When Nowhere Is Exactly Where You Need
Category : Uncategorized
On one of my favorite running trails, six miles up the into the Grey’s River country, on an ATV road that leads to a wonderful single track and that sees no traffic during weekdays, there sits a chair. The chair, an oversized Adirondack painted yellow and dull orange, occupies the exact center of a tree-shaded horseshoe overlooking a view of an open meadow and the rise of low mountains that mark the other side of the Grey’s River valley. It’s not a neglected chair or some forgotten camp seat. It is in nearly pristine condition. Cared for. Perhaps visited regularly. You see it, its arms open as if waiting, and think, this is exactly the place one should put exactly such a chair.
So the chair is at once unexpected and desired, simultaneously out of place and exactly in the wanted, perfect place. You see it and you have to wonder who put it there. Do they visit regularly? What better place to sit and contemplate the world? As a writer, I immediately identify with the offer the chair makes. Sit in me. Rest a time. Stop and think. Admire the view and open the mind.
The chair is near the top of a steep hill, and I’m breathing hard and sweating well when I pass it, knowing too that the next, never-ending hill starts soon. I often step away from the trail for just a moment, run to the chair, turn to admire the view it offers, and then continue on my way. I have never sat in it. My best part of my writing day, those hours given over to the production of new material, has ended. It is time to sweat, to clear the mind in another way before returning the endless revision and the business end of a writing life. The sight of the chair makes me smile every time I pass it. I imagine that whoever put it did so for the right reasons, that they have either written from it or sketched while in its embrace, or simply slowed down and observed the world for a time. And somehow I find comfort in that imagined vision, comfort and a kind of belief that, not only can I finish a hard run, but I can finish the real work of the day as well.