My only memory of Lucy was being too young to walk into what must have been her church, and she carrying me in, and many black singing faces coming down close to my own, smiling; them passing me around and pinching my cheeks. Lucy told me not to tell Granny, just to keep it to ourselves. I never forgot, though. The heat is so oppressive here in the Peach State that even the buzz of cicadas seems sluggish, difficult. The mosquitoes attack the windows, big as moths and thirsty for blood. Then we traveled a little bit and ended up living in Tucson a few months.
SO the summer of 79 I just realized is when we went to Alaska, so we talked about that.
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And that was probably September. We had a little bit of money so I think we backpacked around, we must have ended up somewhere in the southern part of the states, probably southwest because it was warmer.
Where the Creosote Blooms - azilurot.tk
Yeah, we did hitchhike some. And we got hired on in Mammoth Lakes at the Motel 6. But it was nice, we had a room and a hot plate we cooked our meals on, I craved hot fudge sundaes. There was a little ice cream bar across the street. There were a couple of nice girls there, one was an Indian girl we became pretty good friends. She was working there too. No Native American. And of course that job ended, I got tired easily and I was starting to show by then I think.
Yeah, and we ended up living in a bus.
I think he had already traveled that route. Course they had big swap meets there in the winter and you can live on nothing.
Where the Creosote Blooms
Living in a car limits your environment, seasonally. I remember the sweet smell of pine sap and the soft needles underfoot that let you creep up on unsuspecting brothers, the glistening black carpenter ants that hurried up the superhighways of the ponderosas which seemed plain as lighted roadways to the ants, the highways that you could strain your eyes and imagine you too could see.
I remember the hush and sighs of the forest, the caws of crows and the yammering blue jays, the tap-tap-tap of the brilliant woodpeckers. I remember how a short walk would take you into the woods, away from anyone. I would settle down beneath a tree and read or write in my journal, cushioned by bark or perched on lichened-softened rocks, I would revel in the protection of the forest.
After empty deserts, I felt so protected, so hidden, between the trees. We were living in the car, then, either sleeping in the back or the tent. Just our food, to keep it from bears.
We were out miles from the edge of Mammoth, tucked into a quiet pocket of the John Muir Wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas. Years later, I picked up a photograph of an eagle at a yard sale. Occasionally we would see rangers, but they left us alone. We were happy being kids, and the forest was a playground made just for us.
She was warm and friendly, and loved books almost as much as I did. Right away she got me a library card, and handed me the first list for the summer reading program so I could get started. After the first week, the amazement on her face changed to a welcoming smile. She wrote me letters for years General Delivery or to P.
Boxes in Nevada or Oregon or Arizona, telling me about her husband, sons, and her dog. Another touchstone, and a very grateful little girl. There were people we saw in what passed for regularly. We would be around the same place at around the same time on certain years, and we would be camped next to other wanderers that had a pattern that followed the seasons as ours did. Call it happenstance, or just people being people and needing some kind of routine.
One of these families of regulars was the Millers, a bunch of redneck Okies that fit any stereotype you could come up with for Okies. They had thick accents that we thought meant they were dumb, and they were pretty dumb, which we thought meant they were Okies.
Not having much to compare them to, we listened to my dad when he said they were all like that. He put them somewhere in the same categorical area as Mexicans. The old Millers, Mr. It really was just a junction, with a post office. The food stamp check would come General Delivery to the Vidal post office, and then it would be time for a trip of such bounty that we could barely think about it without getting shivers of joy. We might get ice cream which had to be eaten right away, and maybe real store milk instead of the thin excuse for milk, powdered milk, that Mom bought because it kept without a refrigerator.
We would be away from Dad for a whole day, a day where we were all lighter and freer than any other time. Mom smiled more, too, when we went to town, and all of us loved to see her smile. Miller had a particular way of talking, a combination of a gasp and her Oklahoma accent, and she would cut off the ends of words in a way that made mocking her particularly fun.
Once, we ran into the Millers in a parking lot outside of Lake Havasu. We were each spending the night there on our way to other places.
Meaning of "creosote" in the English dictionary
Dad came back from visiting with them late into the night, his breath smelling of their beer and a twisted smile on his face. They were sitting around telling the story to me, him glaring at her over his beer. It was one of those phrases that stuck deep in our family vocabulary. We were living in Vidal when Dad traded something at the Bly swapmeet, probably a gun, for a four-seater dune buggy with an American eagle on the roof and an engine that was failing rapidly. It broke down far out in the desert often enough that it stopped being fun and Dad traded on up for an old station wagon.
It is resting your face against the cool glass of a window in the hot of night in the desert, of seeing endless stars float silently above the backs of dark, sullen mountains, the whir of the tires and the warm sleepy feeling in the base of you, where your seat meets the car. It is not knowing where tomorrow is, nor caring when it arrives. It hides low between hills, cradling the precious water that flows into the big man-made lake as if trying to keep it from the greedy sun.
Spring-breakers know it as a good place to get naked and drunk and fall off cliffs, and the guys with the boats far too big for inland lakes like to come and beat up a good wake to make it harder for the water-skiers and wake boarders to have a good time. The shores will be lined with people bobbing apple-like and red in the middle of truck tire tubes with cans of beer held just above the water.
The tourists will be out snapping pictures of the London Bridge, moved stone-by-stone from London and rebuilt here as a tourist attraction. That, and my first friend Jacci lives there now with her beautiful family. If we were headed south it was usually 95, south from Vegas or Needles or Kingman. All of these towns we knew well, where we could park without being bothered, where we could take a shower and where the parks were so we could get out and play and stretch our legs.
We spent a lot of time at city parks, making picnics, taking naps in the grass, scaring the town kids. He had some property out in the middle of the desert where he took his extra wrecked vehicles, and where he liked keep a trailer for himself and his wife Bobbi-Jo to get some peace and quiet once in a while.
Follow 95 south of Parker, and where it splits into 72 follow 72 to Bouse. Now scroll out farther, and farther, following 40 miles or so of the dirt roads snaking seemingly pointless across the brown flat desert. I had a particular feeling of dread when we were headed out there, moving there for the winter or sometimes, oh holy Jesus no , for the summer. I dreaded the isolation, the long weeks or months with no one and nothing around as far as you could see.
We got to where we could hear vehicles coming from hours away, where we could feel the slight change in the atmosphere as an engine grew closer until we could hear it with our ears. Or Jim is coming next week sometime! But there is something about the desert, yes. There is something that digs its claws into your soul, and makes you forever its possession.
There are the brilliant skies, the countless stars, the way the day-hidden life awakens as the sun slips away for the day, the day the monsoons come and everything blooms for a week before it dies. There is the season for the ocotillos to bloom, the time for hummingbirds, the migration of geese far overhead. There is great beauty out there. Park the car, shut off the engine, and listen. I was the only kid born in Arizona. The rest were born in California. Where else do you choose? The ocean, movie stars, wilderness areas with ski resorts and massive red trees.
Instead of beautiful California, most of our time in the state was spent in the ugliest and loneliest areas Dad could find. At night the long, mournful howl of the train lulled me to sleep, something in my soul stirring in response to it. In the Colorado Desert it grows in creosote scrub. It grows in scrub in the Yuma Desert , east of the Colorado River. Though it usually flowers between February and October, it may bloom nearly year-round depending on winter weather conditions.
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