The janitor had left and there was only the glow from the exit sign down the hall, save for the light of a reading lamp coming from an open door. Inside the man has a stack of ungraded papers on his desk, open books all around him. The notebook is almost full. He’s run the numbers nine times now, and each time they are the same. Snow falls outside on the Ithaca forests.

 

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The man gets up to make coffee. He walks down to the staff lounge, pours in his grounds, listens to the machine make steam. He can’t decide if he’s excited or terrified to tell people. When you make a claim like, “I may have found a solution to climate change,” people have a way of becoming skeptical.

 

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Journal, December 2014

Starting a fire in a damp forest is an education on rain. Old cedars seem to keep the limbs underneath the driest. I tried to find branches off the ground, because even an end in the soil wicks up moisture like a candle.

It seems I can never spend too much time on starting the fire. The branches need to be close enough to build on each other’s heat, but with enough space for oxygen to come in. I usually don’t start small enough, leaving smoke and no flames.

There is almost always a moment where the fire gains its own momentum. I can’t always understand what makes this moment happen, sometimes simply a stick in the right space, or the movement of a log, and then that sound, like wind opening a door. 

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