The Knot

26 March 2018:

I spend my days unraveling the knot of the places I’ve been, stories I’ve read, and people I’ve met. Or, maybe, I spend my days making that knot. Either way, the knot.

I can look out my window this afternoon in Bozeman and imagine what Ed Abbey saw from his fire lookout along the Grand Canyon’s North Rim at night. Dark, weathered rock. Perhaps yellow pine. Aspen.

I can read the poet William Stafford and remember the time I stopped for gas in Garden City, Kansas. Pieces of prairie still alive in the worn yards of abandoned homes.

No one person, place, or book stands alone, and my imagination enjoys the game. I try my best to make sense of it all, to keep things straight, to imagine, to remember—how, when, where, who.

Take this happenstance of mine, one I’ve carried years and many, many miles:

I once bought two books by Wallace Stegner in Alberton, Montana, from a family-run bookstore with over 100,000 used books. A fantastic store in a little town resting in the mountains—off I-90, just before Idaho, or—if you’re heading back to Missoula—just after.

As I wandered the stacks, a young boy named Marley—two years old maybe—introduced himself to me. His mother ran the store. She was a kind, cordial woman. While I had her searching the shelf for Stegner, I heard another boy in a back room watching TV.

“The baby’s in the ocean,” he kept yelling. “The baby is in the ocean.”

Well, what do you say of such a thing, such a moment?

Is it worth remembering? Worth sharing?

There it is. There I was.

And here I am now, telling you.

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