After Aces & Eights

I am too tired to let this sliver of time splinter my mind. On the far side of the Valley bowl, Los Angeles beyond the ridge, I see only houses and streets. House and houses and houses. There is chickenwire behind us, and the dirty air is full of dust. In that moment I see the empty valley of centuries before, and in bizarre coincidence recollect John Mayall’s record of his own first visit to Laurel Canyon: must have been the same as when Apaches roamed the land.

But L.A. is everytime some song or other. Joni Mitchell is breaking like the waves at Malibu, or we are driving up to Observatory Crest following the Captain. I can only ever wander in the mythological landscapes of my own eternal making.

I am too tired. I peer back into the well of years. Fifteen since I gazed across the Valley. Thirty-five since I heard John Mayall singing about his holiday. If I am here, then where is there? Which end of the telescope of time am I supposed to look through? I am too tired to know.

This is what comes of reading Annie Dillard again, too late at night, twenty years later.

November 2004