Monday, June 05, 2006

The Universe Conspires

Dr. Leo said the magic words and didn't even know it.

I took a long walk (3.5 miles) out on Union Road tonight, where vehicles are numerous but foot traffic on the brand new sidewalk- which is eight feet wide- is scarce. The sun was reclining while I walked, causing the shadows of tall grass along the sidewalk to stretch like a bar code across the white cement; pebbles cast spearheads behind them like tiny monoliths. A truck drove over my own long blue shadow as it passed me on the street and I stepped in an inky pool of shade cast by a giant, sluggish beetle. A killdeer tried her best to lead me away from a nest I wasn't seeking, flapping low as if injured and jeering loudly, drowning the prettier sound of meadowlarks on the golf course on the hill. I noticed broken pieces of glass and crockery and thought about mosaics.

I passed the Machine Shop, looking somewhat lonely after Saturday's elaborate festivities* but still majestic in the glowing evening, still my favorite structure anywhere. I passed the last standing roundhouse on the Union Pacific line, derelict and daunting, but full of promise now that others in this community share Jim's vision for the railyards. I passed Union Tank (smelling hot metal) and the chemical plant and the hulking new Everett Graphics building, which would hold roughly four of my plant.

I passed some of the rundown apartment complexes on the northwest side of town and was glad to climb Wasatch and turn onto Harrison, because those short blocks felt unfriendly and unclean even as little girls jumped rope in the driveways. I wanted to take them away with me.

Back in my neighborhood ancient lilacs in their signature color, plum and ivory are spilling over fences and into the streets in stifling globs of cloying perfume. Cottonwoods are showering a diaphanous allergenic haze in yards and avenues, and regiments of hollyhocks are lining up against the fences, stalks thickening and straining upward. The very soil under our town seems to be rushing this reluctant spring into summer.

I took Jalan Crossland and Jack Johnson with me on the iPod, and pondered lyrics while I walked. And the line that meant the most to me this rosy, breathless evening goes like so: "We've a short time to be here and long to be gone." Ain't that the truth, Jalan.

*For those who are dying to know, the original poster art auctioned for $3,100.00 to Joy Bell, who plans to hang it in her office if she wins the mayoral election this fall. Not a record breaker- my $3,900.00 still stands- but still something to be proud of.


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