"You like that sort of thing," she said, meaning editing and linear thinking. First this, then that.
And it's true that I do. I think I always have. I made crayon marks on graph paper before I could write; tongue working lips, I tried again and again to stay in the lines the same way I did in my coloring books. Later, when I thought I wanted to become an architect, I lined out spaces where I or another might live, and still later I praticed perspectival and orthographic drawing in a scene design class, though my love of clean lines inhibited the spirit of design. There was no free invention.
Today, before that conversation, I walked the line of trail rimming Lake Cheston, in places straight, in others sinewy; in places packed hard despite snow, in others muddied and tracked by others -- human, canine, avian, corvine. And I saw lines everywhere: in bark and grasses at lake's edge, in sled marks on pine straw, in the thin thread of vapor trail spreading out like a fading memory.
All these lines and all signifiying . . . what? Someone always says to would-be artists, "There are no straight lines in nature." Yes, there are no straight lines in living -- even from birth to death, the lifeline on which we all hang; there's so much life in between and it takes many surprising turns, often changing direction from one line to another, disappearing over a yet undiscovered horizon.
In that same conversation, she said, "You've only lived here three years," but it's been ten and then some. Until I knew her, though, I didn't figure in her line of vision.
Until I started walking every day, many things didn't figure in my line of vision either, and no matter how many times, I follow the same general line, something new always crosses my path.
It's those intersections that align my days.