Writing and the West

By August 2, 2009 No Comments


We live where we live for landscape and seasons, for the place of it, but also for the time of it, daily and historical time.

Here at Eagle Pond, Donald Hall (1990)

Early Spring 2009

Late in the day, driving north through the Tobacco Plains toward the border, I pull off the road and stop.

Where I sit, the sky above remains clear. At the edge of the valley, to the east against the mountain, clouds pile and streaks of rain, maybe even snow, fall onto the upper slopes. From the western horizon, the sun plays with the stalled bulk and the precipitation morphing them pink/purple in the last of the day. An evening northern lights, curtains shimmering, oscillating in the final light. They move slowly pink, purple to dark gray and finally to black as the sun drops behind distant mountains.

I start the car and drive toward the border. And home.

At times, I wonder what brings us to this western landscape. At others, there is no question.

My youth was spent within a short bike ride of the Pacific salt. My summers with family in the mountains. Today, I live a life strung taut between the two.

And with the people drawn to the edge of these two worlds.
I think of fishing. Tossing a fly on the water and knowing the fish I seek lie where the currents meet—at the edge of the eddy behind a rock or at the sharp line between pool and riffle, calm and current. And the floating fly rests on an interface between air and water. Two vastly dissimilar environments.

In the same way, the writing of this first Red Berry Review rests on the emotional interface of the western landscape. The joining of currents. Of a farm. Of an island. Of death at a young age. We find a mirror held to our personal landscape. For better or worse, we look.

Look, and move on. Into our own chosen landscape.