Wednesday, January 12, 2011

the vacation has provided several new changes in routine, starting with not going in every day, just hanging around the house doing things that have needed done for months, years. using the stationary bike, looking out at this tiny patch of wild bush in the back yard; this patch is all that's left as a neighbor cut a way quite a bit of it, and another neighbor cut away more, and we ourselves put in a dog fence on some of it so the dogs themselves could cut away more. i defend that wild space, even though it's full of brambles, but now i just use the exercise bicycle and look at it idly.

then i do web restoration, and read a crime novel; i'm on my second. i go to a school winter program, that had been postponed from weather before the holidays. then i take a trip to the historical society office, on a back street in the county seat town about five miles up the road. this town, murphysboro, is a dying town but very pretty, a little down on its luck but still interesting, definitely a separate world from carbondale. i have questions for them. what about the town that used to be halfway between murphysboro and carbondale, on the electric train route? what do you know about brownsville, original county seat of jackson county? what do you know about sand ridge, home of an indian reservation?

actually took a friend there; he'd had a dream in which he was told, by his father, to go to the jackson county archives and find a certain woman who was wrongfully convicted, and clear her name. we found no such woman, but maybe we were looking in the wrong place. had trouble finding the town too, or even the electric train route. lots of stories about brownsville and sand ridge though. know why these places are unmarked? why brownsville, one of the oldest towns in illinois, birthplace of our most famous citizen, doesn't even have a plaque? 'cause people steal plaques, for the bronze. they recycle it. they get a couple of bucks for the bronze, maybe.

so this friend, he can picture this woman clearly, from the dream, but he really has no way of knowing how to go about looking. we scour the place. i'm glad to be there anyway; i'd never seen it. lots to read there, stories for the mill. in one, a woman tells her sons not to go hunting on all souls day. some of the animals & birds might be the souls; it's disrespectful, you just don't hunt on this day. her son steals the gun and off he goes anyway, but he gets caught on a fence he's climbing anyway, and shoots himself by accident. gun shot spooks the horses and they shoot off, dragging his little brother by a chain and killing him too. these ghosts haunt a house in kaskaskia for years & years. i look up from this story. the place is full of pamphlets, old maps, old books, accounts of who is buried where, etc. it's more of a library than a museum. somehow i think the answer is right under our noses, but we're not seeing it.

the winter program features kids, being cute, singing & acting out; it's priceless. it occurs to me, this is the beginning of the last round. this boy is in kindergarten; he'll go all the way up, presumably. i try not to miss these. they get out there and sing; i have to see it.

little by little, i lose weight, maybe a few pounds. it's hard and my knees almost buckle even at the thought. also the scale is tempermental; it might put a few back on, next time i look at it. i get hungry for eggs or vegemite toast afterwards but the vegemite gives me canker sores & reminds me of australia where there's massive flooding that i can hardly bear to think about. that's another thing about vacation; i often read the news, sometimes i open it up several times a day. i don't want to read about that poor family in arizona, or the war clouds in africa, or even tunisia or haiti, places i ordinarily care about. on facebook a whole crowd does all kinds of interesting things & i try to keep up, but have virtually nothing to say for myself. i go back to work friday, another term, another year.

the friend told me of another dream, this one of kids imploring him to find their dad. follow your dreams, i tell him. to follow that first one only cost us an afternoon, and it was good, and educational, for me at least anyway. don't know what would happen if he actually found the guy; maybe he'd be in for more than he could handle. but, if you're inclined to follow your dreams, as i am, and believe what somebody tells you in plain language right in front of your eyes, why would you not do anything? these things find us because we believe, or are at least open to the possibility. if your eyes are open, and you tell the truth, and you help folks, then, you're probably the only one left. i don't know, the ball's in his court. i encouraged him, but then, it wasn't me who dreamed. in the end, i'd like to know this history, and have stuff to write about, but, i dream much simpler stuff. and it's not pretty; usually i try to forget it.


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