Friday, October 13, 2006

Along a Road

Welcome to the line. My line.

When I was in high school, I used to drive here at night. Outside this wall, televisions flickered in windows, and car lights crested hills. If friends were with me, we hushed our laughter under the trees.

When my feet swung over the stones and landed on the cemetery road, the vast quiet closed around me, and everything changed.

I walked in silence, sometimes trailed by the moon. Those old hills were covered with so many lives turned grey. I used listen to the words of everyone I ever was. It was there I decided who I would be. And it felt safe.

Where is the place where only you can pass and everything else is left behind? Where is your line?


Suzan Abrams, email: said...

Hi Jason,

What a beautiful self-reflective post. Caught me off-guard. The silence in your prose was deafening. I was enthralled at how the simplicity of what money could not buy, could easily manouvere life in its wonderful way for you. This time, the magic of your gripping post, lay in the deliberate slow turn of your words.

What a clever question to ask.

My line, Jason? Not as easily evident as yours & I hope you can understand. I would define my moments more as roadblocks. Every now and then, I come to a little signboard that may unexpectedly say, 'stop'.

Then I return to the more innocent times of my childhood...places that permit entrance to no-one but me. One of these encounters is that...I'm in a quiet room on a cold rainy afternoon, reading a classic or something truly delightful in modern fiction. Perhaps I'm having coffee. And certainly listening to Simon & Garfunkel Songs like The Dangling Conversation or The Boxer really do it for me.
It is very peaceful.
In my room are old paintings that may have touched a chord to heighten my dreams once-upon-a-time or favourite jigsaw puzzles. And there are poetry books written by Sylvia Plath, the British poets mainly & there are childhood classics containing merry woodland stories. And I am alone indulging in this enchantment. These were in more innocent years when I had time to dream. Sometimes, I go back to that time. If I am lucky, for a flicker of a second, I can still recapture my magic. And then I understand once more what my destiny is all about.

jarvenpa said...

No, I won't answer your question here. But I am charmed with your site, onto which I stumbled this night at the edge of the forests. I'll return.

Terri said...

I'm not in any state to contemplate your question at the moment, so I'll simply say, " what a beautiful, peaceful photograph ".

Bernita said...

A physical place from childhood, Jason?
Gone, buried, lost to me.
But there are other dimensions into which I am allowed at times.

anne said...

There used to be a place. When I was in Scotland, I lived in Aberdeen, near enough the beach, which, understandably, was deserted most of the time. It felt wonderful to sit there in winter and look out at sea.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, yes, yes! Such a beautiful picture!

My line is a trail through some woods back in Western Washington. The dominant species are Western hemlocks, Pacific rhododendrons, Western red cedars, and Red alders, among others. I can't wait for a chance to walk it again.

Anonymous said...

Union Station, Toronto. I would come up from the Subway into the beautiful old terminal and sit, between the ticket windows and the sloping walk down to the gates, and listen to the announcements of all the different stations along the way of each departing train. The bing-bong-bing-bong-bing chime that preceded the announcer's voice is forever clear in my mind. I was hungry for the places, to get on a train and go, and just keep going.

I suppose it's a line I never really walked. I sat alongside it, and yearned to take that step, until it got late, and I got back on the Subway and went home. But there was a kind of peace in the wanting.

normiekins said...

spectacular colors!!! the line always changes for me/with me/ and against me.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to move over there. I just LOVE those trees. Great picture-taking!

Anonymous said...

My line is a spot where I used to play street hockey as a kid. Although I wasn't alone, I always felt most alive there.

This post inspired me to write about "my line" on my blog.

Anonymous said...

The Cornish coastline, any of it. Rugged and wild, a place to be sans the lines of life.

Shesawriter said...

What a beautiful picture. Love the colors. The words were just as pretty. :-)


anne frasier said...

i think sometimes the mississippi river does it for me. the river is always changing and not always peaceful. but when it's very still, and i can hear the birds.... nice. i also like the ripple pattern that's so hypnotic. but it's harder and harder to find that place. i think it's my age. or something about becoming a bitter hag. :D

wonderful photo, jason.

Linda said...

When I was a teen it was a gravel road we lived on. I could walk and walk and just be me with my thoughts.

Now my line is a path down to the river. There is a small hiding spot on the bank between the bushes. I can go there and just be...

Thanks again for the lovely fall photo.
Have a great weekend. :)

Anonymous said...

Susan, what a beautifully reflective response. I do understand what you're saying. There are moments we meet when we unexpectedly link to another time, and we hover between now and then. I agree that they are very personal and powerful, and we want to hold onto them as long as the magic lasts.

Jarvenpa, I'm intrigued by your words. I really do hope to see you again.

Terri, thank you, my friend. I hope you're doing okay.

Bernita, those dimensions sound peaceful nonetheless. :)

Anne, that must have been amazingly beautiful. I feel wistful just thinking about it.

JLB, it's so interesting to have a glimpse into each other's secret places. Yours sounds vast, but close and comforting at the same time. Forests are indeed wonderful.

Marie said...

Love the colours! Can't really think what my line is.

Jeff said...

Great photo, Jason. There used to be gravel lane from my grandparents barn to a small woods filled with beech, hickory, maple, and oak that made for a very pleasant mind-clearing walk. Fantastic colors in Autumn.

Anonymous said...

Bekbek, I sat alongside it, and yearned to take that step, until it got late, and I got back on the Subway and went home. But there was a kind of peace in the wanting. I think I used to feel something similar, but I didn't have as perfect place to contemplate it. It's easy to be anonymous in a train station despite the bustle. That disconnect in the midst of activity and motion is poignant. What I can relate to is the feeling of openess--so many paths open before you, but each one seeming just a little too empty.

Normiekins, I can see how a line which changes with you allows you more freedom to adapt, yet stay grounded.

Dana, thank you! I hope to get more this weekend.

Struggling Writer, I love hearing a different take on the concept! I will definitely be over to read your post.

Minx, you conjure a long, winding line of images for me. Some of my ancestors came from Cornwall.

Anne, there is such a striking convergence of opposites in a still river--the ever-changing motion against the quiet. It must feel like a spell has been cast over the moment. But if it's harder find, perhaps a new line somewhere is waiting for you to step across.

Beady, a quiet spot by the river to just be.... That's a perfect way to describe it. Thanks, my friend. You have a wonderful weekend too!

Anonymous said...

Marie, I really happened upon some spots where the colors were perfect.

Jeff, when I close my eyes, I can imagine the barn and the crunch of leaves under my feet. Thank you. :)

Anonymous said...

Tanya, The words were just as pretty. Thank you!! How has autumn been where you are?

Anonymous said...

My mind and imagination took me where your eyes have taken you in the past, and with a smile I have walked through that line with you for a moment.

Jaye Wells said...

My line used to be a storeroom in our old house. We had some old couches in there. It was my escape from the drama of my family. Just me and a great book. I sometimes regret that becoming a writer has somehow robbed me of the simple pleasure of reading a book. Now it's all analysis. But sometimes, I find a book that helps me recapture that feeling of escape.

Other than that there have been fleeting moments of clarity--a beach in Grand Cayman at midnight. A mountain in Colorado or New Mexico. Watching the colors come through a stained glass window in an old antique store. They're rare and precious.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photograph, and even more beautiful description!

Anonymous said...

Jason and all, the various comments remind me that there is a place, indeed a line, that my husband and I found together not long ago. A beach, in Fernandina Beach, Florida. We've planned to move to the water for as long as we've known each other, but this time there was something extraordinary that happened. We went running, and for the first time in my life I felt like I could keep going forever (in reality I could not!). The sense of peace and... completion was astonishing.

And fleeting. The drive home entailed a long study of just how clearly we would never be able to afford to live in such a place. But we'll keep trying to get there, if only for an occasional escape.

Thank you so much for helping me make it so clear in my own mind!

Anonymous said...

Your posts are ever thought provoking, ever wonderfully composed. That is why I come to visit as often as I can. I haven't been here for a few weeks, but I always know that upon my return, you will have written something hauntingly lovely and will have posted an exquisite photo.

My line is the deep woods. The old mossy trees, the smell of the rich earth, the fall of leaves, the perfect stillness, the stones walls, etc. It is all so mystical in the woods - as holy as any church. I started out life flanked by a magical wood ...and even though I am hundreds of miles from there...I still abide in the trees It brings peace.

Joni said...

I used to hide in my room as a teenager, longing to roam to the nearby reservoir or playground, but found myself caged by my own fear, thanks to an older brother who convinced me that walking alone at night was surely a death request. I was quite young when I came to take solace in candle lit baths and soul-feeding music.

Now as a mother, at times I find myself counting down the minutes until my husband comes home or my children are protected in slumber to enter my peaceful warm world. The shower curtain becomes a rock wall that troubles cannot pass through. I sing, I write in my head, I cry, I dream, whatever the prescribed need may be. I suppose it is my line. And best for me, I have a secret place almost anywhere I go.

Thank you for asking.

Anonymous said...

Angela, My mind and imagination took me where your eyes have taken you in the past, and with a smile I have walked through that line with you for a moment. And that's the greatest gift of all. Thanks for walking with me.

Jaye, a quiet place to barricade yourself, and read, sounds wonderful. Also the beach at midnight. You conjured a special memory of my own with that one.

Caryn, thanks so much. :)

Bekbek, knowing the line is the hardest part. Now that you do, even the mere thought of it can be a comfort. It's always waiting when you need to cross.

K, your special corner and chair are always waiting for you here. ** I share your love of the forest. The old mossy trees, the smell of the rich earth, the fall of leaves, the perfect stillness, the stones walls. Yes, the forest contains as many worlds as a person dares to explore.

Joni, an inner world where you float in the candlelight.... That world can be as vast as any ocean or mountain-sloped forest. Thank you for sharing. :)

Wilf said...

Let's see. Behind my mother-in-law's house is a hilly expanse of ancient commonland. In summer, the bee orchids grow and the skylarks fly up out of the long grass. This is where I walk and think and everything else is left behind.

Anonymous said...

What a thought provoking post.

mermaid said...

The shoreline. The horizon. The line between self and other.

Cie Cheesemeister said...

You are lucky to have such beautiful scenery to see. It is very inspiring.
My line is between hell and earth.