Notebook #2

Raindrops crawl down the windows like drops of saltwater down a cheek.  Sheets of gray sweep through the pines, and the needles droop with silver orbs that reflect the spherical world.  Inside, two logs licked with flames crisscross within the hearth, cozy in a bed of rippling embers.  I sit beside the warmth watching the rain fall as piano or Enya’s voice fills the cabin.

When I first arrived here six months ago, I began a new series of notebooks.  I used to buy those fancy leather-bound journals made in Italy or Asia, but years of writing have demonstrated to me that leather doesn’t invoke any deeper creativity than the $1.79 spiral bounds from CVS.  I consecrated Notebook 1 on my first day in the mountains, and I began to title the notebooks as I filled them:

Notebook 1: Ruminations
Notebook 2: Perseverance
Notebook 3: Movement
Notebook 4: A Collection of Pages That Used to be Blank
Notebook 5: Taking Flight


Yes, the titles did at one point correspond to a deteriorating mental state.  I began the Movement notebook three months ago when I set out to thumb my way across the country back to Miami, well aware of the irony of leaving my Perseverance notebook unfinished.

Returning to Arnold, I did not know how long I would stay.  Maybe I’ll leave once I see my first snowfall, or maybe when I finish my Perseverance notebook, I told myself.  But days of rain in the forties and dozens of blank pages made neither seem likely.

After dark, I climb into my car in the cold, miserable drizzle.  A downpour follows me in and out of the grocery store, but I find a layer of ice across my windshield when I return to my car.  As I drive back to the cabin, rainfall turns to sleet and ice in my headlights.  I step into the firelit warmth and press my nose to the black glass.  As I watch, the icy rain turns to flakes of snow.  So I do the only sensible thing I can imagine: sit outside and drink red wine as the snow falls.

When my toes freeze, I step inside and add a log to the fire.  As the light flickers, I flip open my Perseverance notebook and realize that I am on the second to last page.  It’s time to leave this place.

In the room that I used to consider mine, I throw books into a box and clothes into bags.  My stomach turns as I pull cards and notes and photographs from the walls.  These relics that used to fill me with comfort and happy reminiscence are now spiked with antithetical meaning.  I should have torn them down three months ago, but it was easier to just ignore them.  I throw them all into a shoebox that I will open one day and uncage a fermenting agglomeration of memories and shards of nostalgia.  I rip posters from the walls until the room is as blank as I found it when I first arrived.  Hours later, every trace of my brief presence in this place has been expunged.  Finally, I sit by the fire and write a letter to myself on the last two pages of my Perseverance notebook as the snow continues to fall.

How long have you been living on the road since boxing it all up and filling your car? I write.  Have you found what you are looking for?  What advice would the Dave reading this have for the one writing it?  How much wiser are you than me because of the mistakes I will make?  How much wiser am I than the Dave who came here six months ago because of the mistakes that I made?  What if I could have known at the beginning that I would be leaving this way, having gained certain beautiful things and lost certain beautiful things?  Would I have done things differently? I think for a moment.  Yes.  I would have.  Yet if I hadn’t made those mistakes, I could never have reached this point of understanding.  Can I make peace with that?

It’s cold, but I go back out into the snow.  I no longer live in the mountains.  In the morning, to hit the road and continue to develop my understanding of “home.”

san francisco
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7 Responses to Notebook #2

  1. drea says:

    i thought to take a moment to pull out my journal, and try to offer a similar passage, or some advice, but then i got started into reading, and got overwhelmed, and had to put the emotion-laid thing on the floor. thanks dave. i really need you to bring up that shit again
    but, really, ive been there. and youd be surprised what you can make peace with in time. “i will go mad by the end of this trip- or solidly not care” but yet, a middle ground is found, unless i AM crazy…
    ill be crawling home in a few days, so let me know where the road leads you. ill be drawing a path from miami to va, but you already know that one 😀
    safe journeys- happy holidays, wherever you end up for any part of them, may you be quick to remember those who love you

    • Dave Korn says:

      yes. i am searching for the middle path, and i will find it. i’ll be letting you know where the road leads me, don’t worry. i look forward to our next encounter.

  2. beth says:

    I feel like one of the biggest gifts you have is the ability to adapt to absolutely any environment into which you are thrown. Your home is every place in the world where you have friends, because you can somehow make anyone feel at home, even when they are thousands of miles from what they’d traditionally refer to as such a place. That ability to comfort others makes them want to return the favor, so really, choose a place, and your friends there will easily coalesce to form a family around you. (And if that place is near me, all the better!)
    Miss you, hope all is well.

    • Dave Korn says:

      thank you for this beth… as i constantly refine and revise and reconsider my understanding of “home”, this is exactly the kind of message that i need…
      love you. i’ll see you again soon, somehow.

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