Star Dust and Snow

By Will Baker

I don't know whether it’s the novel that I just finished reading or the time of year, but something has me feeling strangely, in a weird place. Whenever I finish a good book there is a sense of loss, as if something is over. And I suppose that’s because something is. And during that interim period between the reading of the words, and the incorporation of what the author has said to me into who and what I am, I almost always mourn a loss.

It is getting to be late November here in Vermont. And as I write, the early afternoon sunlight is pouring through my dining room windows. But the sunlight no longer holds the intensity that it possessed earlier in the year. The leaves are off the trees, and even though here in the valley floor, the ground is barren, we have had a few good snows--enough to realize that very soon the ground will become snow-covered, and will probably remain so until spring. And I wish that it would snow soon. To help cover up the reminders of the chores yet to be done…No, that most probably will remain undone until next year. But there is snow on the mountaintops. In fact, if I wanted to, I could take a short drive, and play in it. But I don’t want to just yet.

The holidays are fast approaching; the summer and harvest are gone-by. And we wait. It seems to me that we are always waiting for one thing or another. Be it a school graduation, a new car or our first kiss. Yes, it seems to me that we are all restless creatures. We all make plans, no matter how modest, and we all look to the future. Yet the wise among us, in the process somehow find ways to enjoy the present. I guess that that is what I am attempting to do at this very moment: endeavoring to be wise. Yet I know that I will probably come up short. I almost always do.

The writer, Stephen King, has a word to describe one’s destiny. He refers to it as "Ka." And the group of folks that relate to one’s destiny, that are intertwined with it, he calls one’s "Ka-tet." Well, I’m wondering if I don’t owe my Ka-tet an apology. You see I’ve unplugged myself from them. And the reason for this action is quite simple: Lately, I have the feeling that I am taking more than I have to give. And I certainly do not want to screw-over those folks. For I have more than just a strong feeling that they are the ones with whom I am charged with helping to make it over to the "other side"-even if they might have to do so without me. And among my Ka-tet, there are one or two with whom my soul resonates fiercely. And I could not bear the thought of doing injury to them by my presence. Not that I am an evil person, or an ill omen. But it seems to me that, in my present state, I am an energy drain nonetheless.

However, maybe this is not a bad thing necessarily, to be, what Rimbaud called, a "Thief of Fire." For someone has to do it. To mine the mayhem at the fringes of our existences, and carry back what we have found there for the benefit of the rest. You see, sometimes, the fringes can be a scary and dangerous place. After all, this is where insanity and danger often lurks, where the "poisons of life’s essence" are "distilled." But also sometimes where clarity is attained and information that is significant can be obtained. And we simply can’t all take the risk that is inherent in the quest. That wouldn’t be prudent.

I do, however, have at least one comforting thought: That this fit shall most certainly pass. For it always does. And then, with any luck, I can distribute my boon, and re-connect with those that I should. Hey, maybe just in time for the holidays I might give gifts of stardust and then get my head right.

Too cool: stardust and snow…turn the page.



 (Essay Collection)