Day and Night

Before the storm

Every day, more leaves fall from the trees, and on Saturday, while splitting wood, I spy the season’s first snowflakes. If flakes is even the right word; they’re so small I can barely see them at all, like motes of frozen dust that melt to nothing the moment they hit the ground.

Later, riding my bike down the backside of the mountain road, I happen upon a car parked at the road’s shoulder. There’s a puddle of bright blood just under the front bumper, soaking into the dirt. There’s a dog in the driver’s seat and no one else in the car, which appears undamaged. I stop, unsure of what my role might be. Hello? No answer. Hello? No answer. The dog watches me, unperturbed. The cars’ flashers tick on and off. I ride on, but in 15 minutes, now headed for home, I pass the spot again. The car is gone. The blood still soaking. Near the top of the mountain, I try to catch a falling leaf in my hand and miss.

In the evening, I pull the truck into a gas station and empty $80 into its tank. I have a love-hate relationship with this particular station; I hate it because it has television screens on the pumps that start screaming at me the moment I begin pumping. It startles me every time. And I love it because right next door there’s a run-down house with rabbits inhabiting a wooden hutch that’s essentially in the parking lot of the gas station. It seems a small life for the rabbits, to be sure, but I like to watch them while I pump, and I like that departing the station requires me to execute a three point turn in order to avoid hitting them. Where else can I get gas and be compelled to navigate around rabbits? Go ahead: Give me an example. I bet you can’t come up with a single one.

That night, the moon is big and bright and I’m awakened by the singing of coyotes. They are close and loud and I lie there watching the moon and listening until they’ve moved on or gone silent or both, and then there’s really nothing more to do but close my eyes and fall back to sleep.

12 thoughts on “Day and Night”

  1. Pssst …

    Press the third button down on the right side of the screen. That mutes the sound at least.

    I also like that gas station. Everyone inside is just as kind and friendly as can be.

    Happy fall!


  2. You can mute those annoying videos at the gas pump (sometimes) by pressing the second-from-the-top button on the right-hand side of the screen. When it works, it feels like magic.

  3. Sensory overload will be the death of western civilization. There is a bar here in Louisville, KY called Sergio’s. It is a literal hole in the wall dive but they have beer from all over the world and not a single TV was to be seen there for many years. I would go just to sit and listen to the conversations all around me. The sound of intelligent people talking about life and work. It was so refreshing! Then they installed a TV in the bar area. I don’t know why….I sit in the back where it is still quiet. Wear a coat if you go in the winter, they don’t heat the joint.

  4. Hi Ben…I have been going in and out of gas stations since I was 16, 56 years ago, and I can’t think of anything like doing a 3-point turn to avoid rabbits. I mean, who possibly could? Nothing out of the ordinary happens in gas stations except for the rising price which is ordinary. I’m gonna ponder this some more. Like how many gas station visits have I made in 56 years? I need to think about that. Good to read this post, thanks!

  5. Ben – another wonderful post! I had a really crappy day with doctor AND dentist appointments and reading your stuff made me stop feeling sorry for myself and just read and think.

  6. Any chance you will ever make a coffee table book of your journal entries and photos? They’re a comfort and a pleasure !

  7. Well, you got me on that one – I thought the “love” part was going to be that it had the cheapest gas in town!

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