Worlds & Time

Saturday, March 31, 2007


You people that live along the coast take fog for granted, probably in the same way that I take the huge blue cloudless sky for granted most of the time.

My mother and I were driving home from a CD release party, and on the highway we suddenly hit a patch of fog.

You don’t see a lot of fog in Santa Fe, or New Mexico in general. As we reached home, it became thicker and thicker until you could barely see the road ahead of you. When we reached the gravel, we stopped and I got out to walk the rest of the way. My neck hurts when we go over the bumps in the unpaved section of the road.

I would say that there’s something magical about the fog, but that would be clichéd, so let me say instead that there is something personal about it. As it surrounds you and cuts you off from the rest of the world, as it hides all of the familiar sights from view, it brings you in contact with yourself.

That sounds mystical and odd, but what I mean is that most people are reactive. Something occurs, and you react to it. When the fog is obscuring everything, you don’t have as much to react to. Whatever is in your mind sort of bubbles to the top.

I think that most people would find it very creepy to be alone on a road at night, especially when the fog is covering everything and the only light is coming from the moon. It sounds like a scene in the middle of thriller movie, a little bit.

I didn’t think that after the first few moments. Everything was so peaceful, and even though the road and the houses looked completely different, I knew that it was familiar.

Speaking of sounds, everything is muffled a bit. It’s not quite gone, but it has to struggle through the air a bit, so most things have faded into a dull half-silence. Since it is so hard to go anyplace, the sounds that you make tend to be loud. I do a sort of shuffle step to make sure of my footing, and it echoed around when I moved.

A couple of times though, I just stopped, just to listen to the silence. The peacefulness of it is nearly overhwhelming.

The only thing that was completely different was the smell. Fog brings with it this pervasive wet smell. I know that in New York or Washington State, that smell eventually becomes moldy and sickening, but in New Mexico it will never have enough time to do that. By tomorrow it will all be melted off in the morning light, and in a few days things will be as dry as ever.

So the wet smell is very fresh. It’s not as sharp as the smell of rain, but it’s not thin like the air on the top of a mountain. It was very delicate in its own way, and very special.

If I lived in a place where it was like that all of the time, I’m sure that someday I would become so accustomed to it that I would find it blasé, but having been basically confined to my room for the winter, it was just amazing.

The fog isn’t the only thing that was really nice today.

During the concert, I was looking around with my eyes. There was this spotlight that focused on the stage that I could see easily if I leaned my whole body back heavily against the chair and straightened my back.

I already knew that it was dusty because I was completely closing up: my eyes were watering heavily, my nose was filled solid, and I had to breathe through my mouth to keep from suffocating.

However, when I looked into the path of the spotlight, there were these dust particles slowly floating through it.

I’ve seen a lot of stars. Before they put in this housing project, sometimes we would come home at night and just be blown away by the sky.

The dust in the spotlight was like stars. Some of the dust was smaller and it just twinkled for a few seconds, and some of the dust was larger and it was brilliant and fiery as it burned its way through the narrow stream of the sky.

Stars don’t flow though, and the dust did. It wasn’t a rush, or any kind of gust, it just meandered into view and then slowly out of view, some bits moving faster than others, but always in the same direction. This movement had its own gravitas, a weight to it, as if the particles of reflected light knew where they were going, but that they could take their time about it.

It struck me that this is the way that stars should move. No streaking and blurring past, and not as a burst of light. This dignified march of dust was showing me what travel between the stars should look like.

A few rows ahead of me there was a guy sitting alone. If I hadn’t been with family, I would have approached him and told him that he was the most beautiful guy that I’ve seen in the last few months and (even including television) it would have been the truth. I might have approached him anyway, except that I have trouble maneuvering stairs in a crowd by myself while wearing a neck brace.

I saw him briefly as we came in and during the intermission I stood not far away from him. During the concert, I had a lot of time to see the back of his neck.

He was in his mid twenties, perhaps 5’9” or 5’10”. He’d just had his hair cut recently, and you could tell. It was very short, almost like he’d shaved it completely and it was growing back out but the edges around the back and the sideburns were too precise.

Hair that short is soft, like fur. It almost doesn’t matter what it was before, only the very thickest hair will change the texture. That short it won’t tangle, and it doesn’t need to be brushed. It just is: it exists unchanging and unaltered, unable to be disordered until it has grown long enough to stick up through your fingers if you run your hand over the scalp.

It seemed dark, but hair that short can be deceptive. He probably wasn’t blond because it didn’t vanish at the right angle, but it could have been mostly light brown. I would wager that it was darker though, a dark brown or black. At the edges and just above the temples, it seemed silvery, like he was much, much older than he looked or perhaps he’d been hurt and where he’d been struck the hair had lost its color. I don’t think that he was older, his face was too smooth, but it could have just been an illusion.

His face had strong features, and the short hair accentuated them instead of making them cartoonish. The structure of his neck seemed to have been carved, with perfect attention to symmetry. His brows were strong, and he had a wide jaw. His nose was unremarkable, but because it was neither to large or small or oddly shaped. It fit his face to a tee.

His eyes were smaller, dark blue. He didn’t want to look around because he didn’t seem to know anyone well enough to sit with, but when he didn’t think that people paid attention, his gaze would slip around. If you have soft eyes, your view can slink around and observe people when they aren’t paying attention. His eyes were loud. The might slide like blue agate in water, but when they did it was like mountains moving, and they would hit you like the side of a mountain.

He kept his mouth an even line. He couldn’t smile because people that are alone at a show don’t smile unless they’re odd. I do that too. After all, what if some crazy gay guy approached you and told you how beautiful you are? Something strange like that could ruin your evening if you aren’t careful, so you need to look cold and distant until the lights dim.

He was wearing a black shirt, perhaps a t-shirt, and over it he was wearing a dark gray v-neck sweater, and dark jeans. You could tell that he was in good shape, but not in an overworked way. Perhaps he didn’t belong to a gym, but if he didn’t he was active. He would move around during the day, and he ate well. Or perhaps he was just born with those perfect genes that maintain you no matter what.

I wish I’d gotten a better look at him. Perhaps I could have described him better if I had.

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