paris, nebraska, enh

dearest of dearests: what unfolds in this blog entry is the beginning of a journey, or the in medias res of a journey, (and my morbid self pipes in: conceivably the end of a journey, who knows, i’m jewish, any number of diseases could be almost at full throttle as i compose this!) (i put that in parenthesis for safety and containment, since there is no e-wood to knock on). j and i depart for paris, for our teaching year away, august 25-ish. please come back here often, please check in often, please leave comments often!

blessings on your heads!!!!!!   with wide-open heart and a lake in my hair–a real lake, a real heart– SARA

i didn't make him.

i didn't make him.

* * *

there is nothing in iowa– nothing in nebraska– quoth the Nothing Experts (of which there are many), when i told of my forthcoming sojourn by car with j from boulder, CO, to hubbard lake, MI.  this piteous response was also my first clue as to what states lay between colorado and michigan, for i like to learn my geography by surprise.  suprise, we’re in iowa! enh? i-o-wah.  my other tried-and-true method for apprehending the placement of the continental states is that of abstract geography, as in: hey, j, if my lightswitch is boulder, where on that wall is indiana? just because michael jackson passed on from this world doesn’t mean Gary acquired insta-topographical significance.

“nothing” in nebraska?  there is always a lot to say about “nothing”: in this case, it’s just the wrong pronoun.  the intention of a pronoun is to stand in for some noun that’s gone missing or which it is sloppy-speak to repeat too close to its identical twin.  “nothing”, therefore, as applies to iowa and nebraska, is a cloak for green-as-green-gets cornfields unfurling same-same.  plus trees as if nature hiccoughed.   plus clouds so worthy of love that i can still see-feel (compound verb for which i thank j’s teacher, n– o the alphabet is so great!) their bizarre shapes.

perhaps i’ve been around buddhists too long, for whom “nothing” is used like a choice compliment and career aspiration.  you can’t really say something nicer about the phenomenal world than to say it’s “nothing”– and even then, like iowa & nebraska properly epitheted, you really mean it’s something, but something that words only chop and dice rather than suffice. (yeah, i know “suffice” is not actually a transitive verb, but i’m feeling transitive right now).

preamble usually contains some seed of the actual amble, and in this case you’ve already gotten it: screw paris– nebraska is where it’s at!  and all you people who told me otherwise: maybe you feel like green is just a little too last year?  the real “nothing”– as in, the thing that makes you feel like being alive is a condition of deficit rather than surplus– was (for me) outside chicago, where ugliness of industry and unkempt billboardage trumped whatever plans nature might have had for the area.  plus, the humans who had made the mess in the first place seemed not to care about its eye-sore, soul-sore status.

but my aunt T: she has a pineapple on her back porch that she grew herself– in indiana. so that‘s where indiana is: where the cultivated pineapple is.  T has onions the earth is practically spitting up at her– more per day, it seems, than the number of BMs that A counted his newborn son dropped between sunrise and sunset: 10.  said newborn had his hands thrown up to his face in the way only a pristine creature can, the already-an-old-man asana that says shield me from this post-womb engagement.

america  possesses (at least) one universally nauseating trait: that of signs intentionally spelled wrong.  i cite for you: Tastee Freez (at which the faux-icecream, to match the faux-spelling, is served in portions bigger than anyone’s face).  i cite for you again: “Kum & Go” gas station.  OK– ew.  Just– ew.  And again, the seed syllable of poor advertisement choices: ew.  clearly an 8th grade boy was hired to kum up with that business Gag.

and here’s some of the things that are impossible as one ventures across america: normal stuff. as in: sara nolan leaving motel 6 room for hot water and getting from the woman at the front desk a cheerful i’d have to run it through the coffee machine and then it will taste like coffee; at which point SN cheerily (because, after all, who can help being cheery on such occasions), climbs the grass mound that separates the grounds from Kum & Go and, entering with mug of lemon juice in hand, has the following exchange:

SN (to counter attendant): do you mind if i take some hot water? i’ll pay for it if needed.

CA: what?

SN: can i take some hot water in my mug?

CA: what?

SN: uh, do you have any hot water?

CA: water?

(in thailand the first time i tried to ask for hot water as a separate commodity i was handed it– yes, boiling– in two plastic baggies, held shut with a twistie– and they promptly melted in my hands—)

you get it and i did, eventually, get some.  but the point is: normal stuff doesn’t make sense as one traverses the torso of our nation.  my inquiry was probably the weirdest the poor CA received in his week and maybe he chalked it up, eventually, to a spectral affair. the point is: after you kum in, no matter what you kame for, you go. and this, too, like everything else i contemplate, can apply to the condition of being mortal, which, at times, is a condition that no one bargained for. and we can’t just put our tiny hands up to our faces and poop ten times a day and nap as a coping mechanism– that only works for the first few months, and then you start to be expected to look cute, even if your digestive system is still trying to develop to full capacity.

i am in northern michigan now, at j’s parents’ place, which is a little mecca.  a mecca of what?  a mecca of confluence.  it is on the lip of hubbard lake, and behind it sits The Woods– ferns, red pines, cedars, birch, more of same, more of same, more of same.  light  makes its way through the leaves and straight to the tear ducts, where it calls forth what those ducts manufacture best: an assembly line of little drops.  these depart the eye and explore the cheek and meet the floor of the earth.  something like that. let me say it another way: the trees made me weep as trees are wont to do when you really greet them for what they are.  another tree phenomenon of worthy note: when they fall over dead, they often rest (in peace, conceivably) right on their neighbor– which may or may not be all in the family– and rot there, exposed, until they further fall, and continue to rot, and no one in the arboreal community seems to mind much.  we don’t die this way too often, and i think it might be a pity.

a few other signs winked at us as we crossed the nation in j’s car: “The Coffee Cup: Home of the Porker Omelette” (ew);  “Baked Beans: Tanning Salon and Coffee House” (Transcendental Ew); “We Bake Memories” (on the back of a bread truck, carrying Aunt Millie’s Shitbread Frostean miles and miles and miles).  And lastly, in Luzerne: “This is God’s Country.  Please Don’t Drive Through It Like Hell.”  it was not too far from this sign that traffic had slowed for a car deroaded due to an animal having gone through its windshield– the road was tracked in deer blood and the windshield shattered.  irony takes very few ingredients to occur.  also, this was one of the most heavy feelings of tragedy i have had passing any traffic accident anywhere, due to its aura of unnecessariness–  a complex, hapax-legomenon-y abstract noun that speaks for a lot of the trouble we cause by the cars we drive through land that was meant to belong to the velocity proper to a deer, rather than to autos. i love me a car, it’s true, but i don’t love a lot of the consequences.

and i do– i really really do– love nothing.

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5 Responses to “paris, nebraska, enh”

  1. Yo Says:

    Hello very dear !
    I hope we will meet again soon.
    …oxoxoxox……………………………………..y.

  2. Sue Says:

    Dear Sara,
    I am excited for you – a year of travel – have a great time! However, it isn’t necessary for you to include me in your blogs.
    I am glad you are doing well. I am doing okay too.
    Love, Sue

  3. Sreedevi Says:

    Sara Sita Sweetest:
    What a lovely pic of you with the baby! Yur radiant energy preparing you for the once-in-lifetmie=memorable trip around the world with this family adn your belved Jamie!

    Stil making and drinking Sara Tea and thinking of you as I write poetry.
    Read again at LAughing Goat, THey made me read my Ganga Poem again,,

    Glad that your driving all over is done and now you can get ready for your flights,. many mnay heartfetl goodbyes.
    I got a new rose quartx in your name to keep and hold and touch on my altar in your absence…

    Loving bon voyage greetings. Stay in touch!

  4. Megan Says:

    Sara…this is lovely. Just out of curiosity, why is it a memoir fad to write people’s initials instead of their names? Did I miss something? (knowing me, I probably did)

  5. Ken Says:

    Sara…you think the onions were spitting up from the earth?…wait till you see pictures of the squash! Just getting to figure out this blogging thing. Say hello to J and best to both of you. We enjoyed your short visit immensely. All of our love to you and J in your travels. Enjoy.

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