Thursday, September 08, 2011

somehow last night this gigantic cold came over me and settled in my head where i now seem to weigh 20 more pounds, all in the nose area, and have to carry around this sinus issue as i walk around in this beautiful fall clear weather. it reminds me actually of the old ragweed days when, on august 15 every year, my head would explode as the ragweed burst out in its pollen glory, and i would get this vicious cold which would return on october 15th when i'd finally shake it off and move into winter; the cold was the body's way of saying, ok, this is war, in we go with all our soldiers and the entire firepower of the autoimmune system.

labor day weekend started out hot and steamy, but we knew a rain was coming; unfortunately rain at this time of year is often a kind of teaser and clouds come over, but don't really share anything. sunday, the clouds came over, and actually sprinkled a kind of mist for a while, and then left, and then it was actually cooler; on monday, labor day, it was a lot cooler, and we went out to the lake and used the last three passes of a 20-swim lake pass so that, having finished the pass, we won. a clear, cool, sparkling day, beautiful lake, hardly another soul around, and three kids splashed and played the whole afternoon. the turtle was nowhere to be seen; he was onto the fall idea and was probably investigating mud holes at the bottom.

so stunningly it goes from the worst season to the best, and i'm aware that the heat is not quite over, but there's been a bit of the cool, clear air, the gently falling leaves, which as usual is accompanied by football which should be illegal. but what i wanted to say is that i do get my bicycle out into it, i huff and puff, up the long hill to work, sometimes with a flat tire (a slowly leaking tire) which actually gives me more exercise, but wears me out considerably, me being about to keel over and all. but, whereas it doesn't make any sense to have one's busiest time of year also at the most beautiful, one also can take some time, and deliberately see it, and watch the green stuff change its color and dry out and get ready to fall. one problem though, is that, in turning west, as i always must do to get home, one is hit with a sun that is so clear, sharp, dry, piercing that it could be deadly. and i often have to pull down the visor in the car, and the hat, and it's still not enough.

deep out in harding county south dakota is a patch of three hundred twenty acres that my grandfather and some other people split, shared and leased out in order to get natural gas income, which in fact i've inherited, come down through my father, and actually get a small check once or twice a year when the well is working. i'm talking about a hundred dollars a year, which comes in handy, string money and all, but actually i'm more interested in the land. i occasionally google harding county south dakota, get pictures of wild sunny fields of plains, slim butte rock formation, girls basketball team south dakota champions some year or other, or harding county courthouse, which is a small, modest kind of building as if the old stone structure was burned down back in the fifties or something, or maybe the seventies. anyway i become somewhat obsessed with this harding county, the wild prairies, out west of the indian reservations, where the wind is strong and sun beats down with a clear blue sky every day, almost, even in the summer and winter. and i wonder about life out there. what if i were to claim my eighty acres, step them out, find the best ravine and put a house in it? or hillside, if that's what people do. or riverbank, or shade tree. where does one put a house when one moves out there? i can only imagine.

then the other day i was calling parents i know to find a playmate for a six-year-old who is literally climbing walls and furniture in need of someone his age to talk to. two of his best buddies were sick and their mom stopped me in the hallway to tell me that she was sorry; they just couldn't come over. labor day was like that but, as you see from above, it all worked out in the end. what i meant to say was, that was it, that's probably when i got that cold; it comes through kids; it goes right up through parents, and then when parents talk about this endless driving about, going here and there, trying to take up where the school buses have let us down, it's an opportunity for the bugs to do their thing.

so life goes on here; i have a cold, but i'm in less trouble than some of my students, who are already having trouble waking up at eight a-m, or at all, in this gorgeous weather, and having more trouble actually reading, or knowing which side of the paper is the top. two missed the first part of the exam, another missed the whole thing, and at least one entered class not having a clue that it was even exam day. such is life on a college campus. oh to be young, and to pretend that everything is ok. as for me, i'm heading home as soon as possible; i'm not feeling well.


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