truck Trane

The secret teachings of January smolder in the twelve directions of the clock & turn to fly ash in the alchemist’s spoon, the one with a mother-of-pearl grip like an old-fashioned .38. They are not hidden — their noise is the noise of the world — but they’re easy to miss, just as a painting that moves us once might prove, on subsequent viewings, unable to escape our recollection of being moved. You might hear them & not realize it until the next morning, when the eastern sky begins to prickle under its hairnet of bare branches, the ambiguity of figure versus ground prompting a sudden consciousness of loss. For god’s sake, put the kettle on, says the wren.


And now I am sipping slow clarity with my tea. A half-grown kitten crouches down in the grass and turns to stone. The blacker the cat, the better the chance of its survival in the wild, so what’s all this nonsense about bad luck? If you know me at all, you know how fond I am of the way the world eludes our efforts at interpretation. If reality is my bible, then I confess to the most extreme form of literalism: no bird is an omen. The arrangement of tea leaves in a pot is nothing but art, pure & unrepeatable! The one-sided conversation of a sleepwalker forces us to listen as an infant must; it does no good to drill new ear holes in the mask we long ago acquired as an inducement to love. ‘The music of what happens,’ said great Fionn, ‘that is the finest music in the world.’*


If you can’t decide on a quarry, you’ll never be much of a hunter. Or so I gather. You might be wondering why I started out talking about January, but it’s simply because that’s when the contrasts are sharpest, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun — on rare occasions when it shines — is at the best possible angle for photography. Shadows turn blue against the snow, which can otherwise cause blindness, & a sufficient depth of snow or ice traps blueness for slow release on cloudy days. Sky versus ground: one is as good as the other in my book. Though their tracks are everywhere, seeing a coyote right now would simply be too much to hope for, I remember saying to myself in the last seconds before the shape at the edge of the woods averted its muzzle and hauled ass up the hillside: unmistakeably bear. Inexplicably awake.

*Quote from the Fenian Cycle, translated by James Stephens in Irish Fairy Stories and reprinted in John Montague, ed., The Book of Irish Verse (Macmillan, 1974)

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. I say wow. I say thanks. I can dig it.


  2. “the music of what happens” — thanks for that, and for the peculiar music of this post.

    Your link makes me realize I dated my post incorrectly for I did in fact post it today. I’m still floating, apparently.


  3. qrr – Thanks. I wasn’t sure if this post would make sense to anyone else or not.

    MB – Glad you liked. I can change the date on the link if you like. I’d be floating too if I were you – what a great trip!


  4. Really loved this!

    Not quite sure why my wrens are always hounding me to watch videos instead of drink tea. The caffeine, maybe?


  5. Videos? I’d have thought Alabama wrens would be pushing mint juleps…


  6. No need to change the link date, don’t think it’s worth the trouble. Perhaps you can explain to me, however, why your link and Marja-Leena’s don’t show up as “links to this post” on my blog? I’m trying to figure out how these things work.


  7. Probably because we didn’t do trackbacks, and Blogger doesn’t collect mere pingbacks (as the commenting system here does). I think trackbacks are a royal pain in the ass, so I’ve never bothered.


  8. (Though I should have added that my sidebar link wouldn’t have registered as a pingback, either — you can only ping by publishing a post.)


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