Saturday, November 10, 2007

Morning Walk

I'm working around the clock to get the project done. Each day is a swift kick in the groin then it's gone. Where are my hours, man?
I catch a little sanity in the wee hours. I walk quick-like around and through York. People wave and some comment. Walking is common here but I look like a maniac.
Anyway, I often bring my little camera and I catch things. This world down here is a real different world sometimes - almost all the time - and I see things I've never seen before. I stop and take it in.

We're conditioned to think a certain way about White People in trailers. Our culture is rife with derogatory terms for these low-income, often extremely poor, marginalized people. A woman and her grown-up son, who I first thought were husband and wife, live in this here run-down dwelling. It's right beside the railroad tracks on an abandoned lot. The trains scream through town and shake the earth with their clacking and the cars seem to stretch for a mile or more. I live a few blocks from these tracks and I'm still having a bit of a hard time with the noise, much as I love trains, so I can't imagine what it's like to live right up under those powerful engines as they pass. But you get used to it, as they say.
Kate and Jed cook outside and gather things to sell. They'll sweep your porch or wash a window for change. She has all kinds of clever ideas on how to make some money.

They're fine neighbors. But Kate has a major potty mouth - really dirty. Jed gets embarrassed when she starts going off. He fidgets and tries to change the subject. Kate waves and smiles at people passing by, then she might say something quite cutting about them under her breath. It's hilarious. Kinda like Bonita Bitrell on that TV show.

Poverty is terrible and poverty will never go away. Some rise. Some don't. I'm comfortable being in a place where it's at least a little easier for the poor to hold to their humanity.
It's not gonna be so easy goofing on Trailer Trash and White Trash and all that anymore. It's class-based bias anyway, and that's uglier than anything.

This is their little dog. Dogs are everywhere. Most dogs are tied to trees and objects. Leashes tend to be short, food scarce and bad. Days are spent wallowing in dirt because the grass has worn away. Chained dogs go berserk when you pass. They are biological, carbon-based alarm systems. Unchained dogs just stare at you. They lie in the yard or out by the road. They chase a squirrel and get killed by a car.

This vulture's been standing at the foot of the water tower for weeks. Maybe more than a month. It can't fly. Too young or too crippled. It is a sight to see. It's quite large and looks like something out of Edward Gorey or some Sci-fi horror. It wears a cape and a bumpy, pointed, black leather mask. I'll never get a good photo of it. Not with this camera. So I found some oil and a stick and a piece of parchment and did this drawing for you!

There's no shortage of food for the dark bird on this quiet stretch of back road. This possum was a full possum the day before. The scavengers did a number on it. Next day it was a meaty cavity. It's expression had gone from peaceful rest to silent scream.

Ah. The beautiful fauna. The Kudzo and the Pine. The Sedges and the Rushes. You just want to dive in or go charging off in some random direction - into the lush green density. But you can't. Not without proper gear. There's things that stick you and poison you. There's holes in the earth to swallow you forever. There's highly offended creatures with sharp teeth, snakes willing to kill, and hunters looking to kill. You'll need boots up to there, heavy clothes that cover all skin, a hat, a gun and maybe a cat.

The elusive wild red fire hydrant also grows there so bring a dog too.


It was a beautiful day. I had a workshop in Cuba. About 20 minutes down the road. The car, the tree, the house, and the red caboose posed for this shot. They go together well. The whole cartoony antiqueness of it all reminded me of Maakies, Tony Millionaire's insane but beautiful comic strip.

Alabama is literally overflowing with antiques, collectibles, and junk. It's great. You'll find shops jam-packed with attractive old crap in every town, even the smallest, remotest places like Cuba. And cheap.

Uncle Gabby and Drinky Crow would appreciate this stove.

Towns are quiet and no one is around. I think the big bad Summer heat has trained everybody to stay indoors all year, regardless of cooler weather. I like this. I like pulling into these quiet but open places.

Everything's laid out properly. I leave the vehicle and walk about, pretending I'm on the Twilight Zone, feeling a little larger than life.