Magic

Sometimes, I get very overwhelmed by things. Not things like due dates or recurrent aches or failed tasks (those get me very stressed). But things–the way the grain of the commuter rail windows reveals an ultrasound pattern in the right light; how a well-sucked cherry Ringpop perfectly resembles a Christmas light; the familiarity of honeysuckle’s earthy sweetness 2500 miles from home. I was once walking through Philadelphia when I came across an apartment building laced with ivy, which then took me seven minutes to pass because I couldn’t stop running my fingers over the waxy leaves. Clearly, my senses are easily overstimulated, my thoughts easily overloaded.

Wyoming, unsurprisingly, has been overwhelming. Too many things to see, to smell, to touch. To record. Forming coherent recollections of my days for this blog has proved more difficult than I would have thought. So with wifi in limited supply, and my mental energy draining, forgive me for a post of snippets rather than one of stories.

Snatches of the Past Few Days:

-The yeasty smell of bread rising when I proof the croissants for the deli. They bloat on their oil sprayed trays and their papery skins yellow as the butter beneath them warms. I return to the oven’s window too often, watching them crisp and expand more than I thought possible.

-The little girl who returns for ice cream each day, slightly wary of me, as though I’ll tell her parents if she forgets to say please or thank you. She shakes her head firmly when I ask if she’d like to try anything, but smiles tentatively when I tease her for ordering vanilla. She always forgets to come to the register to pay, eagerly waving three dollars at me the minute I hand her the cone, proof she won’t run off without paying. I always forget to ask her name.

-The cardboard box where I toss my ice cream and chili splattered uniform because I’ve forgotten to bring a laundry bag with me. When I carry it to the small room with two washing machines and two dryers (one broken) I feel as if I’m unpacking boxes from a move. Which I guess, in a way, I am.

-The car ride with seven of us in a five seater, the smell of a campfire settling on the upholstery and a charcoal funnel in the sky above us. I didn’t know the name of the kid driving and we hid from the National Park Service truck when we pulled into our dark driveway.

-The ride to the whitewater site where Jackson spread, then dissolved into paddock and hill and mountain. There was a boy scout camp headquarters and a trailer park with brightly painted abodes and a store with the word GUNS as part of its railing. The stop sign was littered with bullet holes.

-The smell of beer and raspberry cake at my roommate’s 21st birthday gathering outside the dorms. A security guard stood by the picnic tables, scouting for anyone underage. The cream cheese frosting reminded me of the year I was obsessed with red velvet cake even though it’s nothing more than dyed chocolate.

-The view through the screened windows of the bagel shop, where I could watch the tourists¬† stroll with their overpriced cowboy hats and the locals, with their determined strides, overtake them. The cashier set the two dozen bagels for the women next to me on the window ledge outside, which her daughter peered from inside with fascination, smearing cream cheese on the screen’s grate.

This is why I’m skeptical of people who don’t believe in magic.

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