Dear Mom and Dad (though I know it’s you, Dad, who wrote me),
I didn’t realize, until I got your letter, which I fetched from my PO box yesterday morning, how wonderful it would be to get a letter, a real physical piece of paper with all the inconvenience of pushing a pencil across its face dragging thoughts and then posting it, in my hand. It was much closer to sitting in the the living room with you chatting over morning tea and coffee, something I love so much. Though I’ve been anticipating its arrival from our phone conversations, a letter in the abstract, that is, news of a letter coming, is nothing to a letter arriving, a letter in the hand being worth more, far more, than two, or ten, in the promise. I can read it again and again…
I carted it around as I did errands in Las Vegas. I brought it up to the mesa, to the cabin and still I saved it until late in the evening when the bustle of the day (why is a day still a bustle when, because of electric light, we could bustle around the clock, but still the the day feels more bustle-y), when the bustle of the day subsided and I could savor it by candlelight. Dad, you have always been and continue to be, such a wonderful writer! I read your letter with such pleasure. I can’t remember the last time we corresponded. Ten years ago? Twenty? Too long.
Yesterday the sky was pure drama—sweeping clouds, shafts of light, long grayish wisps of rain striping to the ground or hanging tantalizingly above like jellyfish tentacles not quite touching down. After dark, lightening on the eastern horizon, in a band of clouds above the land and beneath the star canopy, danced in silence until midnight. As an artist, I feel amused and defeated by such effortless natural opulence. Today we—the animals and I—are enveloped in a muted haze, slightly moist and cool. A tiny bushtit flits and sings. The scratch of my pen sounds loud, a sharp contrast to the past ten days of continuous wind howl.
This afternoon I will work on a temporary water collection set-up—a tarp suspended to funnel water into the 60 gallon barrel with a screened manhole cover top I purchased yesterday. I want to empty the water out of the drum that Don left here since there is no way to peer into that container to see the state of that water. (It smells not quite right…What might be decomposing in there?) There isn’t much left in that storage anyway. I can put its contents into a covered bucket to wash up after dirty projects, then use the drum to transport water in the pick-up from the neighbor’s well and gravity-feed it by hose into the newly-purchased barrel. All this is a kind of puzzle to solve. Water is so heavy! With a 60 gallon water cache life will seem more secure and certainly cleaner.
Thank you again for the wonderful letter.