Friday, September 19, 2008

a rain came through, and that's good because things were looking dry and crinkly as all the uncleaned and now dead brush continue to line the streets waiting for the city or whoever to haul it off. it makes good wood chips, and also firewood for the winter, for those who want to come into town to get it; all week, i rode corey in back of me, in a carriage behind the bicycle, past these huge piles of brush and fallen trees.

it's a bit of a traffic problem, sometimes, on busy roads, as i cross hauling a little guy, but i'm really careful, make full stops at stop signs, and go by the book. "i am vehicle" is my mantra, ok, i'm thinking to myself, you cars & trucks want to go around me, it's your problem, you make sure you have room. i'm enjoying it, actually, and so is corey, i think, though after it's over he's kind of jammed in there like the bumps have lodged him and made him stuck. we've had pretty good weather, right up until tonight, and rode every morning at least; we sometimes see other people hauling kids, going the other way or even passing us up.

the sixteen-year-old wanted to go to a football game tonight, so i asked him who we were playing, on the way down to the high school, and it turns out it's centralia. now i have a thing for centralia; it's a town about 60 miles up the road, that i don't know too well, a stop on the train, a town that has faded maybe, a little, with the mines closing, but i don't really know. when i called my song "long way to centralia" (only song i ever got produced) i was thinking about the train, how once you jump on you can't jump off, but also, how "long way to centralia" was a metaphor for "out there" or "way out beyond the pale of normal people's everyday thoughts" which is where i seem to spend a bit of my mental traveling time. so we get to the high school, tonight, and i pull into the high school drive, and lots of people are standing around, including football boosters from centralia itself, and they stand out because their shirts are bright red and say "orphans" on them. how the centralia team came to be known as the orphans, i have no idea, that's surely another story, another post, but when i went to look it up much later i encountered this story about a fire that's been burning under centralia pennsylvania for forty-five years. but at the time, i'm thinking, it would be nice to just talk to someone from centralia illinois, since it's become a topic at my performances when i have to explain that the song is about jumping on trains, or not, as opposed to being about this particular town. so i said to this guy, welcome to carbondale, and he says hello, glad, i think, that the locals welcome him. and he says the game is delayed by lightning and possible weather, and i tell him that, at this very place, a kid was killed by lightning a while back, and he remembers that a little, i'm sure it was in the news. my son, meanwhile, has jumped out of the van, being at the age where just being seen with a parent is kind of embarassing, though, he's home about an hour later, after the game is cancelled due to rain. and, putting the little guys to bed, i'm reminded of the morning, because the little one likes to carry a tinker-toy sword, more like an orthodox cross, and brandish it in the air, which, for some reason, he did this morning as i pedalled down sunset boulevard (actually sunset rd., maybe), and he's in the carriage, behind the bike, going "i am the power," a kind of anthem from a he-man movie he's watched, maybe two dozen times in the last week. out-a the way, cars. he sings this song, and morning rush-hour traffic moves right out of the way. the little branches of brush that have been littering the bike-path, go crunch under the tires, it's not even necessary to try to go around them.

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