Write...or Die Trying

I used to work in a factory. Now I work in an office. Either way, my writing was dying. So now I must: Write...or Die Trying.


Country Perfume

I was forced to straddle two diagonal parking spots because the SUV next to me was too big to fit into these slanted stalls that were laid down long before they made vehicles that big. A high, lonesome bluegrass vocal was drifting into my consciousness, but only just. I hunched over the steering wheel, holding it down with interlaced fingers the way tired farmers do as they putter around town.

My photographer's eye admired the cottony light which glowed a strange yellow-orange like the lillies in our flowerbed right before the sun hits them; while the scattered and confused light of early morning soaks up the sweaty dew. My wife had gone across the street to wait for my oldest daughter to get out of her ballet lesson. I just sat waiting.

I winced at the confused tangle of electrical conduit and natural gas and water lines growing up the side of the century-old brick building in front of me. Decades of paint tried to cling to the old brick, which was now too worn to hold it very well. Our county courthouse basked in the sleepy early evening. The pre-civil war building watched the sun set tiredly, sporting its new high-speed wireless internet antenna where a cupola that was destroyed by fire during the civil war had been.

Our small, rural town is alive and well. The Wal-Mart Supercenter is almost finished out by the four-lane highway. We have broadband internet to connect us to the rest of the world--for better or worse. We have satellite television to satiate our children when we need to get something done without being distracted by them. We have drunks, heroine additcs, tweakers (meth heads), and drug dealers.

But we also have more churches in one square mile than some small countries. We have neighborhood watches and the VFW veterans to serve as honor guards in our parades. We want to get back home after we've gone somewhere and we sit on our porch in the evening, listening to the birds, and watching our kids fight over toys while they play in the yard. We have the constant toil of working the land, in scopes both large and small, and we have each other. A community of people who live outside the fast lane, but only just.

Some people, whether out of jealousy or true disdain, despise the life of the rural folk. But I live it happily. And I'll continue to do so as long as the Lord sees fit to allow us the opportunity to raise our kids in the place of our choosing.


At 6/20/2004 01:38:00 AM, Blogger r said...

That was one of the most lovely and complimentary ways of describing Lamar. I do miss some things about it, and yet others I gladly relinquish to it's players.


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