Tuesday, April 23, 2013



Thursday, April 18, 2013

got out of the habit of walking, or even swimming, though i was still riding my bike up to the corner and risking my life at nineteenth and flint. finally i started walking again, the usual 5k, five times around the big wide green park, the dog wallow, and tonight it was cool and clear, maybe the last night like that. orion is gone. a hot sunny spell came through, good for my son who is visiting from chilly illinois, but then yesterday it was both 90 here and 45 in amarillo, about 70 miles up the road, and then pretty soon it was 45 here and then 30. reminded me of lake michigan, where a hard wind could roll in from the north and you'd lose 50 degrees in an hour, it was like that, only the wind was harder. the wind on the plains is like a wild horse, it shrieks and changes directions easily, and doesn't seem to be influenced by the water, because there isn't any.

i was mulling over that boston situation since it's kind of my alter-ego, that other leverett, whose ancestors are buried there downtown near leverett circle, who lives like a yuppie and enjoys the fine life of a regal, beautiful city. who's to say i'd be hanging around the finish line of a marathon, but it's all pretty random sometimes, you never know. other times it seems like it was meant to be, but how can you say that when nails are flying all over the place? i say 5k is as much as they'll get out of me and i'll avoid the crowds, thank you, and the new york subway too, my sister's moving out this way, to las cruces, and she might wilt in the sun like a saguaro but she'll at least stay out of those subway caves where you can't get out unless you can jump a turnstile, and you better not say anything bad about the yankees.

then there's west, texas which got me for a minute until i figured out it was west, texas, not west texas, because i live in west texas and you know something like that can't happen without everyone being related to everyone and tragedy compounding. to me it's ok as long as it wasn't deliberate, i'm getting kind of tired of these people just wiping everyone out why, because they're sick or something. if you make an honest mistake, say you drop a cigarette in the fertilizer vat, that's a different story.

with my son here, i'm hoping to play some red-dirt, get out the instruments, string the guitar and maybe fix the lap dulcimer, play the fiddle and his mandolin, maybe get some people out here. i don't know what it'll sound like altogether, if i could get some people out here. not even sure it could be done. but it's worth a try and we already have a quick gig coming up, an end-of-semester party for the writing lab. they like their music around here. there's no way we can go, and not bring these instruments. might be, they know slightly different songs like dixie soldier, and they play them faster. aside from that, it's nothing i can't handle.

as for the corner, saw two wrecks up there in two days, right next to each other, but that was after going a few months without seeing any. so you never know, you can't take it for granted. if i'd a been better prepared, or had a few minutes to rub together, i'd a whipped out my phone and taken pictures of shattered glass, tow trucks, policemen standing around discussing speed and tire marks, a woman just sitting there, in her car, dead center of the intersection, as traffic starts up and gingerly goes around her. what do you say to someone like that? you know she has a phone, already called for help, even though you don't hear anything yet. a guy walks over to offer to her, i'll push your car out of the way, if that's even possible. but it's not. the tow trucks do their thing and an hour later, i'm going back to work, kind of riding a tenuous bicycle over little glass shards.

first little league baseball game coming up, tomorrow, i'll be there; then, maybe, we'll go to a tech baseball game and see how it's done by the bigger guys. then, a birthday coming up, and, i've been working on the folk tales, and that's good, but somewhat incomplete, like everything, and i've done virtually no other writing, poetry, stories, anything. just a red-dirt song, and an unplayed one at that. not much to show for april, but then, a person's got to take a break once in a while, from everything. period. ba.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

happy birthday!

april rocks!

back when the wind was coming from the south, it was hot and dry and dusty, and i was beginning to notice that line somewhere around 20 mph where the little gritty sand gets in your teeth. i'm not sure about that line; i'd like to know if it's at 20, 23, 18, or what, but i know it when i feel it. i could hear some fire trucks out in the city; apparently when it's that windy & dry, there's some fire danger.

but then it all got hit by a cold front from the north. the sky got cloudy and gray, and this wind was much colder. when we woke up this morning it was sleeting and freezing on the ground and then it became huge snowflakes that were blowing all around blocking your vision, not because there were so many of them so much, but because they were all over the place, and not just falling straight down. of course when it's snow it's water and we're glad to see it on one level or another, this place being as dry as it is, but i'd covered the plants and they wouldn't get much of that water anyway. and also, you got an inch of snow or so, that's not really all that much water. it's equivalent to a light watering. if it clears right up and gets warm, which it certainly will (this being april and all), that water will be gone in a minute. things might be a shade greener though.

speaking of april, watch for the april rocks display which i'll make the minute i have a minute. things have been a bit busy lately what with kids, soccer and baseball practice, doctors, and running around. i haven't been able to create much, haven't even tended to business much. i won the ncaa bracket but of course i don't gamble; i'd picked louisville for the men's championship, and they won, and this was like the only time i ever got it right. it's pretty much of a random pick on my part anyway; some years i do better than others, but for the most part i just like having the names of all those universities roll off my tongue and that way, when somebody mentions some place like gonzaga, i know a little about it, where it is maybe, or something about its luck in the tournament over the years. we've been talking basketball a little because we have a good friend in the program; we changed coaches here and the new one took him on, and this is good because we like him and we can continue to know a little about the program, the games, etc. i got some hunches from him, about who might win, who might upset someone else, but it was the first inside information i'd gotten in years, and it only pertained to few teams, and besides, when you get five young kids on the court to play five more, anything can happen any time, and that's about the only solid thing i've learned over the years.

so apparently, you get all this snow and rain and ice dancing around on the roads, you get a few accidents out there, and people have a little trouble getting to work. it's not so much that they can't drive in it as that it appears unexpectedly in places you didn't expect it, around a corner or when you were looking at something else. a few no-shows here at the lab, and i actually have time to blog, but i have to give an exam later, and i'm walking, because i wouldn't ride my bike in this stuff. when i walked in, the cold hard wind was blowing snow in my face and even my wool hat wasn't keeping me warm enough. i thought about when i arrived in iowa, what was it 1975, and for many years, the whole eleven that i lived there, i kept hearing people say, april ninth, april ninth, worst blizzard we ever had was april ninth. another thing they said was, yeah, mostly the snow comes from the west, comes rolling off the rockies in colorado or montana or alberta, or wherever, but every once in a while it comes around from the northeast, circles around and picks up all that snow and bluster from the lakes, that's what happened on april ninth apparently. this doesn't seem to be an issue on the high plains, we don't have any lakes, but we're a bit closer to the mountains, so it can be a lot colder and come whipping around like it did today, suddenly and in these wide, sweeping fronts blowing across the plains.

it reminds me, i was telling my story about how people don't know north from south anymore, they don't need to because of their phones, they don't even need to know first street from second, and this guy tells about moving to town with a moving van and being unable to find the simplest thing, because of the lack of mountains. how do you know which way is west, if you don't have any mountains? i'd never thought of it. i'd heard, living in kansas one time, that everyone in kansas knew north from south, knew where they were every minute, you had to, because it was so flat. if it was daytime you'd look at the sun and notice how it moved across your windshield as you drove. i'm not sure how people do it. maybe you take out your phone, and your phone notices which way the sun is moving across the horizon, and it asks the sun if it's daylight savings time or what. phones make it their business to know this stuff, but i'm like everyone else, i'm beginning to lose track. i'm glad, though, that they make most of the streets east, west, north, south, because i've lived in places where they twist around and it unsettles you, whereas here you get that kansas feeling that everything goes somewhere eventually, though it may take you a while, if you get on the bigger roads, eventually you'll see a sign. and that's what you use, even if it's pitch black outside.