Tom has left for his work week, and in an hour or so I will drive the boy to Portland to meet his ride to college. And then I will turn around and make my way back north.
Yesterday we hiked up Borestone Mountain, clambering and panting among the rockfalls and boulders, and then we sat together on the bald granite and stared out at the mountains and lakes and trees. Except for a glimpse of a railroad bridge, there was no sign of habitation . . . no tumbledown farmhouses, no ancient trailers, no dump trucks or skidders or school buses. There were no "Crooked Hilary" or "Lock Her Up" signs. They had vanished into the unity of forest.
Last weekend Tom and I sat on a pebble beach and ate apples. This weekend we sat on a mountaintop and ate apples. Two different visions, linked by apples and stone and sky and trees and water.
Later in the afternoon, as Paul and I sat in the car, waiting for Tom to come out of the store, we stared out at the ugliness of our town: a line of parked pulp trucks, gas pumps, a metal roof patched with tar, doddering unshaven men carrying cigarettes or boxes of store-brand doughnuts. I said to Paul, "It's hard to love, which is why I love it." And he said, "I'm looking at it in case I never see it again."