Thursday, December 02, 2010

so thanksgiving came and went, and i had turkey several times, which i have no problem with, as it's always delicious and gives me deep dreams. went up to peoria, and these roads are some of the back roads of illinois, because it's so rare that people are not going to chicago, that they don't even make interstates for you sometimes, and you end up on some of these two-lanes, like 4 through lebanon, for example. up near benld and mount olive i look out at the wooded farm country; there's a mother jones monument there that i've always wanted to see, and there are some ancestors of mine who settled in this farm country and i've always been a bit curious about it. up near use illinois is another wild kind of farm country; this area has a wind farm now, and a river snakes through wooded edges of fields there. but that's right before you get to peoria itself, and that's a kind of interesting city, with a tight little downtown right by a wide illinois river. here we find the relatives, and in particular one granddaughter who we could say was "playing in peoria"....but, i write this to indulge in my freedom to get out of town, and into my own head, and don't want to bore you, or threaten my poor relatives, by going too much into their lives.

so what happened to me, and why have i posted so little? well, i tried to write another novel, but got barely two chapters into it (my average) when, once again, i realized i had no plan, and more or less gave it up. that being november and all, i guess i could say i was inspired by the nanomowrimo signs (or whatever) but i didn't really hook into their program or try to get the support i would need to really pull it together. so, another one fizzled. na-no-no-mo-writ-no-mo, i guess, unless i have a plan, and know what i'm going to do, and i'm too busy anyway.

i've been trying to pull together a calendar- got 12 good pictures, and the days & months in order, but haven't found time to take it down to the printer and roll it off the presses. this would have to be a business day, and i've been teaching 20 hrs, and some things are going by the wayside. i was supposed to do some shopping too, but haven't got inspired to do that, instead, worked on compiling a book of stories, pile of leaves, and stories of a rake, which might be done soon, or might not. times are too busy. i have a feeling, i'll cut my losses again, and end up w/nothing. one problem is that we'll go to california later. a full report will be forthcoming; it could be way more eventful than peoria.

there is something restful, however, in being out on the illinois road system, in november, the oranges and browns, the yellow-breasted hawks, the football traffic. in springfield there was an enormous accident; it delayed us forty-five minutes north of town there, and i was worried because my son was out there somewhere, in his own car, which is in slightly worse shape than ours. back in the old days i'd hitchhike in november, and even december and january, through the north country, and be more or less fearless; now, i'm shriveled up in paranoia about the simplest trip, and find worrying about the condition of his tires much more productive, say, than worrying about my own retirement, or worrying about whether it's ok to bring up a daughter in the world in its present state. i say productive, not because all this worrying produces anything, but, sitting there, stuck in this enormous traffic jam, this s-u-v next to us was full of girls who simply put the radio on high and started dancing and pumping their fists out the window. i kind of enjoyed it and wondered why we were so tensed up in worry; traffic was, after all, not moving an inch. in springfield you have these signs: illinois military museum; lincoln presidential library, etc. etc. but mostly we just had lots of traffic; people were all coming home from the thanksgiving weekend; this was, after all, on sunday. back in the old days, iowa would be wracked by blizzards on thanksgiving wednesday & thanksgiving sunday, & i'd be out on the roads trying to visit my daughter, and more than once, stranded by a blizzard or sent careening off an icy road in a rickety car, one tire from disaster. i should have faith, visualize the destination, know that my seat belt is not twisted, and let the fast people pass me. in the license plate watch, west virginia and south dakota came right away, but the rest of them were very normal, and there were thousands of illinois; most of the rest didn't get out of the immediate region. i was unable to see a few of them. they kind of flew right by, being unclear.

the youngest boy is now into the alphabet game, though he can't read the signs, so he can't always tell where he saw any given X or Q....we have to take his word for it that he actually saw one. but i'm glad he's moving up there, because i'm worried about my own ability to read such things as license plates, and i know he'll be out there hauling in the J's and V's...quick, before the granddaughter starts in on the same racket. some of this farm country, good letters get very scarce, though you can usually rely on "exit" on the bigger roads, and an occasional "antique" store. the sun sets in the west with a major splash, as though, the sunday after thanksgiving, everyone is on the road, and the pollution hangs, hoping to catch a ride under the arch, out into the clear skies. i sit behind the wheel; i would prefer the western side of the mississippi, where the roads stretch out into the open skies, but illinois is my chosen home, and it's ok for now too. at the nashville (il) mcdonalds we run into my son, who got caught in the same traffic jam, and also another family we know, with daughters who have a thing for the youngest son. the familiarity is comforting; i relax knowing he's virtually made it. the wind turbines up in use spin around lazily harnessing the november wind; i come back to teach wind (santa ana, chinook, mistral, etc.) which is somewhat unfamiliar, but will at least allow us to explore such things as tornadoes, and derechos, and such things that happen through this area every once in a while. the moon is bright, and the countryside is stunningly beautiful, day or night; i'm now home, and take pleasure in driving the usual roads, where driving, now, is about the most restful thing i do. driving, and raking, and doing dishes and laundry- what else is there? the christmas lights appear all over town; they actually started, i suppose, before thanksgiving already arrived. the smell of turkey lingers. i missed a lot of football.

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