I had hauled myself and gear up there to read, among other things, James Ramsey Ullman’s The Day on Fire, a novel about Rimbaud that had made me want to be a writer when I was sixteen; I was hoping it would do it again. So I read, lost, every day sitting under a tree by my tent, while warblers swung in the leaves overhead and bristle worms trailed their inches over the twiggy dirt at my feet; and I read every night by candlelight, while barred owls called in the forest and pale moths massed round my head in the clearing, where my light made a ring.
Moths kept flying into the candle. They would hiss and recoil, lost
upside down in the shadows among my cooking pans. Or they would singe
their wings and fall, and their hot wings, as if melted, would stick to
the first thing they touched—a pan, a lid, a spoon—so that the snagged
moths could flutter only in tiny arcs, unable to struggle free. These I
could release by a quick flip with a stick; in the morning I would find
my cooking stuff gilded with torn flecks of moth wings, triangles of shiny dust here and there on the aluminum. So I
read, and boiled water, and replenished candles, and read on.