Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gravel Trucks and Hibiscus Lemonade

Cars and trucks, mostly trucks -- the heavy, gravel-hauling, hopper trucks -- speed past on the highway in front of the café. The café sits comfortably back from the press of traffic. It invites but does not demand notice. In this remote section of New Mexico, it is an oasis of sorts. Christmas lights line a wreath woven of juniper boughs while brightly colored wind socks in the shapes of fish dance and spin in the stiff breeze. “Your writing might sustain you,” Feather  says, as a musing after-thought. We are enjoying the breeze of July in the high country. He is a friend I see only a few times a year, times too short and spare for mincing small talk. I didn’t know what he meant by “sustain.” Did he mean I could make money? Sustain my happiness? Hold on to my soul? Or some other meaning of the word? Whatever he meant, I liked the sound of that simple phrase, spoken as it was, out loud, something I would never do, even to myself. Nobody other than he had uttered my dream back to me, simple as it was, before. I wanted so much to believe him, to believe it was possible to build a raft of writing that I might ride though this hungry, slavish life. I wanted so much to believe him that I took it in, rolled my mind around that possibility like I would a Key Lime gum drop between my tongue and the roof of my mouth. What a thought! Could it happen? Did I really have a shot at doing the only thing that meant something to me? If I learned to live by the law of lean times, the rules of constant change, undying love, hard work, mindful attention to each word as it played out into the song waiting inside to find daylight, I might just. Of course, I would have to sidestep the fears, and bad habit of running away. Those self-doubts are assassins of the creative soul. So for today, this one day, this moment on the side of a remote highway between the mesas of New Mexico, I let the hibiscus lemonade be the tonic that it is, ask for the last piece of cherry pie before the café closes, and watch clouds open to a blue sky. The gravel trucks roar by, carrying the life blood and flesh of the mountains. Their cargoes, freshly wrenched from darkness, raw, leave a hole like that of an extracted tooth, a gaping pit in a forest of deep green secrets. 

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