The first thing I did when I got back to the city was take a walk in the park. Inevitably, it wasn't much of one. Some people are prone to this stupidity. When I got to the trail, this gaggle of mountainbikers was rolling about like there was nobody in the world but them. Two of them were at the edge of the trail, actually considering going down the cliff. "That's just one of those things, you know, you've just got to go for it." I found myself preoccupied with crashing through the ferns and brush, a stick going between the spokes, and ending up Wile E. Coyoted in the creek.
In Ashland I discovered I missed the small-town, middle-class projection of calm. Walking down residential streets in the sunshine I feel so wonderfully obscure. It's a hipsterdom of neighborhoods. I flatter myself that I don't belong in Ashland's seemingly monolithic community. A far more comforting feeling of outsiderness than skirting the city's plethora of imminent scenes, cliques, and classes.
The next day I told my friends "I think a spider bit me!" I didn't think a spider bit me. But who knows? My cheek felt red, or white--stung, or numb. Did they notice anything, driving off in their minivan? The kids kicking their skateboards up the hill would've made an effort not to notice.
The trail--not quite a trail, going up a small stream overhung with bushes--was a last ditch obscurity. When did I start asking myself what are you doing? At the beginning?
I felt my cheek. There wasn't anything on it, but my fingers came away perfumed. Maybe it was just the raspberries doing what they do.
This is stupid. This is the stupidest thing you've ever done. Well, not the stupidest.
In the mirror there was nothing. Disappointing.
It's getting dark. Oh my god, You're going to be stuck out here in the mud in the dark!
Just because I couldn't (you should really) turn around.
Just because I wanted to get over the ridge and look at the sunset. Something I didn't believe was feasible even when I began, an hour before dark. That must be why I went.
Obviously it didn't turn dark, either. In Ashland I went up to the dam that stores the town's water. It looked fragile. It occured to me that if the dam broke, it would be a tsunami in a canyon. It would destroy downtown. I felt a shiver, but titilation doesn't make things happen any more than willpower.