Tuesday, March 03, 2009

got cold & stayed cold, right through the end of feb. & into march, now it's time to spring forward already, and it's still cold. due to open up any day now, but you wouldn't know it from hanging around outside, where you still need a jacket and have to keep moving if you don't want to blow into your fingers or put them in your pocket. why am i complaining? big piles of snow all over the east coast, various parts of the world socked in, and we're just having the usual, a little nippy chill before we plant the garden & everything turns a soft bud-colored purple. i'm trying to shift gears, from a more than full-time teaching load, finish the grades, figure out what's online, and get ready for a conference in denver, which should be good; i like denver, haven't been out there in a few years though. it's partly a plains town, steak & stockyards, then on the other side a spectacular ski-run kinda place, with avalanches & mountain pines or maybe aspens if you go out there at the right time. i'm thinking, it might be good to get away from these same five or six streets that i'm on every day, where any new for-sale sign is huge news, but after it sits there six or seven months, you kind of get a little too used to it. out in colorado, people were hitchhiking on the wrong side of the road, and it looked strange to me, so i asked someone, and they said the penalty was so steep for hitchhiking on the right side of the road, so everyone just walks over to the wrong side and hopes that works. it was enough to make me jump trains for a couple a hundred miles, but trains were a bit scarce where i was, in pueblo or something, and i ended up spending a little too much time in the scrubby weeds by some trainyard waiting. problem was, i didn't have much for patience back then; i was used to at least seeing cars, even if they were rejecting me. i read license plates for sport.

another time my sister was actually performing there, in downtown, and i wish i could remember a little more of that particular visit, because it's the same downtown where i'll be staying, but i actually remember very little of it. it seems to me we actually saw her perform there, but my memory is vague; it certainly wasn't as spectacular as the time in boca where we ended up on jupiter beach in the middle of the night. the thing i remember about denver is the long drive out there from the midwest, the huge state of nebraska with a tiny motel on a huge plain, and a road that seemed to go on for quite a ways. i kind of liked that road, in a lot of ways, was more comfortable there than in the downtown area of larimer square, colorado this, colorado that. i remembered old stories of iowans driving out to colorado in big old american cars and filling the trunks with fresh coors & ice for the long trip back; the coors was very fresh back then, so they were greeted back in iowa with great fanfare, as if people were now liberated from the usual blue-ribbon. this was all part of legend, like the stories of the great nor'easters, you never knew what to believe, but it all seemed vaguely plausible, to pack up & drive two huge gargantuan states & back, all for a trunk a' beer & a story, or at least one endless nebraska, at least half of iowa itself, and the plains part of colorado which goes on forever even when squinting you think you can see the big rocks off on the horizon. it's uphill all the way, which is especially obvious when you're on a bicycle, they say, though the few times i did it i was either driving, or hitchhiking and worrying about the notorious ogalalla turnoff where you might get stuck, trying to dip down to denver when all the rest of the traffic is shooting through wyoming in the middle of the night, trying to get out to the coast.

they say it's all much bigger out there now, there are a lot more people, more traffic, more cities, & i'm not surprised; i feel like the cowboys in lonesome dove when i tell my boys, it just isn't what it used to be, probably. but i guess i'll see for myself. see it from a plane, that is; i'm probably going to dip right over that wide plain, down into the new stapleton, and not see much of the high alpine aspen-covered hills. it's the way it goes.

back in this small wretched town, the economic squeeze puts one more person out of luck every few minutes, leaving me to feel: what am i to tell my boys, going off into a world like this? where is there opportunity- is the computer really bringing down the house, or just all the major newspapers? and then, if the computer is so great, where are the jobs on the computer? if it's true that we could now live just about anywhere, make a living on the computer, etc., then all these cheap rural counties with the beautiful land oughta be filling up any day now, with people fleeing the high-rent districts and coming out to breathe in the fresh air and make a living at their own pace. and in fact, maybe i oughta try it. i'd like to copy a few reams of stories first though, maybe a book or two. write that novel. get my fiddle a little warmed up. after all, break is coming, and, in a little bit, i'll be off to the mountains, top o' the world...

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