Last week with my daughter, I ran the track at Hiawatha, unable again to count laps with accuracy. What is this inability, this absence of connection to a simple reality played over a few slow circles around a tiny area? Was that four or five times passing the young family in the sideline gravel under the landmarked oak? My mental tangles begin by the second loop, my lament more serious than the current happening. Why can’t I hold on to the facts through which I’m moving, the habits I’m cultivating? What is this caravan of thoughts?—Anxieties and angers, grief and meta-grief at being alone on this coast unable to disperse mom’s ashes, pain from a spine still lodged in my hand from the cactus, a rampage of mixed emotions—delight at first glimpse of ancestors never seen before, in aging photographs sent in a giant package from my aunt, and sadness— this trove has only arrived because all trace of us must be eradicated at the old house. It’s an exaggeration to suggest this is running. I laugh at myself. Meanwhile my girl catches me up and goes by and I add another trip, and Black Lives Matter marches into my thinking. Seattle in this July cannot extract itself from spring cool and damp. I had to check the Monet calendar hanging by my desk to affirm the month. How did I ever imagine I could grasp something as complex as a ramble?
About the Author
For 30+ years, Pamela Hobart Carter taught science, art, and preschool. On the side she wrote plays, poems, fiction, and non-fiction. Now she writes full-time and teaches on the side. A dozen of her plays have been read or staged in Seattle (where she lives), Montreal (where she grew up), and Fort Worth (where she has only visited). She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Kelsay Books published her first chapbook, Her Imaginary Museum, in 2020. Finishing Line Press will publish her second in 2021. Carter has two degrees in geology—from Bryn Mawr College and Indiana University.