Tuesday, April 29, 2014

the wind has been blowing hard for days; it's a hard dry dusty wind come from new mexico or maybe colorado, down out of the mountains, bringing cool air with it, but mosty dust. we are well aware that there are tornados further east, east texas, arkansas, mississippi, even oklahoma, and that those tornados are swirling around too, not going anywhere, raging and blowing down people's ramshackle houses. here it's a steady 40 mph wind, harder in the late afternoon, it dies down a little at night, but you don't want to go out in it, you get sand in your teeth, and it makes you think you'll get a sandy coating on the inside of your lungs.

further west, on the edge of town, it's worse, and you can't see anything, you even have to put your car lights on and it doesn't help much. it doesn't keep people from driving around. it seems there's a little less traffic, but what there is is hostile, not to mention blind. some people have their trucks rigged so as to make more noise, as if that diesel sound will help alarm people of their coming, and make them get out of the way.

the kids fight in a shrill way in the van and it makes us all feel a little trapped by the dust; i also feel that even having the van out in it might not be so great, as i certainly wouldn't want this sand to mix in with every darn fluid in there, until the oil and radiator and such get that feeling that my lungs have. but life has to go on; it's been four or five days now, and you have to get groceries and do the things families do. like pick kids up at school.

had a friend once, a french guy, pierre, i think of him a lot. we were hitchhiking on a road to alaska, and it was a dirt road but it had been raining heavily for days. so the road was a little muddy in spots and the woods that surrounded us were completely waterlogged, no way we could camp in there or even make a fire. we weren't having much luck there on the side of the road, nobody wanted to pick up two soggy young fellers with moldy packs and wet dirty laundry, or whatever we were carrying. we played catch by the side of the road there, with some piece of fruit or something, because we had a long time to wait between cars. i think the problem was, it was miles and miles of mountainy woods up ahead, people figured, if there was trouble, they'd be stuck with these two guys and responsible for them. finally some irish guy came to pick us up, in an old mercedes, or a german car of some kind, classy, but old. we went a while until it started raining hard and eventually we were stopped by some mountie who said, the road is washed out ahead, you can't get through. the mountain roads gave way, there isn't a road anymore. you might as well turn around and go back.

pierre himself had trouble understanding english. it's true, we were in canada, and everyone was supposed to be bilingual, but the fact was, way out west where we were, people weren't bilingual. i certainly wasn't. i tried my best to explain what i knew. he was good natured. what else can you do, when you're hitchhiking?

the reason i think about it is, you have these pairs of kids out there, in the world of foster placement, and as pairs, they're hard to place, but of course they have the advantage of having each other. they're kind of in a limbo world, if they don't place. who will take the two of them? and they need each other, love each other, get along ok most of the time, yet, given a safe environment, free to be siblings, might fight like cats and dogs. might have some feelings built up, especially those generated by one being younger, one being older, one always getting her way, one capable of shrieking louder, or digging one's feet in. these are the tools children have as they move through this world. fortunately somebody usually feeds them. fortunately they're cute, and they get by, and hopefully nobody is cruel. sometimes they have very little concept of shelter from the storm, a house free of dust and wind, a washrag as protection. who knows what they've been through though. we are their fourth family. they've seen a lot, and they try to adjust to each place.

the wind rattles at the windows, and hazes up the streets as you get out near them, and look north or look west. i'm about to walk to campus the third time, as it's my busy day, but this walk takes me across a nine-lane street where the dust blows hard. i'll come home soon, put stuff away, shut the blinds and hunker down for the night, no walks around the park in this kind of stuff. i've lost my taste for adventure, and instead prefer a warm bed, where i never seem to get enough sleep, and where i have these wild dreams, which i cannot even begin to document. life itself makes me dig in and feel grateful for the extra weight i carry; i hold onto my hat. the cars at the corner, i hope, can tell a red light when they see it.


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