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BY Michael

12/01 Direct Link
It was in the corner. I couldnít make out what it was at first. It was just an amorphous lump in the shadows. Something about it was sinister, startling me at first. I thought I saw it move. It was not quite right. What light there was seemed to reflect off parts of it creating an odd kind of glare. There was no shadow on the wall behind it. I looked at it for a bit. I looked around it. I looked at it out of the side of my eyes. I just couldnít make it out. It was odd.
12/02 Direct Link
The big fish took a long slow dive deeper in the cool water of the pool. It could feel the pressure of the water increasing as it dove deeper. It could see sand moving at the bottom of the pool, eighty feet below. That was how clear the water was in this pool. This was not the place for a fish to hide. It flung itself into a tunnel in the side of the pool. The light went out instantly and the fish felt the current moving strongly against it. It smelled something familiar coming at it on the current.
12/03 Direct Link
The pinch bugs had gone years before. Their departure went unremarked. Nobody missed them. Nobody said they were beginning to disappear. They were just there one summer and then they werenít there anymore. The pinch bugs we knew then were big, maybe an inch and a half to two inches long. Their long curved pinchers could go three-quarters of an inch. I remember a dog getting a pinch bug hooked on its nose once. It looked painful. The dog shook its head up and down, but could not dislodge the bug right away. We always gave the pinch bugs space.
12/04 Direct Link
In my mind, Iím sliding out the window, into the night, out over the snow. It is not cold in the night. Neither is it warm. I am just moving frictionless about waist high. The building next door is gone. I am moving across an empty field. Off into the cool and dark horizon. Now I can see the cemetery, the one I grew up next to. And I can see the pink and orange light of sunset beneath the tree limbs. I can see the shape of the tombstones against the fading light, the shape of the wrought-iron gate.
12/05 Direct Link
It seemed odd that the snow melting over the pavement, for a moment looked like black spreading over a field of white, rather than white disappearing over a field of black. Perception is an important thing. It is indeed how you look at a thing that defines it. The scale of things goes from impossibly small to impossibly large and we are somewhere in the middle, not even exactly in the middle. So we are constructed to experience reality on a scale that is convenient to us. Not the atomic world. Not the galactic universe. One just our own size.
12/06 Direct Link
So you were thinking about something, but for the life of you, you cannot remember what it was. There was a man standing at the end of the driveway. He was wearing a uniform and was writing in a notepad. A utility person? A policeman? What color is that uniform? Why so many questions? There was a tall tree behind him, on the other side of the street. It was a very tall tree, maybe a fifty-footer. It may be an elm. How many elms are left anymore? That would be a question to ask Google, I suppose. Another question.
12/07 Direct Link
There was an old-fashioned Coke sign nailed to a tree off to the side of the road. It was round like one of those pins you wear in your lapel, but bigger and red and it said Coke. If it were daylight you would be able to see the spots of rust on it. You would be able to see the dent on one side and the bullet hole in it. But it was dark, most of the time just a shadow attached to the side of the tree. When a car comes along, though, it lights up, a star.
12/08 Direct Link
There was a small boy walking along the road in a snowstorm, in the night. Yes, he was walking past the Coke sign. There werenít any headlights to light it up though. The boy is slogging in snow that is already over his boots and he has lost one of his gloves. His fingers are cold. They are so cold they are aching, but he keeps following the road. We donít know where he is going or what will happen to him. We donít know if he will be ok. He passes four cars parked haphazardly across the snowy road.
12/09 Direct Link
The first pick-up truck I remember my father driving was an old blue í48 International Harvester. It might have been fifteen or more years old when he got it. The original wooden bed had rotted out. He cleaned out the old splinters and replaced it with a 4x8 sheet of plywood, painted red. I remember him driving the truck in the snow. It was not such a good vehicle in the snow. It had a peculiarity where the emergency brake would get stuck when he set it. He carried a ball peen-hammer he used to free the brake to drive.
12/10 Direct Link
It was early in the morning, most likely too early. I was settling in at my desk with my coffee, turning on the computer and waiting for it to boot up. I lifted the mug of coffee and looked inside. I could feel the steam rolling out against my cheek. It was dark in there. I waited for the mist to clear and looked inside. There was a little boat in there, almost too little to see. It had a lapstrake hull. It was painted white with green trim. There was a little man in the boat bent over something.
12/11 Direct Link
The boy paused walking through the woods. He froze suddenly, listening carefully. This was maybe the sixth time he had done this. Very briefly after he stopped there was a noise in the forest, a two-step, an animal recovering its balance after stopping without warning. He waited, scanning the trees behind him. He shifted the gun in his hand, and continued walking, following a general heading north. He had gotten off the trail over an hour ago, but he knew if he kept going north he would sooner or later hit the logging road that went back to the cabin.
12/12 Direct Link
The walk just seemed to be taking a lot longer than he had thought it would, and there was this thing that seemed to be following him. At least that was what his imagination told him. Most animals would not follow a human in the forest. It was either a predator, or another human. Neither of these was particularly good news to the boy. Ahead, he could see a clearing. He thought about this, and an idea formed in his mind. As he came to the edge of the clearing, he looked at it. It was about fifty yards across.
12/13 Direct Link
Fifty yards was a good distance. This rifle could crack walnuts at fifty yards. The clearing looked like it had been wet at some time, but it was dry now. He walked straight across, conscious that he would be leaving a good trail. He was walking with the wind at his back. This was all good. At the other side he walked behind a fallen tree and kneeled down, laying his rifle across a large branch. He would wait for whatever was following him to come out of the trees at the other side of the clearing and kill it.
12/14 Direct Link
He did not have to wait long. He heard something pushing through leaves at the other side of the clearing, and then saw a flash of movement in the trees on the other side. It was grey and big, a deer he thought at first. Then he saw it more clearly. It was a wolf, but too large. It was a timber wolf. He had heard they had been spotted occasionally in this area. It stopped at the edge of the clearing. It was partly hidden, and he would lose sight of it if he took his eyes off it.
12/15 Direct Link
The wolf remained motionless at the edge of the clearing. The boy softly shoved the safety on his rifle into the off position. He already had a round chambered. The wolf was big, but the .308 would take care of it nevertheless. The boy waited. He could almost make out the wolfís shoulder through the trees on the other side. He considered taking a shot. The wolf moved off to the right, slowly circling the clearing clockwise, keeping a thick layer of trees between himself and the boy. ďHow did he know?Ē the boy thought. He got up, heading north.
12/16 Direct Link
This is the way it is. Some say time travel is impossible. I think many, possibly even most, say time travel is impossible. Some, however, say we are close to making breakthroughís on time travel. Many point out that time travel happens all the time. Essentially we are travelling through time all the time. Me, as I write this; you as you read it. We are travelling through time at separate instances and we are travelling through time constantly. We are all at different points shoved along on a voyage through time, like passengers on boats on an infinite sea.
12/17 Direct Link
The thing is, that I have been long convinced that if someone had successfully developed time travel, that we would have known about it. Even if it were done in secret in some government lab, the word and the technology would get out. People would hear about it. They would use it, no matter how tightly controlled it was. They would travel back and forth indiscriminately. They would have traveled to our past and would have rolled forward through our present. Traces of this travel would be evident. It is not. Therefore, I have assumed that time travel didnít happen.
12/18 Direct Link
It has occurred to me that there is yet another possibility. This possibility is that time travel is possible, but that we destroyed our civilization, possibly even our planet before we were able to completely develop it. Iíd put this event in the next fifty to one hundred and fifty years. After that, at our current rate of development we would almost have surely developed time travel. So, sometime within the next, well, within the next one hundred fifty years, we blow it all up. Nuclear war, disease, it doesnít matter how or why. It is what we will do.
12/19 Direct Link
Maybe this end of civilization, of humanity, of us is due to a robot uprising. This is another thing that seems to be inevitable. In any case, I should think this thing through. Suppose another civilization discovers us, maybe after we have destroyed the planet. Such a civilization may have discovered time travel. If not, we may be discovered by another civilization. Eventually we or our remains will be discovered by a civilization that has discovered time travel. Eventually they, or someone like them. will return to a suitable point in time where they can prevent us from destroying ourselves.
12/20 Direct Link
But this scenario returns us again to where we are seeing evidence of time travel. This has not happened; we have not seen this, so this hasnít happened. It does not happen, will not happen. I am thinking that as the universe expands, and the space between our worlds increases, and galaxies are inevitably swallowed up by the black holes at their centers that the universe does have an ending, that we exist in a single series of events with a beginning and an end, one that is not infinite in time. I donít know about its extent in space.
12/21 Direct Link
The venom had already been injected. The snake had struck quickly and I was really too late. Jackson lay down to die, and partly because he was feeling sick. Maybe mostly because he was feeling sick. That was the way the venom worked. It made you feel sick. It also worked partly in human beings because they thought they were going to get sick and die. So then their brain just responded by making them sick until they died from believing something. But it was time for me to do something besides just reacting the way I was supposed to.
12/22 Direct Link
I remember it was a sunny windy day. I remember my father lifting me up into the tree. I was much younger then, and so was the tree. Later, the crotch in that elm would be much too high for even my father to reach. Still later that tree would die and would be cut down, victim to the disease that killed many of these trees across America. My father put me up there and told me to put my ear to the trunk and listen. He said I would hear the tree speaking. So I listened to the tree.
12/23 Direct Link
Sitting in the tree with my ear pressed to the trunk, at first I didnít hear anything but the wind. I felt the wind against my face and in my short hair. After a bit I could hear branches clattering against one another high up in the tree. I could hear them. Then I could hear them through the trunk. I could hear the wood of the trunk groaning as it moved in the wind. I could hear it squeak. I could hear a rustle, a cacophony of a hundred voices deep in the earth surging up through the trunk.
12/24 Direct Link
One of the questions on Jeopardy tonight was about Green Hills of Africa. The answer was ďWho was Hemingway?Ē I knew that one of course. I had read the book out of my fatherís bookcase when I was young. I didnít know it at the time, but Hemingway had published the book some fifteen years before I was born. Hemingway had been trained to write a certain way. By the time I was born, writers were starting to be confused about how they should write. By the time I went away to college they were experimenting with weird new styles.
12/25 Direct Link
There were other writers too. There was Henry Miller. I liked reading Millerís stuff. He has not held up as well as Hemingway so far. It is hard to judge who was the better writer. I am thinking also of others like Faulkner, Joyce, and Fitzgerald. Faulkner and Fitzgerald I met in college. Joyce and Miller I found myself. Since then there have been countless good writers, something I honestly had not expected. It seems every year I turn around and find another one who just knocks me out. Each one has a slightly different take on writing the novel.
12/26 Direct Link
My mom asks me how my Christmas was. This is the third time in this conversation she has asked me that. She has asked four times what I did today. I have answered each time, usually giving the same answer. I think her brain has come uprooted from the earth in which it has been planted. Little root hairs are still connected to the ground and are still tugging at her head, but she cannot quite make the connections she used to. She is 94 now. I think this lack of solid connection is common experience for most of us.
12/27 Direct Link
There was snow on the ground this morning. Enough to cover except where the weeds grow. The weeds grew like that along the fence rows when I was a boy. You would kick the larger clumps of weeds, and sometimes you would kick a rabbit out. My fatherís Ithaca would bellow. He never missed. He had an unshakable confidence with firearms that way. The same way with bows. In the things I was given after his death was his marksmanship medal from his stint in the Army Airforce. He taught me to shoot well, but I never had his confidence.
12/28 Direct Link
There was snow on the ground this morning. Enough to cover except where the weeds grow. The weeds grew like that along the fence rows when I was a boy. You would kick the larger clumps of weeds, and sometimes you would kick a rabbit out. My fatherís Ithaca would bellow. He never missed. He had an unshakable confidence with firearms that way. The same way with bows. In the things I was given after his death was his marksmanship medal from his stint in the Army Airforce. He taught me to shoot well, but I never had his confidence.
12/29 Direct Link
My son was interested in my bread making the last time he visited. I let him take pictures of my stain-crusted bread book, the one with all my annotations in it. He likes to cook. A lot of the more exotic pots and pans I have were given to me by him when he moved over to the U.K. He made cakes and pies, and I think he spent time with my mother learning to make some of her favorite dishes. Everyone agrees that my mother used to make the best pies. It was her crust that was so good.
12/30 Direct Link
I dreamt the night before last about my í57 Ford. This was not the first time I have dreamt about that car. As usual, it had magically reappeared in my life. As usual I did not question this. Nor did I question the pristine condition it was in. In this most recent dream I had parked it in a parking structure somewhere in Ann Arbor. Not only could I not remember where in the structure it was, but also I could not remember which structure it was in. So I was, in mid-dream, wandering around Ann Arbor searching parking structures.
12/31 Direct Link
Itís a little later than it was. That was before it was now. Now is more difficult than I thought it would be. It often is. As I sit here, looking out the window over the screen, it occurs to me that I donít look out there enough. It is not such a bad view. And it changes periodically, so that I donít get bored with it. Just now, a little animal ran out from the left and made its way off to the right. I think it was a motie. Their fierce appearance can be quite startling at first.