Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Quickly now: Our next post:
United States Postal Service
300 W Main St. STE 100
Grangeville, ID 83530
We'll be there hopefully by July 4th. Celebration!
We have arrived in Montana, having just left Yellowstone, which, despite the overbearing presence of Recreational Vehicles and camera-wielding tourists and the murderously branded marketing aspect of it all, was beautiful. The worst thing I saw while in the park: A huge RV, one of those miserably gigantic 40-foot Class A deals that take up the entire road, hauling, on its trailer, a Hummer. An effing Hummer. Seriously.
Well then: We have capered the gorgeous open glades and the deep-running dales of southern Wyoming, our lungs having acclimated as best they can to the thin mountain air of the Rockies, the dryness of the area occasionally manifesting itself via red droplets of blood that drip thickly from Dave´s nose. Forgive a litle self-indulgence, but, an inner monologue: This trip, at times, has reminded me of that part in Catcher in the Rye where Holden is walking up Fifth Avenue, block after block, sleep deprived, reflecting meanderingly on his sister and on Christmas and on New York, and he finds himself suddenly overwhelmed with the fear, once he steps off the curb onto the street, that he´ll never get to the other side. That he´ll just vanish and nobody will see him again. Terrified, he appeals to his deceased sibling for help, muttering: "Allie, don´t let me disappear. Allie, don´t let me disappear. Allie, don´t let me disappear. Please, Allie." Sometimes, after hours of biking, my legs fatigued from the endless pumping, my hands numb from the buzzbuzz vibrations of the handlebars, I look out into the distance, past the barbed wire fences lining the county roads, and I absorb the ocean of sulking sagebrush plains that extend as far as my weak eyes are capable of seeing, open spaces flanked on either side by bluish mountains in the distance, by looming buttes and red mesas and dry sandy hillocks, and I look at these things and feel the openness of everything; I reflect prolongedly on how far my legs have taken me so far, on how far they have yet to take me, on all the roads traveled and people met and food eaten and sunblock applied, reflecting too on how quickly these past two months have passed and how rapidly the years tick by--the unforgiving fluctuations of insentient calendars, the joys and the sorrows of the persons entering and leaving my life, our lives, and how in twenty years everything I know will be completely different, in forty years this trip will be a vague cloudy fading distant memory, in sixty years I will be dead or forgotten or both--and I get a strange feeling of being swallowed up by it all, as if the magnitude of all these things we´re seeing is washing me out, bleaching, like a figure in a too-bright photograph, a notion not too far off from Holden´s fear of vanishing.
During one of our days in Kansas, our dearly departed Gary was describing how he used to hang glide, explaining how you launch from a cliff. What you do is stand a few feet away from the ledge, your hang glider harnessed to your chest, a person on either side of you holding the wings in place as the wind shakes and rocks the glider turbulently, and then, the moment of calm: the wind curling up under the wings evenly, forcefully, the glider lifting up just barely as it the wings catch the deflected wind. That is when you jump.
My heart, as of late, has been untroubled, untroubled.
Allie, please don´t let me disappear...