Thursday, January 24, 2013


i always want to believe that in the forest i'll feel some ghostly presence, a haunting, a foreboding, or at least the curiosity of a spirit in proximity to the living.  on the olympic peninsula, i'd assume old ghosts must haunt every tree, the psychic remnants of america's pioneering forebears and of peoples and times completely remote to my memory.

trees grow tall in the olympic national forest.  fir tree minarets inspire vertigo like looking down off a cliff.  deciduous hyphae branch outward under and through the evergreen, leafless but not nude in the winter, the bark of these trees warmed by bryophyte furs.  the thick moss vivid green contrasted with the gray and brown of the forest, the blue-green of the evergreen.  we hiked through ectoplasmic silence, a density that could be determined between footfalls.  the forest was lovely, dark, and deep but there were no ghosts to be found.

i spent the weekend on the puget sound with adam and his friends - we stayed at his friend alisa's parents' beach house.  we woke to gray expanses, gray clouds stretching out over a deeper gray sea to the dark shores on the horizon.  seagulls screamed as they chased one another through the sky, fighting over fish or garbage.  in the beach house, over-warm, we lounged in t-shirts, melted worry with wine.  everyone seemed happy, relaxed.  i slept soundly, deeply, undisturbed by phenomena otherworldly or otherwise, awaking refreshed.  adam, already awake, smiled at me and i whispered, "where's my coffee?"

even if you spend the weekend doing exactly what you always do, it's sometimes good to get away, to escape the ghosts of daily living.  anxiety haunts me.  i anticipate and worry and stress; i relive and review and remember.  i worry that what has come before could just repeat itself now, that everything is cyclical.  and i worry that what i have done could dramatically impact my future.  this may be true, but this constant worry constraints my actions, paralyses, distracts me from the moment, from what's important.  anxiety sometimes prevents me from living fully with the living, with the friends and family with whom i'm surrounded.

to halt the rhythm of the quotidian can break the spell of anxiety.  as i hiked with adam's friends through the forest, we talked and walked and fell silent for intervals.  mid-winter, i did not hear even a bird, even an animal moving through the forest.  we found our way to a little river, magically turquoise beneath the rapids, and as we hiked away from it, up and a hill and over, the noise of the water fell away and i was left with just our quiet hike, the soft shift of fabric and the motion of our bodies.

the forest may look like it should be haunted, but as i hiked, i found a lack of psychic disturbance.  untroubled, in awe of the forest, we were happy with each other.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


tired, worn out, i found myself in bed with adam the other night, who had arrived back in portland that day.  i picked him up from the airport that afternoon.  at the number 8 baggage claim carousel, he ran over to me, bear hug grasped, and gave me a kiss.  a movie reunion.  i felt awkward, nervous now that he had arrived home, wondering what had changed.  simultaneously, i found myself lit up, excited, a dog wagging his tail.

pizza and beer at dove vivi.  i relaxed.  we relaxed in bed together after.  i smiled and he smiled.  we had sex together and fell asleep.

insomnia strikes again.  i find myself sleepless every couple of months, usually in tandem with some anxiety.  these days i have been taking 5-htp to keep my brain in top condition during the winter on my friend ryan’s recommendation.  it boosts neuro-transmitter function.  i take it just before bed and it helped me fall asleep at first.  then i started to take that in combination with melatonin to stay asleep.  a double whammy of natural sleep aids.  if i didn’t take the melatonin i’ll wake up an hour or two after i go to bed.

my body rebels.  melatonin cannot even guarantee a night of sleep anymore.

i took a 5-htp capsule and fell asleep.  sleeping for a few hours then waking, hot and uncomfortable under the heavy duvet.  i wanted a glass of water.  i wanted to get up and look for the cat.  i wanted to watch tv.  i wanted to fall back asleep by knew i wouldn't be able to do so, knew that sleep would be denied, that the program in my head would continue to run until morning.  i cannot find the switch to turn myself off.

adam snored next to me, sleeping deeply.  beautiful. "And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!"

it's not adam's light snoring that ever bothers me, just as he at least says my own doesn't bother him.

if i were camping the sound of nature around me would be so much louder than adam's snores here in my house.  the windows keep out the noise of cars and the city at night. out in the woods, out in a tent, i'd be surprised at the loudness and unfamiliarity of the hum of insects active at night, the rustle of leaves and branches, the sound of a river running over rock.  i have heard coyotes callings to each other.

i did find more sleep last night finally only to be awoken by the alarm, adam's eyes un-opening.  he'd been gone too long and i cuddled into his body and thought, yes, this is exactly right.

and i think, yes, this is exactly right whenever i do find sleep, whenever i sleep the entire night.  most of the time, even if i do manage to find a good stretch of sleep, the cat wakes me to be let out, or i go to sleep too late, or i feel groggy through half the day.  this could be an effect of the winter weather: the cold and dreary days thickening my blood, plasma crystallizing and sluggishly pushing through my arteries to my heart and brain and eyes.  eyelids drooping.

maybe i just have to push through to february.

Monday, January 7, 2013

breathe through it

adam has been away in indiana for a month.  at this point i miss him, i’m bored, i’m really horny.  it’ll be great to have him home.

but it was an old boyfriend i was chatting with the other night over gchat.  with a polite bleep, a window opened and i read, “I’m sorry if I ever hurt you little Christopher.”  i dated this guy for a couple months over a year ago, a crazy time in my life.  i was crazy.  when this dude and i decided to part ways, it hurt a little, as break ups do, but when that brief cloud passed, i realized that my relationship with that guy had been far from perfect and that our break up worked out for the best.  like most of the dudes i have dated, i did not harbor any ill will toward him.  i have seen this friend around town a couple times and everything has always been fine between us: casual, friendly.

i told him we were fine in my book.

my friend explained that he had recently been hurt.  he described himself as a man who finds it hard to open himself to others, and just finds someone with whom he wants to build a relationship, that other man balks.

i think so many of us say this about ourselves: it's hard for me to open up to another person.  a condition of contemporary life, dating someone always means taking a risk.  life does not guarantee coeval infatuation between two individuals.

another friend of mine recently related to me a story about seeing a young man for a couple dates.  in his early twenties, the young man seemed to have a huge crush on my friend, which isn't necessarily a problem, but can be a warning sign. from the other side, an immediate infatuation like that can look illogical, unwarranted, desperate, and disconnected.

from the inside, of course, infatuation feels quite different.  i think of those studies that attempt to describe the state of the brain in love, a neuro-chemical condition that resembles the junky on dope.  all those pleasure centers lit up, all those neurons firing, all that frenetic neural activity.  experientially, we know that we're fucked while infatuated.  heady and happy and hyper-aware.  nervous.  completely conscious of the other person.  i always find myself concerned that i'm too intense, that i'm moving too quickly, that this infatuation is unwarranted, that i'll scare the other guy off.  and i worry that after a week or two, the magic will be over and i'll stop caring.

infatuation and dating requires a constant mediation.  "respirez.  respirez.  respirez."  this is what i have to chant to myself.  i have to remember to breathe, to relax, to be aware and take it easy and just enjoy the high.  mostly pointless, i have to remind myself to enjoy the date, enjoy the moment, risk the attachment.  in the end, it won't matter as much as i think. that's what i have to tell myself.