a winter gale blows across the solid lake of ice

There are times that I wake-up in the middle of the night and I can not think of anything that I would rather be doing than writing.  On those occasions, like on this one, I usually brew tea or grab a glass of juice and I make myself comfortable.  I can only do this if I am not expected to be at the office early in the morning.

What I like about these nights is the quiet.  The wood stove makes a sound, but not a distracting one and if I am lucky the fridge is not running.  On those nights I can usually hear the wind in the trees, less so in the winter, but in the winter there can be some severe gales that come up off the lake and make me feel like I am in a foreign country, and it is a different age.  I can picture myself wrapped in a black P-Coat and walking down to the pier.  But the country id Wales and the boy id Dylan Thomas and he is wrapped in Scottish wools and tweeds with rubber boots.

I do not often act on these dreams, except perhaps on some very warm night in the summer when the moon is nearly full; but, I digress.  I am telling you about this night and this night, I am content to be typing across the keyboard and simply recording my sensations as they occur.

A night like this is reserved for my highest contemplations.  I like to envision myself so much younger than I have become.  I can remember back to nights like this one some forty years ago living in a 3rd floor tenement building on the very top floor on one of Worcester’s seven hills.

One evening we got very stoned and very drunk.  After hours of listening to music and eating home baked pizza made with the remains of welfare food that we were getting as surplus because we lives so far under the poverty level; after an already long night, we set out into the city to find some ruin of a stone tower. It was a cold night and the stone tower looked very illegal and I was scared and exhilarated all at once. Bancroft tower stands a top of another one of Worcester’s seven hills.  Its history is rather benign.  Some one had it erected in honor of someone who had money.


None of us would have cared very much about its history but as college students we make use of the tower as it became  part of our fantasy.  We were kings and princes and we had damsels and there were even homosexual knights who dared not be caught for fear of beheading…not a far cry from what it would have felt like to be caught queer in 1969.

It is many years ago and that night has a distant memory associated with growing up and associated with no longer being under the direction of my mother or the mother church.  As a roman catholic boy in a small new england town, homosexuality had no place where it could be fine.  It was an abomination and as such only took place in the seediest of places and in the most quiet of back room arenas.  It was forbidden, and so was I.

Tonight I remember that young boy that I was and the young man who played the prince.  His name was Steve and i can not longer see him in my minds eye.  He had been a patient at the local asylum.  As soon as I heard that, i wanted to check in myself…maybe in an insane asylum I could find some like mindedness.  I was not sure if I was looking for a cure or for acceptance.

I tried to get a job as a ward attendant but I did not quiet seem sane enough to them for that; so I tried to admit myself as a patient, but I appeared too sane for that option.  So, I continued to pine away in my heart looking for something that I knew would destroy my life, but having not the slightest capacity to keep my mind from knowing what it knew.  I liked boys and men and I was so screwed, because not only did I have a family, but I was wildly in love with my wife.

It sent me into an alcoholic panic & stupor that lasted some thirty years–on and off my knowing that I was a drunk homosexual.  There was nothing about that then, or even now, that makes very much sense to me.  I am not longer an alcoholic and I live with a perfectly wonderful male partner; but it still makes no sense to me as to why I would have an aberration every bit as damaging as my other love, “my Tourette’s.”

I think that this little glimpse of history comes from hearing the phrase, “the return of the repressed.”  I heard the phrase in relations to politics, but it stayed in my mind and as I sat listening the the gale force wind at my window, I remember to a day gone by.  I have always enjoyed returning in memory to former places where I have lived.

I have always found it hard to settle down.  I move from one location to another as frequently as some folks change socks.  It is not because of a lack of satisfaction as much as it is about trying a new thing. I am looking for a new gusto to grab before this entire trip is over.

It is still deep winter in New England and I am thankful for the fire glowing in the wood stove.  The mantle is cluttered with “stuff” from the shore and a bottle of sand from Hutchinson Island and two small ceramic birds that sit atop of pieces of drift wood.  The framed picture above the mantle is a 1930 print of a fishing scene in some mountain range that reminds me of where this cottage is located.

I think I am preparing myself to move again, but this time, as in one time before, it does not feel to be down stream.


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