Drew T. Noll © 2024, all rights reserved

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Into the Woods

Separated by the Rocky Mountain range of craggy peaks, I was forced to reinvent myself by the sheer fact that I was physically cut-off from my past; I had to rely upon the foundation that had been set down by ancestors who once had moved west. I moved east and landed in Colorado, then perched onto the foundation of a suburban home built the year I was born. There, I began to search for work … and three years in I began again to paint. After stints splinted with real estate, museum work, and cabinet making, I carved into my suburban home a woodworking studio for days and a painting studio by night. Hence, after tucking my freshly bathed jammy-clad boys into bed with a story read between lines, pages skipped in anticipation, and then with a parting kiss to the lips of my love, I disappeared down below the earth into a basement brightened with paint to light up dreams of doorways invented to ascend.

I built there a tiny staircase with a curving rail up through a hole in the wall leading into an unseen garage, my woodworking studio by day and a place to dwell above ground by night. My suburban bi-level began to transform and to morph into its own, during daylight building cabinets, but at night spray-painting dreams to create jet-ways into the unknown. From table-saw to router, with some hand-tools in between, my mind would leap from paint in the basement to ornamentation above. Built, mortised, and finished upon the ground, with gold-leaf spread around and between, I spent my nights traveling between worlds, one above ground and the other seeking the light from far down below, but mostly unseen.

My boys grew while my worldview shrunk. But, I found that I was able to survive and almost thrive, and regardless of numbers and inherent fears, a business was formed—built in summer with winters too cold. So, built more I did, cloistering up, into the sky with a loft in my woodshop to look out from with a ladder leading below—I left a dimension and time, leaving behind the clutches of foundations built. I had parted from my past-life in California and built my dreams on my own. In suburban Colorado I built it alone, with no way to be heard, internet only a dream, I built from anew a worldview unshared and painstakingly unsung.

I coached soccer for my first-born, attending teacher-meetings for my second; I evolved and developed into a parent each day, LEGOs on the carpet, museums for learning, and teaching about bikes; playing Airsoft in the day, but by night descending—seeking, expecting to rise up again nightly via a staircase through the wall, I painted in oil-cosmic, and the nights slipped together into still. By catching a ride in the dark on the waves passing by, I remained to myself tangible, quite possibly alive, and my mind was able to soar. At least that is what I told myself. Really, I was completely lost in a foreign land with a foreign alibi. Who was I fooling, anyway? I left California because I was tired of holding on to something that had died many years before. I needed something new, something strange, something obtuse and prickling in order to live. The world I had known wasn’t ever real, wasn’t ever anything that could manifest a footing. It was a world overrun, that I lived in, with too many other things, hollow things, devolving. The cultural condition in California had mutated, for me, into something grand and bulbous, a sore toe tripping forward, so with almost no choice left, I left it.

My father grew up there, in the sunny state of California, his father too, all watching the place breed and spout, spreading a sort of cancer with a vintage tin watering can haphazardly onto dreams dreamt, and then packed away out of sight—into crates perfectly fitting produce produced in the dark. I left California with a brother from Laguna on one side and from Israel a brother-in-law on the other. We slept one more time 15 stories above ground in a rent-controlled apartment on the L.A. shore, above the ignoble chaos my mind depicted way down below. My head was made up and I had to leave, the place I loved from generations before had spit my soul out in order that my body should follow. And we went east…