The San Joaquin Valley is an endless canvas. Fields of emerald stretch for miles. There’s a cow. Gone. Sheep drift and settle like clouds. Gone. Wind whips my face. Palm trees appear as if out of place. I inhale the sweet smell of citrus.
Is this Heaven? I don’t believe in God. Somewhere else there’s a war. What’s this holy feeling pressing down on me? If God exists, he’s hiding in those mountains. I’ll pray for all you suburban squares and do gooders.
This is truth. The southern sky laces crimson before it turns dark. At this pace, we’ll roll into town ahead of nightfall. Hills bank and the road snakes on. Up and down, up and down. This is life.
My buddy Jack, shouts above the Indian’s drone, “Long, hot summer ahead.”
At the last moment, he’d dropped his tools and joined me on the road. People don’t ask too many questions. We travel light and fast.
I nod. Freedom, man.
There’s no itch for smokes or shots. Cruising an open road is enough of a high. We’ll find a tavern where the drinks are flowing, somewhere after sunset.
~Summer of ’51, ‘tidal prose’