I’ve logged more experience than most with simplicity and the complexity you discover inside simplicity, minimalism and asocial behavior, endurance and landscape.
Here is the truth: I think some deep wisdom inside me (a) sensed the stress, (b) was terrified for me, and (c) gave me something new and hard to focus on in order to prevent me from lapsing into a despair coma — and also to keep me from having a jelly jar of wine in my hand.
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One summer my sister lost weight
and grew boobs; her skin cleared up.
By fall she had a boyfriend —
a tall, dark, skinny boy
who sat with her for hours at
a time on the diving
board in our back yard, making out.
How boring, I thought. How
could someone stay interested
in a kiss for so long?
I kept waiting for them to do
something else. They kissed and
they kissed. Father was safely at work,
where he sold steel and more
steel. Mother watched them from the kitchen
window, where she peeled
potatoes and more potatoes.
I watched from the window
of the back door to the garage,
where I was busy curling
and curling a weight bar. My sister
and her boyfriend, wrapped and
wrapped around each other like freezing
people in a snow cave,
kissed and kissed on the wooden
diving board my father
had sanded and sanded, then varnished
and varnished. He had rubbed
that board so long I’d thought he
would reduce it to a
wafer. Why not buy a fiberglass
board? I’d asked. No, he would
make this one like new. And on it
sat my new sister with
her new boyfriend. As my mother
scraped new potatoes. And
I contrived to grow new muscles.
And my father filled orders
for girders to hold up new freeways.