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Travelogue C3

January 26, 2015

One of my morning walks led me to the realization that there is something uncanny about a dictionary. In this condensation of a language’s existence across time and space, it is possible to see something like the piling up of a barbed wire fence upon itself, torn up, the wooden posts and steel wire doubling and tripling back time and again in a small heap of artifice. The whole has been discarded beneath some corner boughs.

I circled back to a question parallel to my starting place, whether travel writing might take place in memory and be a form of going back, not out. Making a mockery of the genre. Such were my thoughts as I padded the field beneath, soil, clumps of clover and prairie grass, an occasional cow trail. I sought to clear the open field, to leave behind its naked wideness for the near wildness of the hedges and timber, limits to which I have always been drawn, being more at ease in trees than on plains. Familiar sights are found here at the edges, on this walk which I had set off on for no particular reason, simply to get out and walk. I realize that this might be in part due to my unforeseeing foresight, in preparation for my own share of mourning work, already saying goodbye to the familiar arrangements of trunks delimiting and crossfences partitioning fields. Well-worn footpaths peek through the underbrush, as do faint green blades where the mower never reaches.

Once back in the house, I moped for a time at the window, observing the wind and sun’s making of the far-off stopsign a beacon, at least as seen from the basement of a split-level. I wondered to what within myself the bullet-riddled sign beckoned, the plainsman or the heathen or the whole.


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