(less)
It was Christmas and Theresa didn't mention it. The calendar had become a womanish worry-stone, not a valid way to measure time in that isolated place where the slapping of the tides and the race against the light carried more weight than a ticking clock. It was Christmas night(more) when Paul came home smash-drunk, not the first time but the worst time. There was no neighborhood beer parlour in Desolation Sound and at first Theresa had been soothed by this fact. She hadn't known about the Chinamen and their stills. Out in the forest which at first had seemed so fresh and ripe for harvest.
Her new husband and his brothers, their logging scheme, the wealth to be excavated with plain hard work.
Now six months in Theresa saw the cedars only as a good hiding place. Paul and his brothers disappearing into them each morning and emerging dirty and bloody and covered in needles after dark. The woods were full of arthritic creaking and mud underfoot, and roaming bears who didn't know enough to be afraid of men. Moss grew everywhere in that dampness, not just bearding the north-facing bark. Theresa spent the days rocking the baby and stirring the embers, feeling the cold in the very knit of her woolens, and bones.
After knocking over the chimney and upending the soup-pot Paul knocked Theresa in the mouth, glancingly, with a balled fist.
She'd often watched from a distance the brothers at work, narrating the business to the baby Maria. Paul with his voice straining, his jacket shucked and sweat steaming from his woolen undershirt. Suspenders girded his vast frame. They'd urge the Shetfields on, the muscles in the ponys' backs like boulders shifting under fabric.
She felt her bottom teeth come loose like the upended roots of trees.(less)
Late October in Portland, Oregon--this is still a fall night. But a lot of times, in New York--especially Syracuse--by now, it's winter. And in Minneapolis, growing up, late October was almost always winter. Sometimes there might be a warm day somewhere after that, but the kids all wear winter(more) coats over their Halloween costumes--the smart ones just dress up as something that works with cold weather. If you're going to be a fairy princess for Christmas in Minnesota, you be an ice princess, or something along those lines.
But even in Portland, late October is fireplace season, which in many ways makes these winter nights.(less)
Jim left the dorm at 1:45 AM with the eyes of a quizzical security guard boring into the back of his head. Nobody liked it when Jim went out for walks on cold winter nights. So he told nobody. And most of the time, nobody seemed to notice.
They said he'd get mugged. But he sincerely believed that it was far too cold for anyone to be out mugging this time of year. And even if he was wrong, Jim felt secure in the fact that his assailant wouldn't be getting enough money off him to make all the effort worth his while.
Winter at school made Jim restless. Heat kicks on. Windows close. Sun sets painfully early. City shuts down. But he vowed not to let that stop him from exploring its dark corners. And he was often rewarded for his stubborn persistence. On bitter nights like these, the city belonged to those precious few who were willing to bear what most would not. The streets were empty. And the few sounds of life that were left were blunted by the falling snow.
He walked through the park and across the bridge, stopping for awhile to stare at the river. His breath bloomed in front of his face like ink in hot water. He let his mind wander to places where the hustling-by of the day would never permit it to go.
If there is a god, Jim thought, then the universe must be his breath on a cold night. A bluster of particles emanating from a single point in time and space. Changing state fundamentally, and then spreading from that point in all directions like a tuft of icy feathers. Then, slowly, fading into into the pitch black sky until it was no more. (less)