October 7, 2001


The shack was no bigger than a shed and had no windows. Its floor was slanted, the slant following the slant of the hill, so that the only workable prone position was “feet first,” with my feet pressed against the downhill wall. At first I tried using my jacket as a pillow, but I was soon too cold to sleep, so I put my jacket back on and tried sleeping without a pillow. Unfortunately this made my neck hurt, so I returned to using the jacket as a pillow. I slept a short time like that before waking from the cold. The rest of the night I wore the jacket and did not sleep.

I can’t remember where this was. I had been dropped off in the middle of the night at a truck stop and had wandered down a back country road to find shelter.

The shack was a few miles down the road, on a hillside to my right. I remember the moment I saw it, a vague shape silhouetted against a starless sky.