the life of a teacher generally has one break, around christmas, which in my case has always been frantic and barely a break on account of making stuff, getting a tree, etc.; about the time i've rested a little, first week of january or so, it's school again and we started over. with a little engineering you can get a summer term off, or maybe both, in my case, i've got this first one off, a rare break for me after thirty years solid of teaching. my wife says, please take the month, just drive the kids around, so i can work & get a handle on the overwhelming load; spend some time, take care of the house, that kind of stuff. but in my mind i'm like, write...it's my first chance, in a long time. i have three unfinished books. i have a book of stories; it's unfinished too, since it's now at about fourteen, and really needs about twenty before i publish. i've got e pluribus haiku 2013, 720 poems, i want to put it out on the fourth again. so my head is spinning and i'm dying to write. but i often draw blanks.
lubbock is made of these wide streets with very few low trees that don't block the sun at all. i remember my parents pointing out the historic sights of las cruces and i'd say, that's nice, and very old, but how can you even see it in the sun's glare, with these wide-open avenues and huge blue sky, it's all i can do to not count the little pieces of gravel in the road. it's the same here. slowly i begin to see the really old buildings, interesting sites, even places where there's wild weeds or wildflowers even in the city, along sun-bleached alleys with of course no shade. none whatsoever. you stick to the main roads, you come to a tree eventually, it might be low-slung, or too old, but there's a little shade out there. people say, the trees were all put here by people. none of them are part of the natural environment.
so i come home, afternoons, sit under the fan, and get out one of my books, or e pluribus. but sometimes i feel like my mind is bleached out. i want to write a story, but nothing seems impressive enough, everything seems bleached out in the sun, like a mirage, like a puddle left there by the sprinklers that will evaporate instead of go back to the reservoir from whence it came. up north it's flooding, there's too much water in the air, it has nowhere to go, so it's hanging up against the wall of east coast heat, and it's raining a lot, and that rain is washing down and shooting the rivers from the ohio down to the missouri. but out here, we're pulling the last drops out of the aquifer, to water these lawns and this park, where it'll evaporate and we'll lose it forever, and our plains will become a desert, unless we figure out a way to hang onto some of it, or pipe it down here from somewhere. go figure.
under such circumstances, it seems recumbent upon me (if it is possible to say such a thing) to make plans to go somewhere else, such as kerrville, or perhaps minnesota, someplace where a person could settle where there would be a future, for one and one's descendants, one way or the other. i feel, in a sense, that moving someplace that has such trouble in its future, is not smart, in a fundamental kind of way. however, what's done is done, and i'm here, and i'm sticking with america, at least for the time being, as all five of my kids are here, all eight really, and one grandchild, and they all have to make it one way or the other, somewhere, and just about any place is grim by some accounts, yet sometimes i also have hope for the u.s., at least more hope than i would for, say, italy. my favorite places, really, are in the far north, like alaska and minnesota, and maybe montana, the u.s. could lose everything, and they would still be up there with the snow, and the fish, and the clear blue sky and rugged winter, and life wouldn't change much. but texas is the same in some ways. it's rugged. you get used to living without stuff, like rain. the story i read about natalie maines called it racially divided...heck the whole u.s.a. is racially divided. there was an uproar at some spurs game, but hey, there are always uproars. let's face it, it's like europe only more so. times are ripe for skinheads. the only question is, how will it turn out. we'll either get jobs, and people will live their lives, and we'll avoid some of these huge pointless wars, or...or, i guess maybe that's hopeful. let's stay hopeful.
the road to kerrville is long and flat and reminds me of illinois in that someone is pouring junk on the land and making some money off of it, but in some cases they're just letting it sit there and still making money off of it. you go through tiny towns like this one called "eden" and then you go through this crossroads, interstate kind of place where all the roads converge and that's abilene, no way around it, practically, except going through the oilfields. but way down there, by san antone, is kerrville, and it seems to be hilly, beautiful, no shortage of water, but with the same blazing sun, and everyone's playing music all the time. and they always say "welcome home" to you, like the rainbows do, make you feel like, where have i been all this time.
been in the world, in the work world, in the single-family make-a-living world that used to work a lot better than it's working these days. our industrial society was based on the idea that someone was in the factories, producing stuff, the universities were teaching stuff, the government was just sitting there trying to control stuff, or maybe catching some tax cheaters. in my mind there wasn't really a question of whether our government was worse, or more devious, than say, that of china, which not only spied on everyone but just killed the ones who spoke out against it. but then, as they say, 1984 was meant to scare us, not be a playbook or a set of directions, but nobody could foresee, we slipped into an era where there's literally no privacy anyway. i set out this blog, i figured, might as well spill all the beans, just tell my whole story, every bit of it, no sense hiding anything, they could get me if they really wanted to anyway. i guess what i'm saying is, it seems rather odious to be one of the big boys, pour poison on the land, join the government, or do their dirty work, killing people and running security. it's also hard work, staying out of the big picture, living way up north or way out in the boonies, catching fish and living without insurance. i'm not sure how people do it. for me, i feel a little edgy about it, i have a lot to say, the inclination to put it in novels, or stories at the very least, but i have this situation, i come home from running around at noon, it's 97 already, the sun is beating down, i make another cup of coffee, this one cold maybe, i sit down by the computer, under the fan, and i end up doing facebook. my tongue is tied. i got nothing to say. almost nothing shocks me, or surprises me, or even seems worth pointing out.
it's partly that, from noon on, anyone with any brains is taking a big nap. you run around, about four or five, it's not only hot, though it's dry and not too bad, but it's also bright. no trees. huge sky. aircon on full blast in your car, and the car still heating up. tonight though, after my watch, i saw the fox again. but this time, there were two of them. they were prancing around this one house, it's kind of a mansion, low-slung, lots of green grass, nice bushes, beautiful windows, they were kind of dancing, on the brick wall under these trees, in the dark. big tail, big eyes, and there were two of them. well, i figure, if there are two, soon there will be more, and all the neighborhood strays will be in danger. squirrels, housecats, you name it, these foxes are out looking for it. who knows what they eat? most likely the little stuff, like the squirrels, but i don't know. they were watching me pretty closely, because they were penned in, kind of, up against that house, with its wall running around its front windows, and its green grass and its fragrant smell. they eyed me carefully then ducked back into the shadows a ways so it would be a little harder for me to come after them. but i didn't anyway. what do i want with a couple of foxes? only to admire them, and get myself on slightly more of an evening schedule, like theirs. nights, it cools off a bit, and it's actually pretty nice.