One month from tonight we will embark on a 20-hour drive from Spokane, WA, to Duluth, MN. I imagine it will be much like a reversion of Lewis & Clark’s famed journey, but without all the fuss and political strain. One Uhaul trailer booked, two college Gonzaga students hired for lifting and loading, a friend in Bozeman, MT, connected with for what has all the signs of being a drive-by catch up session, in-laws prepped for move-in visit, parents set to drive up and deliver my boyo, Zen, and new home utility accounts officiated.
Since signing the lease of our adorable rental house in Duluth, the splendid sunsets of Spokane seem brighter. These stress nightmares taste less of desperation and more of hand-wringing anticipation. Our budget has all but been abandoned amid the flurry of documents downloaded and saved to a growing new folder on my laptop computer named “Duluth?!” Texting a friend over the curious reason gold-clad (fake) bars are made and distributed, I struck on a shiny new rockosophical phrase, though one I am sure I heard somewhere else, at some other time. When the world has caught wind of a truer state of themselves, and the capitalist swine still hold a generation’s future in a cinching grip, You’re as rich as you feel.
All at once those sunsets came to colorful life in my mind, cementing into the grandest expression of mingling air-pollution and cosmic rays to withstand even the most expressive Impressionist painting’s affect. It is not the indolence of funemployment that breeds the burden on my heart. Sparking fresh avenues for a bored and wandering imagination, poetry blooms renewed, bleeding black calligraphic ink all over my thumb and forefinger.
The living room smells of leather and there, on the coffee table, four pairs of scissors with uses beyond that which we have come to find thus far. Twice, yesterday, have I burned the dishes I’ve tried to make and the walk-in closest is an explosion of neglected garments, each worn for less than half a day, added to the pile as I yawn and turn away. The Shabbot wine won’t make it to the eve of Sabbath. The sheets will be crimped by my naps, taken at five-hour intervals. With a flick of the vacuum cleaner, another scent out competes the buckskin scraps as human hair clings with vengeance to the roller, burning slowly like a late-night kiss. 156 days since the last contract ended but I find ways to keep up the flow of work with this new skill or that new endeavor, all of whom fall to the floor, sticking like stale remnants of warmed over coffee (with milk!). Our despotic banks may still garnish wages for unpayable student loans, but You’re as rich as you feel.
Bind another book but watch out for the glue that I unconsciously wipe on my holey basketball shorts. The ones acting as pajamas and house-clothes and something to dry my palms on as I check the mail for the second time each evening. Remove the trashcan’s bag, flies have found the grapes neither of us could finish before they attracted our new flourishing roommates. Next, the recycling and then a lukewarm shower where a noticeable lack of dirt runs under meticulously trimmed toenails. Should I trim them again? No, one is already pink and puffy with excessive attention. Let it go. Hygiene has its limits.
It’s not the mercurial mood of the city and it’s not the conflicted admittance of friends in mourning issuing “Good luck!” for our “big adventure,” that inflate the emotions of this up-coming cross-continental trek. As one of my love’s new favorite band’s lyrics profess, “I feel better/And it’s not the drugs/And it’s not the weather.” It is, ostensibly, that this will be the city where we will settle down, staying put for more than one or two years. Regardless of when the conservation field lifts its hiring freeze.
It is that, when a body, fermenting in the cool basement apartment can no longer withstand more than a few hours in the desert heat, when all the professionals on the other end of the phone can offer only thin promises that “when this all calms down we will need someone with your credentials, please keep checking in,” when a bag ‘o rocks is (always, always, no matter what the internet wants to you believe) only worth as much as the sensation you get when you handle its content