I feel like a ghost this morning, wandering about the rooms: the result of sudden change and little sleep. At the same time, I am determined to work. After all, what better way to find out what I will write under new, unsettled circumstances? And so around and around I go, sipping coffee, pausing at the windows or to study the face of a departed relative in a picture on the wall, listening to the rain and the birds, and to the sound of life lapping up against the house.

I have already written two letters. We must always start somewhere, and writing letters in the dim light to the music of hungry starlings is as good a place as any. While I was writing the letters, I was also thinking about the word companion, and what a rich word it really is. People are companions: husbands, wives, children, friends. Animals are companions. People and animals are companions to each other. There is also the companionship of memory, and of one�s work. Music is a wonderful companion. Books. Thoughts. Voices on the radio. The sound of one�s own footsteps: I remember walking alone on the farm in the cool of the morning with a shovel over my shoulder and marveling at the rhythm of my heavy work shoes on the uneven ground. Trees. Rivers. Cemeteries. Barns. Houses. Roads.

The ruins of past civilizations � historical truths, untruths, and misperceptions. We take them with us wherever we go, and have long since grown accustomed to the weight.

Fire: one of the greatest companions of all � the sun in miniature.

The stars, which never seem to fail, even though they, too, must grow old and die.

The companionship of lonely gods, living their lives forgotten in the hills, their mythological gray hair tumbling about their shoulders: Good morning, friend. Where do we go from here?

May 22, 2006

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