smooth terrain

11 August 2015 – Things that come to mind.

Since G was here been seeing an image of a gravel road in the country. The more I see it the more concrete the image becomes. A line scored between endless fields of tall corn. Narrow and weedmown ditches shoulder the road. On one side of the road grey utility poles hold up a shallow wave of cables undulating into the distance. It’s a bright summer morning. Mellow blue sky, high white clouds that bear a strange resemblance to a smooth and eroded expanse of rocky terrain.

A daydream of sorts? Maybe. But. How to put this….

Two summers back, about this time of year, I came across a job posting that got my attention. I wasn’t actively seeking a new job or even unhappy with my situation. But the possibility of doing what I do in a different place had some attraction and set me to imagining what it might be like.

Dad routinely buys lottery tickets on Tuesdays and Fridays. I chuckle at his dedication. He invariably repeats the common mantra, ‘Can’t win if don’t play.’ And has done for as long as I can remember.

While I don’t play the lotteries, I do tend to follow the logic of the mantra. In keeping with visioning exercises, when I find myself daydreaming about something I can actually do something about I will more often than not make the effort to do it—if for no other reason than to get it off my mind and re-inhabit my shoes, wherever they are.

So I cobbled together a c.v., sent it off, and got on with things.

A couple months later I sold most of what I could. Traded-in my car for a minivan. And drove across the country. To start a new job in a new city.

Structured impulsivity and composed reality. A personal guidance system. Driven by occasion to wonder. And daydream.

This scene of the gravel road though. How it’s coming to me, how it plays. Has an altogether different feel. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with me. I see it but am not in it. It’s in my head but I don’t consciously visualize it. I don’t sit with the intention of seeing the scene. It just appears. Like the long wide shot at the beginning of a movie. A movie I know nothing about. But keep watching (or, in this case, coming back to) to see what, if anything, will happen.

Cut to me in the shower this morning. Eyes closed, rinsing lathered hair.

Along the gravel road comes a stirred up fuss of dust. I watch it for a time. The billowing plume. Focus in on it. See the van at its head. A minivan. The color of ripe red grapes. It slows. Pulls to a sharp stop on the shoulder. Becomes engulfed in dust. Zoom in closer. Driverside shot of minivan. After the dust settles the front door opens. A woman steps out. She’s wearing sunglasses. And flipflops and mid-thigh khaki shorts and an open longsleeve button-up over a low-slung undershirt. Her hair’s in a messy ponytail. She pulls the sunglasses halfway down her nose. Squints against the brightness. She’s clearly agitated. Or confused. She pushes the sunglasses back to covering her eyes. Steps to the middle of the road. Hands to hips she looks up and down the road. Corn for as far as the eye can see. ‘This isn’t right,’ she says, bringing a hand to her mouth, tapping upper lip with index finger.

And then there was no more hot water.

Daydream? Or something else? G giddily figures I’m in the throes of making fiction. I wonder.


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