View from Mattie’s Pillow

I’m sitting in my living room near the woodstove balancing the laptop on my lap. The stove we bought when we moved here has a window at the front, so we can see curls of light from the flame as the wood burns. These days, we’re burning only birch, those lovely trees with their white bark that peels like sunburnt skin in summer. We’ve stacked the split wood on the stove to warm  to room temperature from 40 below; I admire the clean whiteness of the bark, the dense grain of the wood itself.

In Interior Alaska, birch is the hardwood we have. It gives off more heat than other available wood such as spruce, cottonwood/poplar, or willow. The wood curves as it grows so that the trunks of birch trees look like giant legs or hips. Interior artists such as Kes Woodward or David Mollet have made much of this quality.

Today, I have been clearing out a physical space downstairs to write–a room and a desk that has been burdened by boxes, years of graded papers, old bills, a bicycle, yoga mats, sleeping bags–all the things that needed a generic place to stage when we needed to move them from someplace else. Now there is a path to the desk by the window with a statue of the Buddha, a long-suffering plant, some rocks from various places, and, on days with no ice fog, a view of the Alaska Range. I have a sabbatical semester starting today; my plan is to finish the chapters of a book of meditations n the horse, working title And the Horse, and to continue a practice I started last winter of setting a daily poetry challenge in hopes of completing a chapbook. I will post drafts of the horse book as I complete chapters and will post poetry challenges for myself and any readers who want to take them up.

As for Mattie’s Pillow, I am growing into the blogging process. All two of my readers have given me good feedback so far, and the look and content of this blog may change in the next few days. For now, while I am still mostly inside by the fire, gazing out at Mattie and Sam themselves, so handsome in their blankets and frosty manes, I will be exploring how this virtual space can parallel the one I have imagined and how I can begin to make connections between people I care about and others who care about the things I do.

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2 Responses to “View from Mattie’s Pillow”

  1. novelique Says:

    I really enjoyed this post and I’m so glad you wrote on my blog yesterday so that I could come and find you. This post reminds me of my mother’s house – which is in deep country, where I learned how to stoke a wood-burning stove at 19. Of course, as cold as it is where my mother is, it is not nearly as dark or cold as it is where you are.

  2. mattiespillow Says:

    Thanks, Novleique! You are my first response. Good luck on your play.

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