May 6, 2018

Dear Jackie,

I don’t know when you’ll get this because the ranger station can be slow, but I’m writing like I said I would. It feels so antiquated but also like we’re in a Brontë novel. I love how the paper curls when I fill it with handwriting.

The job is everything and nothing like I imagined. The pine smells good. I sleep well, listening to the wind rustle the needles. The cabin at the top of the tower has a desk and a squeaky twin bed. Sometimes the lock doesn’t catch, and the door blows open.

I’m more bored than I’d like to admit. Drawing gives me short windows of immersion, but then my hand cramps, and I begin to wish I had downloaded more podcasts. I can’t even bring myself to start the Russian lessons. I spend so much time staring into space, doing nothing. It goes to show that when you finally have the time it can’t pass fast enough. I’ve been thinking about Paul a lot. I thought I’d come up with some answers on that. He pretended he wasn’t angry, but I think he was. I feel bad about it, but I just couldn’t keep doing it. I tried, but it’s like there’s this one thin metaphorical membrane in me, and I can’t let it break.

Unrelated, but there’s a bear that keeps hanging out around the watchtower. I’m 90 percent sure it’s a juvenile female, so I’ve named her Bessie Jo. Maybe I’ll draw a picture of her wearing an apron making muffins, something kitschy for your mom. I want to hear all about the salamanders when you get back from fieldwork.

Your friend,


May 9, 2018

Dear Jackie,

People on couch
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