The Slow-Cooked Sentence

The forecast

Rachael Conlin Levy

In January my drizzly thoughts are blue at the edges, cold and slow to wind their way through my head. Sometimes they collect in the medulla oblongata, my brain stem, pooling like the rain water in the yard before trickling down my arm and into my fingers, forcing them to clutch a pen and write a sentence of bruised ink against a blank sky. I take a stick and begin a grocery list in the mud and scratch out a grid for tic-tac-toe.

January writing is resolute at the beginning, soft and heavy and inflated with good intentions. During the next thirty-one days, the notebook is splashed with soup, its pages dusted by flour and smeared with buttery words. These are slow words written from a warm bed shared with others, written at a computer while wearing mittens and drinking mugs of coffee, but always written in the dark and with cold feet. Cold. Like the feet of sailors stranded in an icy ocean, shivering in water that burned the skin as they scanned the horizon for rescue, which came and pulled them from the water, their bodies stiff but with hearts that still fed warm, red blood to their organs. Rough blankets, wrapped around them for warmth, tore at skin that wouldn’t bleed, and again they shook uncontrollably as laughter cracked their lungs.

Such words, like the sailors pulled from dark waters, are fragile and short-lived. January writing weakens as the long month ends where it begins, with a single sentence on an otherwise empty page. Then the notebook slides beneath the bed where the dust writes its own story on its pages.

First hike of the year

A sunny new year, 2012.

4 responses to “The forecast”

  1. kyndale says:

    Well, I miss your writing. I was excited to see that you posted. Beautiful picture of you all!! Happy New Year! xo

  2. Andrea says:

    Beautiful family and beautiful words…as always, you are a poet. Here’s to blood and not dust keeping the notebook alive through the year.

  3. Rachael says:

    I’ll toast to the new year and to the filling of notebooks. Hip Hip Hurray!

  4. I often write with cold feet. What a happy, healthy, and adorable family. Cheers.

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