Scary to leave

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Light work today. Two hours at the barn and two hours working in the house. The break is needed. Did ten to twelve hour days all last week, which is a lot for me when it’s mostly all physical. It’s also my last days on the farm. It’s clear to me now that this has been a transitional phase in my life, never meant to be a stopping point. Vitally important but temporary. I’ll be going north. To see, to see if, man, ok, to see if we can breathe life into our relationship.

Shoveled some of the last of my dirt today. Anxious to leave at this point– just want to get on with my life. At least that’s how it feels. Though I’ll miss the solitude and night walks. I’ll miss the small town up the road too. Terry the barber was the reason, the catalyst, for my homecoming attendance. During my haircut, he pushed for me to go. Hometown pride and all. We ran into each other at the game and lamented the home team’s performance over nachos.

The downside, however, of a sparsely populated area is that I’ve watched too many horror movies. I tried to go out to the barn at night, like I’ve wanted to, but I just couldn’t do it. The barn, I mean, it’s literally in the middle of a cornfield. Come on. Either a guy in a jumpsuit and hockey mask is going to turn up right behind me or there’ll be an alien abduction. It was a terrible mistake to watch Fire in the Sky as a kid.

I don’t particularly like going to the basement here. Of course, who does? But I needed to go down there early today. Doubly creepy since I’m all alone tonight. As I descended, there were noises from the far end. I muttered aloud, “Yep. Sounds about right. Obviously there’re noises.”

It didn’t slow me down. I even decided to take some pictures, realizing that I had taken none of the basement.


Above, the first room looking into the second. A third room can be found straight ahead and to the right.


Third room. Not creepy at all. Really hope it was the owner who moved the chair into the room. If not, well, I guess it would have to be the faceless old lady who secretly lives in your home.


Monday, 17 September 2018

The foundation being rebuilt. Each stone has been marked so that it will be the same as it once was. It’s kind of a three-dimensional puzzle with a few pieces missing and others broken and weathered so they don’t fit like they should.

One of the workers, at the end of the day, allowed me to ride on the side of his truck. Just like in Back to the Future but minus the hoverboard. Once I hopped on, I realized I was fulfilling a lifelong dream. A small dream but a dream nonetheless.

Some of my other dreams:
-Enter or exit a room to the USA chant.
-Be physically threatened by the teachers union.
-Befriend a wild wolf in the wild.
-Really piss off a large group of people and then relish in it.
-Someone says, “You are what you eat.” I reply with, “No, who we are is much more than that.”
-Someone says something about there being an issue with the roads and I reply: Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.

Oh, and I’d like my last words to be: The pirate treasure– it’s buried…

I suppose Abraham Lincoln’s final words were of laughter, which is pretty good if you think about it. (And if you count laughter as words.)

Now if you look very closely you’ll see a happy dog sitting inside this massive collection of metal.


I think the dog is living out his dreams. Being on a farm and all. He also eats very well.


Friday, 14 September 2018


Finally finishing up at the barn. My work of preparing it for the contractors is completed and they’ll be there on Monday to rebuild the foundation. I’ll still be out there tomorrow and next week but my real work is done.

I’ve discovered that there’s always more to do on a farm.

Though as the summer comes to a close so does my time here. It won’t be forgotten and this period has helped me considerably. It may have saved my relationship.


The above is from the local high school’s homecoming game, which I attended. It was boring, sure, but I knew that going in. I just wanted the experience, for the memories to return. Kids running about wildly– falling down, yelling in excitement, and ducking under the bleachers. The high schoolers crammed together in the student section, shouting and moving in unison. Old people there to support their children or simply to root for the old home team.

Made sure to stop by the concession stand to buy an overpriced hamburger and nachos. The food of memory.

Sadly, the home team wasn’t good enough. The Cougars got smashed by the Indians. A margin of twenty-something.

I’ll end up missing aspects of my life here but I find myself anxious to leave. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything but I see now that I prefer the city. I miss getting cell reception or having a place to eat past 8 pm.

Howard & John, John & Howard

Sunday, 9 September 2018

About halfway through the above. Surprising that I didn’t read it in my junior high days when I had read much of John Bellairs’ work. It’s pleasant to have old things that are new to you.

I really love The Beatles and this will be a short digression. Merely a paragraph, surely. There are certain Beatles albums– The Magical Mystery Tour, for instance– that I’ve never listened to. For me, there are brand new Beatles recordings out there. Someday I’ll listen to them as if they were just made and released that very week. My fear is dying unexpectedly. Then I’ll never get to hear that stuff. But then, I’ll be dead so… Either there’s nothing so I won’t even be aware or there is an afterlife. And if that afterlife doesn’t have The Beatles? Then I want my money back.

I reread a few of Bellairs’ stories this past Spring. They didn’t scare me in the way they did when I was twelve or thirteen but I still thoroughly enjoyed them. Though there were a few moments when I found myself glancing behind me to make sure I was safe.

What surprised me was how many little references there were to HP Lovecraft. Bellairs was clearly a fan and, I would say, one of Lovecraft’s successors. A pleasing discovery as it creates a certain (small) wholeness within my life: That I can draw a line from what I loved in junior high to when I found Lovecraft my freshman year of college to the present day. Points of interest in my life can be connected, which, for whatever reason, is pleasing. In a way, it strikes me as meaningful.

Lewis and Rose Rita, the main characters, encounter a soup-like fog surrounding their small hometown of New Zebedee, Michigan. They try riding their bikes through it to get to the next town but find themselves, against all reason and common sense and physics, to be right back where they started. They went in a straight line but somehow the line became a circle.

That’s common enough but, nonetheless, it creates a feeling for which I have no name. It’s predicated upon fear but fosters a connectivity between the characters. It almost feels cozy and warm. There’s camaraderie too– a kind of sharing. But also fear. It can be found in Jaws when the terror truly begins to settle over the small town. Or in the original Resident Evil as you explore the old mansion on a dark and stormy night, occasionally running into an ally, savoring the brief safety. I can still hear the music from one of the few safe rooms where one might save or exchange items from the trunk. Another: It. The kids have only each other to count on for safety. As if they were on a small raft in the middle of a dangerous sea.

I find myself always searching for that feeling. Even in real life. I’ve experienced it on a dreadful winter night in a coffeehouse. The outside is inhospitable, even dangerous, but we few have braved the elements and icy roads to make it to the building’s warm safety. The snow continues to fall, it can be seen through any of the windows, but we are together, drinking our coffee and slowly warming.


The short rain

Saturday, 8 September 2018

A long few days. I’m happy to be done for the moment and for the rest I’ll have tomorrow. It’s odd– it’s Saturday night but that doesn’t mean what it once did to me.

It’s dark out now. There’ll be no parties or bars or even coffeehouses. Just quiet and my computer.

Haven’t posted anything in more than a few days and I feel kind of bad about that. I’ve been traveling though.

A long drive back to my hometown, which was good. I wasn’t sure about that, about how it would go, I mean. Parents, family, you know, it can be muddy.

I returned to Iowa in the rain.

The flies, man, the flies

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Rainy and cloudy yet muggy. Sorted through hundreds of pears today, among other weird tasks. What a bizarre sentence that is. I doubt I’ve ever put those particular words together in such an order before.

Here’s a sentence I once heard. I’ve never caught it again: I don’t like bacon.
From a friend/co-worker a few years back.

So the pears. Two categories to start: Green or yellow. Each then yields two other categories: Blemished or not. Four piles in the end.
Pretty dull, I know. But the flies, man, the flies. Like nothing I’ve ever experienced. So many. And the buzzing. Relentless. Kept thinking that one of the Four Horsemen was moments away. Pestilence, I guess.

A picture of some people who once lived where I now live some time ago. The place looks about the same today. I sat on the porch there on the right– with the flies.

The photo doesn’t have anything to do with this post. I noticed it and decided to put it in.

It’s a happy picture. Or at least, I think. I suppose people don’t typically photograph sadness. Well, not their own.

Maybe there’s a parallel universe where everything is the same except people are brutally honest about themselves and their lives on facebook. No showing off or image-crafting. I wonder how that would change things– the ripples, I mean. Would it be a better world? A world with less sickness?

I don’t know. But I know, here in this universe, I’m utterly tired of what has happened to social media. When I was much younger, I somehow came across the Hacker’s Manifesto. Looking back, sure, it’s a bit juvenile but those words have come to define my ideal form of the Internet.

Too much confusion

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Took a bit of a hiatus there. Maybe I needed that. Was also out of state for a few days, so…

Stopped looking at weather reports. Odd, since I’m concerned about it on a day-to-day level. Maybe, I think, it’s because I can’t do anything about it. Might be hot or cool or rainy or cloudy– but I still go on regardless. At least not looking at weather reports means I’m always surprised and never disappointed in predictions that never come true.

I was in St. Paul, by the way. There were some rough spots there, with the person I was visiting and our relationship. I wanted things to go better. Want isn’t enough. Things, however, ended on a positive upswing. It’s just… I could see us both falling into some of our old patterns– the same models we both know don’t work. I think we eventually realized and, knowledge being half the battle, were able to get through it. But any answers, any predictions, remain blurry.

In a sense, the line I quoted in my very first post still rings true: I’m right on the edge on this one. I don’t know what’s supposed to happen next.

On Friday, I was here:

Next, on the following day, we made the mistake of going to Mall of America. The day before, keep in mind, I was on a farm where I typically see no one for almost all of my time. I’ve gotten used to that. Then, suddenly, people everywhere. This massive space, it felt like it went on forever, and there was barely a space to go where people weren’t moving into. It was a bit much for me.

So, suddenly, I was here:

Though it kind of set things off in a poor direction, didn’t it? I could feel myself withdrawing from the crowds, becoming quiet. A certain anxiety was in the mix. I just wanted to get the hell out of there.

On a lighter note, when I first arrived, I imagined the mall was a generational spaceship. It felt like that, I swear. This giant space, sort of turning inwards on itself, no windows– nothing to see, after all, but empty space.

And nearly 13,000 parking spaces.