Monday, November 09, 2009

it's after you come back from far away that a small town can feel the most cloying, the dirty or run-down places just incredibly oppressive, not that you can't clean them up, only that they seem to have been there forever, and have every intention of going nowhere except back into the nearby earth. i speak even for the room that i type in, with its junk on the floor, cartoon movies, dog crates, windows stuck shut. the weather actually has been beautiful, warm, fall's stunning colors fading into browns and golds; i guess you could call it indian summer, but whatever you call it, it would be good to be outside in it, rather than taking care of a young lad with the flu. we thought the flu had passed us by, almost thought it anyway, but he got hit with it yesterday, and here i am, unexpected break to blog.

i tend to be thinking in terms of life and death lately- partly due to an incident at work, and in relation to people i know, who i hope can stay on a well-lit path toward hope and good futures. but with the leaves crinkling underfoot, and the birds, drunk on the berries in the tree in our front yard, crashing into our front window, one doesn't have to go far to be reminded. we're always one click away from a 404 message, you could say, and i'm trying to keep all the gardens blooming and facing the sun, but i have a garden or two more than i can handle, and sometimes have to concentrate on the ones closest to me. also, i have to be careful what exactly i say, as it infringes on all kinds of privacy to get any too personal, so i'll tell the story of the applyPage. siuc somehow changed the applyPage link to applypage, thus rendering thousands of applyPage links invalid, leaving them pointing to a 404. and not only that, they didn't see the irony- that they'd told us, forced us, to put these monstrous templates on our pages to begin with, years ago. thus it was the people, like us, who had obeyed them and put all pages onto these marroon templates, who are now telling customers to "apply now" and sending them off into 404s. my complaint about the matter has landed on deaf ears; it's as if there's nothing for it, but to go back and dig into 3-400 templates and change the code. but, if i'm going to do that, why not point it to wherever i'd like it to point? like to a panorama of good sights in the carbondale area.

that would also be ironic, as i'd run out, before i got halfway down the template, though at least i'd have the gratification of being sure the links would work for a while. the usual route to work, a set of west-side peaceful roads with boring, boxy ranches along it, gets too boring, so we take a road that borders the wild lands, where you can actually go a little faster, it being a country road and all. people fly along here, but often hit deer, which come right up against the edge of town, all hours of the day, to graze on lawn grass. i try not to use my high-beams, but nevertheless see deer on both sides; they're crowding me. at the quaker meeting the little children run to the window when the train comes; our meetinghouse is old, ready to be torn down, falling apart at the seams, but the train, big, powerful and colorful, comes up right close to its big picture windows. i haven't taught them much religion, but i have taught them this: that the names on the cars, canadien, santa fe, illinois central, are something to read, along with the graffiti. richest man in the world, wb, plunked down billions the other day on the burlington northern, an 'all-in gamble on the american economy;' the burlington santa-fe is by far the best; and though our meetinghouse sinks slowly into its ancient creek-bed mulch heap, the train in all its glory flies above it on the hard gravel. later, the kids are at the japanese garden, throwing bright red berries into the pond at the goldfish, as if the goldfish would like them. a thin film of oil stretches across the surface; this is to prevent mosquitoes from hatching, supposedly. the berries cut the oil, but the goldfish ignore them. they remind me of the berries in the tree by our house, where the birds are all a-chatter, and occasionally fly into our own front picture-window. the cats stare out, at that window, and one time, a cat times a jump right in time with a bird, and both end up, on either side of the glass, smashed up against it, frustrated. the cat would have the bird in her mouth, if it weren't for that window. the bird may or may not learn his lesson, or even know how close he was to certain death.

the place is actually full of life, in its own way, so the question really is why i seem to see the crackly leaves of death, the 404s, in everything. time to clean out the cobwebs, and take out the old pumpkin, which is now full of thousands of fruit flies. time to keep the boy away from the social places, where he struggles, day after day, to behave, follow directions of the grownups, and go face-to-face with children from all over town. like the deer, or the fruit flies, the flu lives out there, on the edges, opportunistic, gravitating naturally to the children of this world. as for me, i'm just resting; i'll take care of this little guy, who seems to be ok, and i'll take care of myself, first; i'm exhausted, yes, dead-tired, one could say, due to the events of the last month, but, it's my own personal holiday season, i've decided. the most beautiful time of year, by far. the only holidays i really resonate with are all-saints and bonfire day; both are becoming personal to me, and i don't care if the rest of the world doesn't know from halloween. i don't know about sadie hawkins, guy fawkes or veterans; this seems to be more of an inner thing. i look out, see the trees fading into brown, dying for a few months, and yet the earth, the grasses, the berries tell me, it'll all be back soon enough. life can win this one, and will prevail; i'm sure of it; on the highway, in the middle of the night, the deer graze right up against the road, but don't budge if i leave my high-beams off. i'm ready for them, if they do; i don't want deer on my bumper. but i'm also not in so much of a hurry; if i have to slow down a little, take in the warm smell of fallen trees sinking into the wetlands, i will; it's all part of the cycle of life, and it'll all look like an open field, when the sun comes up.

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