i'm a calendar-maker; this year is maybe my twelfth; i've been doing it for a while, so i'm getting used to cutting tiny little "independence day" slivers of paper and taping them onto a rectangle that represents july fourth. i can tell you that may is a calendar-maker's dilemma since it has days in six different weeks; that's as rare as a blue moon or rarer. the usual decisions- how to represent jewish holidays that actually start the night before- whether or not to eliminate ones that very few people actually celebrate, or ones, like groundhog day, that nobody cares about...what is a person to do? this year i added chinese new year & ramadan- but i ditched ash wednesday. i went back to the old template with slightly funky, curved letters & put dragons & lions in the picture- it's of castle park.
got out of town, and up to peoria, and from there to davenport iowa, where i saw my daughter who is pregnant and got to tell her that everything would be ok, even though everything she hears from relatives, and particularly her mom, is that it might not. it will. she's healthy and together & is looking good with that baby. iowa was its usual self and it was a beautiful day, but i hardly noticed. davenport is an area with excellent radio- so i drove out among the wide flat farmland, over which the sun was rising at one point, and blasted different kinds of music, even country.
the road up from carbondale is relatively predictable- through the villes, up through lebanon into madison county, up past benld and the mother jones memorial, and into springfield. in springfield familiar landmarks flew by- toronto road, stevenson
drive, sangamon county line- while we decided, over a phone, to save our cat's life if only just for a few days. he's an old cat, sick, but he's been around a while, and what can you do. he's hanging onto his life, i guess; i was driving, and didn't want to be responsible for such a decision anyway.
up near use, my favorite part of the trip, it gets really empty and there isn't much traffic. wide white windmills with three blades, evenly spaced, dot the landscape. indian creek and the mackinaw river pass through and cause some hills, and also some areas that they can't farm, so they let it go and it looks quite beautiful. trees grow over the rivers and the bottomlands spread out from the highway. at some point a little mole runs across the road, right in front of me- it's probably hunting season for his predators, too- he's in a hurry, but who knows where he'll hide if he gets to the other side.
in peoria itself we have the dinner- and it's fantastic- and, we're in a kind of a city, which is unusual for us, being from a small town and all. an interstate, a downtown, a hockey team, and lots of radio, this is unusual. it's still illinois, but it's unusual.
back home, the rain has started; it's cold, and bleak, and now, finally, it's winter; the days are short, and i've got to have decent shoes. it's back to work tomorrow; it's almost over, almost break time, but there's still one last push, a couple of weeks to go. everyone's tired; they needed the turkey week, but it was only a taste of the big one, and now it's back to the grind for a little while. i'm going to try to put the calendars together, and move onto the bigger stuff, the books, the short stories, maybe even just passing through, which is entirely on this blog if you look for it; i like how blogs kind of hide stuff, and you have to know the dates, or have some other way, to really find it. hidden in plain sight. it suits my style.
which reminds me: i know i don't make it easy for readers. i write, mostly so that in dry times, like now, i keep writing. so that, when it comes time to write a story or novel, i won't be stuck. i haven't done much to make it easy for the readers. for that i apologize. i might reform myself, but maybe not right away.
right in the middle of moline illinois- right before crossing another big bridge, there were a few deer. they do that thing where a couple of them cross and a couple more are scared and know it's getting increasingly dangerous, yet they want to be with their friends who just bolted and finally they bolt too and you might hit them if you're going too fast or thinking they would use any kind of reason to cross an interstate. but this was right in the middle of town, really. at the bridge the whole wide river stretches out below, the sun making it a stunning blue; i like this valley, this river, being on the edge here, between east and west, between iowa and illinois. there are some islands out there on the river; they really don't have much on them, except some sand, and a few trees; i've always thought, maybe someone ought to just go out there and claim one, and sit there as long as they can. i'm sure it's been done. but i'm already living kind of on the edge, kind of in both, kind of one foot in one state, the other in the other. the way i write, you probably figure, i'm all over the road, i'm a dui, or an omvui, whatever. no, i'm quite sober. my mind wanders a little; but, i'm here; i'm at the wheel, i'm on a two-lane, sometimes letting the left wheel glide over the rim of the center. when the light of the oncoming cars blind you, keep your eye on the yellow line, down and to your left; watch out for deer; don't let screaming kids distract you. the windmills slice the air, ever so gently, but winter's coming. soon, they'll have something to turn for. their white ghostiness towers over a brown, muddy prairie, trying to dry out enough so that the harvesters can get in there and haul in the last of the corn. some old barns, the pretty kind, with the nice lines, have still made it. back in the old days, i'd come up here, and it would be blizzard, even on thanksgiving, i couldn't see a thing. now, it's just cold; i haven't forgotten how to drive on ice, if i have to, but i won't, if i can avoid it; i'm not looking for trouble. i'm just passing through.