Saturday, February 20, 2010

the stratum haunt

Current mood:can anyone spare some bread crumbs?
So I was standing still at 67 miles per hour again the other day, and I came across a tableau that was astonishing in its aftermath, though the moment seemed but a transit stroke. The second the scenes unfolded, each in their sequential pomp, the awe factor ratcheted up notch over notch till I was flabbergasted and wanting so to return to the act of the "crime".

Layer one….Red lights flashing in the distance, not unusual for a busy weekend by-way. Came up on brand new dooley pulled off to the side of the road, big and red with tinted and viewless windows and driver. A muddy brown sedan with hidden lights flashing in the back seat behind. Once you were up on the duo the lights faded in and out with strobic intensity….they are there….they are elsewhere….

Layer two….A man, in civilian clothes, walking from the sedan. Nice clothes, middle age, out of shape. But the odd factor was that if a vehicle is being pulled over by any law enforcement, the officer would be cautiously approaching the offending vehicle, weapon drawn and at the ready. Yet this man was sauntering through the roadside grasses like he was on his way to Sunday church services.

Now if this wasn't enough……on the other side of the road, almost directly opposite of this "crime"….

Layer three….at first glance I thought it was an elemental, a groundling deva type pacing the setting sun, waiting for its proper time. This "man", nut brown, with dirt so ingrained and skin so oakish as to appear black, yet with those piercing light eyes….
His clothing was an odd mish-match of extremely well-worn denim and torn-up, not-oft washed plaids. His boots were at least a half inch thick cowhide, gnarled and twisted to exactly fit his pristine feet. His hat, a twisted heap of fiber, molded by sweat and sun, to only vaguely resemble a sun bonnet. Thick of chest, a man who worked and fed every muscle, not just paid homage in a mirror. But the clincher, the item that made me realize I was not witnessing a modern day man walking along the road as if on an errand, were his chaps.

They were not the common full-leg, up-to-the waist kind. No, these went only up as far as the knee – thick unbending leather bells. Snake charmer chaps we call them here. Now, we have our share of local rodeo groups, but this was no sideshow-rodeo-cowboy-clown. This was a throwback to those days gone by of the cross-world cattle drives. And where would this creature, if "cowboy" he truly was, be coming from? We were on the side of the road, no ranches or developments or homes anywhere for at least a mile either way……

He was directly across from the officer and his offender. He looked at the scene as if to say "yea, I see it, I seen it before, it's just a late evening heat mirage. It will disappear as always when the sun sets down. But in the meantime I'm gonna take notes".

Highway 130 is cutting across old highways and back roads that were once trails between ranches and markets, auction and slaughter houses, and railroads and big cities up north and east. I think things other than the dust are being disturbed. And I truly think this is why my perspective is being so distorted….one of these days I won't just be driving by one of those portals, I'm going to drive 'through'……

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