Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Will Someone Stop This Train

This train never runs on time - lucky for me, or I would have missed
it. I almost flew. Thought two days in a chair, part of it through
the desert, was not the way for me to go. But, no. I needed to bring
my desktop computer, too big for carry on, too fragile for baggage
claim. So, here I am; with a fraction of my stuff packed, most left
on the floor of my kitchen - dishes, foodstuff, my copper pots (sigh)
and too many clothes in the living room. It's cheaper to carry stuff
on the train: 3 checked bags, two big carry ons plus personal items,
then $10 each for three more bags and boxes. Suits me. Mostly
clothes, my beaded Huichol masks, my sons dvds and games. I'll need
to come back. I'll take the train.

Outside: boulders that look like petrified giant poop, heavenly green
meadows the color of a crayon, guys mooning me from their rafts on
the Colorado, ellos me dan saludos con las nalgas - sin verguenzas -
takes cold balls, two of them. The sun shaves light from the
mountains as the canyons shut down for the day. Fat geeze graze
beside the river y yo sin el horno. Lots of fish in the crystalline
river, their bubble heads and finned fannies flash and bob. I love
the islands in the stream. Yes, there are, although not even close to
Hemingway's. Just outside of Kremmling, at Dotsero, my favorite 356
miles begins, as I play and replay John Mayer's "Stop This Train."
"Although I know I'm color blind/ I know the world is black and
white" as are these canyons, and green and red where the rain and sun
play off the cliffs. I spotted my first eagle from this train, so
many far years ago, a bald one. "I'm so afraid of growing old/ I'm
only good at being young." A fork in the river appears, a side
confluence. And a small hole in the cliff with a rivulet running
through it. We thread in and out of tunnels like the times in our
lives when the brightest light is when we emerge from the dark, from
the scent of coal and creosote.

I love this travel, this always going somewhere while ever going
nowhere, this state of being in no state but the mind's flight of
fancy and muse. I love the muddy patches of the river as much as the
clear whorls. I love the rapids as much as the muddy shoals. I love
the layering of these trips, maybe at least twenty, one for every
year I first ventured this way, thinking and dreaming and smelling
Grandma's string-tied shoe boxes of fried chicken and cornmeal
cupcakes. How she would love this leg; she, one of California's first
back-packers, mountain girl, like me, riding her silver spurred horse
through the Montecito granite. She always approved of my nifty
equipment, way back when I was fueled and funded by nothing but
desire, a desire to leave, to be alone in my aloneness, for the
mountains where I could spew my heart in peace, and sing. This train
is late, almost too dark for pictures as the brilliant meadows unfurl
and the sun does a final reel on the river. It warms my cheeks and
heart. My heart, so full an apparatus. " generation's length
away/ .... Stop this train/ I want to get off/ and go home again."

Now entering the painted books and sarcarphagi, the cut boulders that
look like coffins for the giants who pooped their lives away. A huge
water wheel beside the river, my favorite, lodged between the
confluence looking like an abandoned ferris wheel without a child.
Won't someone hold me here? Snag me like the biggest fish and keep me
in the net? Land my red shirt here, in the greenest freshest meadow
of calm, and set the flame? "Won't someone stop this train?" I note
every for sale sign I see, and dream, and play the numbers in my
head, my ticket to life in that gazebo on the bank. I love how the
canyons peel, the huge flakes and the little shards like arrowheads
in the rubble. My mother used to say that the boulder figurines on
the top of the ridge back home were "wild Indians" who had come to
take me home. And even though I was old enough to know better, I
still always squinted into the distance, seeing their feathered
headdresses, and worried. Here, this train I'm on, I'm the wildest
Indian I see. By far.

I pick apart the memories: this train here, that travel there, and it
all unravels, the poem I started and never finished on those many
trips back and forth between my future and my past - now lived in
reverse order, like a real life negative, where my future is my past
and the recent time, my future unfurling past me in the left behind.
There are those places in the river where it all stops, like a
stunned fish stoned on the excess oxygen. Here, where the big fish
live, where they stop and read the red stone books in this canyon,
the black and the white, the wear and the sustenance. The river
threads its needle in and out the man-made bridges, it jumps track
again and again, switches sides at will. I play at willing it back to
me, asking it to speak to me, gurgle its rich secrets into my ear
along with this tune I'm listening to, the twinkling rapids, the
tinkling guitar.

"Don't stop this train
Don't even think for a minute
that you can."


Blogger Lyle Daggett said...

This is just beautiful, Lorna. Loved reading this.

27/6/07 20:46  
Blogger Sheryl said...

This IS beautiful Lorna.


29/6/07 11:21  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More
$223,693,000,000 The Most Expensive Impeachment In History!
Cost of the War in Iraq
To see more details, click here.
Radical Women of Color Bloggers
Join | List | Previous | Next | Random | Previous 5 | Next 5 | Skip Previous | Skip Next