Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Salt flats

1.Laying on a deck chair in Arizona, propped up by an arm not my own, feeling the warmth of the day gathered liquid in my bones. Watching for shooting stars and not seeing them but also not caring much because I can feel them, too, in my bones, fizzing like champagne.

2. After a couple of days watching out the window I had seen the landscape open up unexpectedly into all manner of shapes--scrub grass and cactus and wide windy valleys, cloud shadows and canyons and trees. In lower Oregon, after careening around curves that left the whole of the road ahead a mystery the world out the window folded in a new way and spread apart to reveal cows threaded along the shoulder, ambling, forcing the car down to their speed. Close enough to touch.

3. Around us the world had started to look familiar again, tall trees and grey skies, my insides sinking out of vacation and back to real life. If I had blinked I would have missed it, but on the side of the road stood a small sign informing passers-by that they have just crossed the 45th parallel north, that they are at the halfway point between the equator and the north pole, and like a balloon with a cut string my brain is in both steamy jungles and the frozen north at once. I imagine another trip along that line, through Acquitaine and Lombardy to Croatia and Mongolia and back around to South Dakota and Oregon. All of the halfway places up here and then maybe after, all of the other halfway places.

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