Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Missouri is an unfamiliar place to me. I went to college here, lived in the area off and on before marriage, and moved my family to Kansas City nine years ago, and it is still unfamiliar. I work for my self, and drive all over the place. I know the city (KC metro area) better than a lot of natives. I am inclined to explore by environs. So I take alternate routs when I can, and go down roads just because I haven’t been down them before. I don’t think Missouri will ever be familiar to me. I am familiar with rock and dust and dry hot air. With landscape that brakes and crumbles and drops away. Where few things grow higher than my knees and the eyes see the lay of the land to the horizon in every direction. I am familiar with dry skinned lizards, and snakes that rattle a warning, and road runners and honey toads. With dust devils, and nose bleeds, and sand in my eye and the smell of sage in the air after a rain. And rain that falls in finger swipes to touch the other side of the street while you are in the sunshine. And old skin on faces with clear penetrating eyes. The desert is my comfort zone. I can lie on the ground and feel cradled, and sleep knowing what things might crawl on me. Missouri, God bless it, is a creepy crawly place with chiggers and ticks and snakes that sneak around and alligator snapping turtles and trees with thorns. It’s a place of thickets and dark woods and overgrowth that you fight back like a living dragon. It hot, and cold, and wet and smells of road kill and vultures circle your pets.