On Tuesday, a national holiday, I took the youngest two for a short hike halfway up a mountain behind a shopping complex. I had been hoping to make it more than halfway but we got to a point where Luca, who is seven, realized that each bend in the trail only led to more trail and so he stopped and declared that we had “hiked enough for the day”. I conceded mainly because we were ill-prepared, having failed to find a convenience store between the station and trail head. We also did not have a first aid kit or hiking poles, which would have been useful on the steep and rocky trail. The fact that we had found the trail head at all was based purely on luck as the book of regional hiking trails was rather vague on where it was and all the signs had become tattered or disappeared all together. I was just happy to get the kids beyond the reach of pavement and commerce for a bit.
In the neighborhood surrounding the trail head, there were many cemeteries, as pictured above. I am fond of cemeteries and the way they are nestled into neighborhoods, making death a more common reality than the fenced off green gardens of graves in America allow. When I lived on the island in the middle of the East China Sea, I used to do most of my writing in cemeteries since there were so few places to sit in the rural splendor of the place. I always felt comforted by the reminder of mortality, the clutter of stone cubes and locked cabinets of ashes a tribute to our strange predicament: needing to take life seriously but not too seriously.
In the evening, after I put my young hikers to bed, I went out for a walk under the full moon. It was almost too extravagant to look at directly so I sat by the river and watched it wavering on the surface, keeping company with the reflection of traffic signals and tail lights. And that is when the story began flooding into my head, unabated. A story of parallel dimensions, of astral projection, of witchcraft and humanity, of destruction and hope. A story unlike any I have attempted but a story so full and demanding that I have set aside everything else, recognizing that this is what I am supposed to be working on now. I cannot type fast enough to pull what is running through my mind out onto the page and there is just so much of it, so many details and plot twists, that I do not have the time to dedicate to it as it so demands. All I can do is try and wrangle it when I can and know that whatever I manage to capture is only a fragment of what is to come. I have been waiting so long for this story and all I hope is that as the moon wanes, the story will continue to flow as steady as it does now, coursing like rapids through my mind.