Life as a travelogue

“Are you going out to the gardens today?” Out Hartstrait Road, from “Hart’s Trace” or even “Hard Straight,” nobody knew for sure.

Past Griffy Reservoir, a variation old Scot possessive form of “Griffith.”

We leased our plot from Homer and Virgil.

A thickening plot.

We could still see the water tower.

Moving in or out is a matter of setting sail. Here’s the crew, there’s the port. These are the white winds, the blue currents, the plum-toned storms.

Moving out or in is a matter of adjusting the focus and lighting as well.

Moving out or in is a matter of boxes and breakage.

Planting rows of beans, sweet corn, potatoes, and tomatoes. Everything we did openly suggested we planned on sticking around awhile.

So we became a landlocked sailor, each one a part of the whole. The scarecrow. A crew. Dancing in the breeze.

And then she appeared. Isadora. “Look, my overcoat’s still filled with city dirt. Needs cleaning.”

OK, Pinky’s Big Bundle also handled dry cleaning.

“That old Buick ‘27 is sturdy, solid, has plush fuzzy seats, sits high, has lots of headroom. It’s a masterpiece,” she said, stepping forth as Paderewski played Chopin etudes. 78 rpm. Scratch, scratch, scratch, all in rhythm.

These weren’t your everyday snapdragons or nasturtiums.

Homer was driving. He began to speak of Gossamer, the spider. The web.

How Wycliffe had connections. In this case, via the Kansas City Customs Office. A fugue by Geronimo Frescobaldi.

None of the local church organists could tackle it.

They’d stare at the score without asking. What is “field” in art? (Field of vision, for starters.) In this case, a landscape with larger-than-life figures. As well as the limitations, self-imposed and otherwise.

“Oh, my,” she said. “The reality never quite measures up to our expectations, even of a place.”

“This is a travelogue,” Wycliffe countered. “We age along the way.”

And then there was timeless.

I noted the fable, where everyone was the richest, wisest, poorest, oldest, whatever. Always. I looked around and saw everything here was average.

Excepting the present company.

Isadora was impatient. SOMEBODY NEEDS TO ACT!!!

She screamed. “Do something and take the consequences!” She began taking notes, naming the wildlife, trees, flowers, insects, and birds she found in an old Boy Scout Field Book.

Bosch, of course, had already taken to the field. His field notes were the sketches and studies themselves. And weird little slips of paper, like those Wycliffe was making.

“The Moose and VFW: two hots in a cot.” No names attached.

Bosch would paint them as huckleberries and onions.

And his field would become two panels:

Town: Heaven (drugs/sex), despite the veneer of religiosity.

Country: Scorched Earth.

Conjoined by a third panel, the syndrome of drunken bobbling to derivative country-western rockabilly.


To open the complete (free) novella, With a passing freight train of 119 cars and twin cabooses, click here.


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