slate chalkboard

Back from a walk. Ten minutes to the top of University Road because it’s a climb and back down through the trees to the open water. Deer along the road. Completely unafraid. Every once in a while I see one flinch. They seem darker than I remember, their coats thicker, black tails, and a black band around the snout and under the chin like a circle.

The sky keeps changing. The grey cloud cover is calming, but the sunlight is playful, and it moves like a lively mind across the leaf surfaces and the water. How beautiful, water. Who was talking about the moon. The way the moon is a friend to water. Was it last night? Was it the narrator in Rebecca? Which I’m loving, almost as much as Jane Eyre. The cadence of the sentences, what the narrator notices, the way what she sees has the effect of revealing what she feels within, appeals to me so much. How wonderful to have been led to the kind of writer, the kind of character, I admire just when I need her most. Like a good friend, a character in a book, Inga once said.

Afterwards I walked past the labs where the students and the researchers work. I like the drawings on the window panes.

They make me think that the people who work here are playful, though maybe they’re meant to be serious life drawings. Some of them are labeled.




A narrow utility road leads past the wharf, and trails branch over the bluff and out to the point.






There I found an unpainted Adirondack chair beside a pod of kayaks. An older Japanese woman was carefully making her way down the gravel incline. She didn’t smile; she didn’t even look up, maybe she was concentrating on her footsteps. She entered one of the derelict looking lab buildings at the edge of the campus and closed the door behind her.

Walking back up the stone steps toward the top of the bluff, I noticed a bench facing a table.




The bench, made of hewn logs, stacked on tree stumps, faced a wide slanted board like a draftsman’s table. When I reached the other side, fitted to the frame of the table was a piece of slate. There was a built-in box beneath the board, like the opening at the base of a desk. Inside, a metal tin with a perfectly fitting lid—there’s a name for this kind of a can—maybe they’re used for developing film or for the chemicals scientists use.

Inside, as I had hoped, was a fistful of colored chalk. Beside it a wadded rag and a stone the shape of an island or the bluff itself, colored pink with the chalk on one side and blue on the other. The slate board was perfectly clean, from the rain we’ve had all week, I imagine.

I sat down and looked out over the water. A small blue boat was approaching the harbor. I wanted to draw the wake line, and I did, and then the blue boat and the following swells and eddies as it went by.

How fast the hours in the day go by. How fast the sun across the sky. The days in a week. And so on. I’ve been here four days.

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