Thursday, August 17, 2006

several weeks without e-mail, dsl, ability to log on from home...has left me out of touch with the blog-world and grateful not to get pinged (or whatever)...which would require me to reveal what is in my closet...not tellin'...or, actually, i'd have to admit that it's changing a lot.

the move required many trips in a '68 ford truck, windows open, in the blazing heat, past university farms, and brought fond memories of my grandfather, who thought heaven was a farm show on a hot august day, talking hybrid seeds, fertilizer and automatic feeders with iowa farmers. when it smelled like farms do, he'd point out that that was the smell of growth and nutrients. this, while driving past fields of high corn with hybrid signs in front. growing up in pittsburgh pa my dad would say that the foul smell of the then-busy steel mills was the smell of progress. on my own, living in iowa, i lived downwind of cedar rapids, way out in the country, and had to drive in the middle of the night, all one winter, with the smell of corn being cooked down into corn sweetener my only companion. but that smell was good and rich. the smell of life going on.

desoto lowland turtle nowhere to be seen, it was so hot, it even made the dump lady suspicious. finally cleaned out the old house and sold it. moved from west park lane on the south side to south lark lane on the west side. our new digs are much more to my wife's liking, and of course the kids are almost immediately adjusted, climbing up the furniture, reaching for the doorknobs, finding the pathways. i'm still trying to catch up on my sleep...

took a short family vacation to paducah kentucky, which in our family we call paducah paducah. the high point there was the the quilt museum, which showed off the fact that a number of american visionaries have been busy realizing various visions with cloth...a wonderful place. kind of like the the museum of the american visionary in baltimore which i also highly recommend. sometimes it's good to step out of your ordinary life and see things a different way...

in other ways paducah was less of a vacation than we'd wanted (were planning to go to hot springs) but good enough in that it's difficult traveling with young ones, older ones, all kinds of ones, and a '68 truck on top of it since we don't all fit in a car. kentucky is at least another world, another accent, another wal-mart. a blinding storm on the o-river-bridge, couldn't tell the sky from the gray murky water, a visit to dolly's in vienna (not on web), paducah street fair, and the high point of that, believe it or not, was another elvis kind of guy, had a good voice, blow-dried hair, drinking problem, was a kind of sincere elvis imitator. but the heck of it was, he was good.

then a trip out to take justin to college in lawrence. this trip traversed the state of missouri, right through columbia, around kansas city, where it flattens out a bit and sneaks into lawrence, a pretty town with a pretty campus. and home on the same night, a few more bugs on the windshield, but safe and sound. kansas is dry and sunny, cooler than here, and it's closer to a city, and that city is kansas city, which in my book is nicer than the lou. he says the dorm life is very social, you can get lost in it, and i warned him that i knew many people who have done just that, and i think that in some strange way, all of us college teachers have, basically, still, just decided to hang around and enjoy that atmosphere of academic inquiry, youth and optimism, pursuit of truth, pursuit of whatever, savoring that lost feeling of youth, a little too long, even to the point of wondering if there is another reality. i mean, i'm getting paid for it and all, but sometimes i wish i were in an environment where everyone was not between eighteen and twenty-two. like maybe paducah?

enough for now..i'll try to catch up, see what's on the web, contribute something to the picture. when one is actually out there, i guess one does not need the web so much...and even has trouble getting at it...and life is full of the fragrances of the region...but now, at home, i look to my friends to satisfy my traveling spirit. will wash the bugs of missouri off the windshield, get the bicycle ride through the west side down to a science (it's slightly longer, more gentle hills, some interesting variant routes)- and start a new year, this one #13...

not that i'm down on it, or even regretful. life has been good to me. the job is totally different than it was a year or so ago, carbondale is still good to me. a hometown without mountains, without a river, without the sea, without a capital building. only a train, a midnight train, the c=n from canada, the city of new orleans, a call in the night. it's a one-horse town, but at least that horse is sustaining me, and i lay out this prayer: that my children, carrying forward whatever i have left unsaid, are yet and still carrying forward not anger and frustration, but tracks on the prairie- a mark on the world, a small patch that's better now than it was before. may the stars keep shining on it, and bring the spirits home, at least once in a while, maybe thanksgiving.


Anonymous bruce said...

What a great blog entry. I like catching up on family news this way. You're almost as good as DrPistachio.

So UKansas is starting already? If they're going to start so soon I hope they finish soon.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

Glad you're back Tom! Nice to hear about your vacation and that you survived the move in that heat!

I make quilts from time to time. I sure would like to visit Paducah someday.

Got any photos of the new house?

1:20 PM  

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