I wanted to live in the mountains. I even got a John Muir tattoo to prove it: Scrawled right across my heart, complete with an open road and clip-art-skyline. It says the mountains are calling, and I must go. It felt less cliché when I was 22, in the city.
As I shovel snow off my front porch, staring out at the very real skyline of the Canadian Rockies, all I feel is cliché.
My Buddy Holly glasses are fogged as I venture inside – can’t see a damn thing without my glasses. I rub them clean. The fire, stacked high, burns bright in the corner. The familiar sound of roasting logs is as comforting to my neurosis as the heat is to my hands. I’ve always wondered why fire calms me down. Maybe it’s an imprint, I think, a long-lost instinct from our past that tells us a crackling fire will keep the dangers of the night at bay. I place another log on the fire.
Fumble sits by the fireside, staring out at me from between a toque and scarf. I named the dog Fumble as a joke, really: I played football growing up. The little bastard was more trouble than he was worth, but I couldn’t very well get rid of him now… my only company on this God-forsaken mountain. The woman who’d bought him had long since gone, vanished into the cold, cold night, the only kind of night I can remember now.
I’ve been on this mountain too long, I think, with six months left on a two year contract.
Six more months and I might start talking to myself, I say.
Whoever said Hell was hot was lying: Hell is a cold mountain with a pug for company. I pour a glass of scotch and look into the fire.
Then again, it’s my hell, I say.
And it’s not so bad, really. I’ve got whiskey, weed and White Stripes records. I’ve got Howlin’ Wolf on vinyl. I’ve even got some B.B. King to warm me up when I’ve got the Rocky Mountain blues.
Were things really any warmer down there, before, with everyone else?