This Old Notebook

01/11/2020 0 By BuddyCushman

There’s the notebook I had in Texas, obviously, with the “Long’s Fish Camp” sticker on the cover. I’ve written the word “Stories” on the back cover. I saw it sitting open on a pile of ‘Morning Pages’ notebooks, I don’t know why I went over to look at it, and I saw it was different from the others, areas of white space seen on some pages flipping through. Then the green sticker on the front which I could almost see myself sticking on the front cover in Cameron’s SUV.

I can remember the place, Long’s, the weirdness when we got there and it wasn’t yet open, various animals walking around a large yard surrounding the office/store, at least one and maybe more cat climbing up onto the vehicle. Then, after they opened and we paid I think six bucks each to fish, catching a few small ones in a deeper channel, from the shore, but spending most of our three or so hours there walking out on stretches of rocks through which water flowed in an abundance of widely-shaped channels, never really catching anymore fish in any of those various spots tried, but with clear awareness of how beautiful this space and this day was. Texas hill country, blue sky – deep, powerful blue – smeared with puffed-up, cotton-white clouds over horizon lines, the sun warm and heating up to hot, being out their with my son, throwing flies in a late-morning dream.

I’m lucky to have had such an experience with my son, a day off for him from active Army duty at Fort Hood – out there with his dad an old military refuser. And I am for sure lucky I can continue to call up the memory, with sensual detail, that my brain has not succumbed to the whitewashing of all that has been – to which old age offers a ticket. That whitewash. I’m lucky.

I’m a week plus away from embarking on my 72nd year on the planet, and I continue to experience life as a constant gift, and periodic pain in the ass, nearly always an opportunity to ask myself, even in those very small time segments of moment-to-moment, to ask myself “Now what?” I just published a book. “Now what?” I’m worried about getting to the airport next week – the snow, this Portland winter. “Now what?” I’ve picked up and set aside this fairly mangled blue notebook with the Long’s Fishing Camp sticker on the front and the word, in large writing, “Stories” on the back, and I am crystal clear there may be magic in it. Invitations to walk through currently-closed doors. “Now what?”

How will I proceed?