Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Phenomenology of Red Shift: Prologue

Prologue: Convergence

A red-tailed hawk circumscribes ellipses above Craters of the Moon. A field mouse disappears into shadows.  An orchestra of desolation, quiet and surreal, echoes the burring of the motor across the sagebrush. Rocks: Basaltic chunks jettison out in jagged edges along the highway. Stories of igneous tell histories of great reptiles long ago buried during the Jurassic period’s breakup of Pangaea. Maybe, perhaps, a Shoshone warrior hunted antelope next to a forgotten volcano. Sweeps of time swell across the unchanging wind circumscribing footsteps traced in the dust of Mormon pioneers creating gridded roads, columns run North-South with rows sprinting East-West. Planted crops grow from Yellowstone’s great explosion. Politicians argue a case for Washington’s statehood against the Dakota Territory’s filibuster. In the margins, a territory is drawn within the shadows of Chief Joseph’s exodus across the daunting Sawtooths; Teutonic and Nordic earnestness swept west across the Oregon Trail, cultivating Southern sagebrush along the scar of the Snake into acres of alfalfa, potatoes, and grain. Wild ranges tamed by barbed wire and irrigation canals. “Free” land earned through the plows digging up Earth in the search for valuable water sources. Artesian wells hide in box canyons where coyotes scavenged the arid dust. While the Southern valleys are beaten to submit, Northern anarchists bomb silver mines in protest of “oriental” property rights.
            The motor’s whirr made jackrabbits freeze, absent minded of any danger. The Hummer, Tom Worthright’s Hummer, America, sketched its path East across old Highway 20. Tom Worthright, energy investor and part-time philanthropist for the National Rifle Association, thought about energy. Grand epiphanies of energy: energy and how much money can be made on Middle East oil, inter-mountain west’s hydro-power, luscious coal from the bowels of West Virginia, wind power from California’s Mojave. Oil futures dotted his inner thoughts…
            The road, empty, laid itself out for Tom. Snow banks in the nascent stages of melting in the ides of March guided him towards his retreat home. A home spread out on 25 acres of prime Idaho real estate, gated with black iron and electric fences. Llama and emus, apparently the new-wave of livestock investing, grazed the south side. Tom’s one million dollar retreat, vacant for most of the year, built from oak lacquered to a lemon color. Inside the six-bedroom, three and half baths house, mounted heads of moose, elk, antelope, and white-tails stood look-out over Native American dream catchers and turquoise dance dresses beaded in multitude of colors. Landscape paintings of mountains and river cascades hung on the along the burnt oak vaulted ceilings. One painting, decorated on a forgotten slab of an old horse barn, of a pheasant stealing away across an autumn field of orange and brown greeted visitors going up the wooden staircase. The history of the American West sat quiet in Tom’s estate; it was gathered from auction, some public, but mostly private, where businessmen buy history and abscond with their treasure to secured fortresses. A few privileged by class, and the contracted part-time cleaners who have to hide their stares, have the opportunity to witness this collection. All of this waited for Tom’s triumphant return; the return rolled up on Highway 20 in a black Hummer2 with tinted windows…
            Cum on feel the noise! Girls rock the boys! We’ll get wild, wild, wild!” The Alpine system rocked Quiet Riot through the wind tunnel of Benji Olsen’s green‘84 Silverado with a red fuel pump system, grime—a solution of dirt and gasoline—slowly inching its way up. Sunflower seeds seemed to be thrown in chaos across the floorboards. On the rear window, a Winchester 30-30 cradled the gun rack, waiting for a chance to snipe rock chucks sunning themselves on the rock shelves of the prairie. The smoke from Benji’s Marlboro whistled through the cracked driver’s window.
            Benji’s hangover knocked in his temples. Tina’s going to be pissed, he thought. The morning drive from Gooding back to Fairfield was a lesson in endurance. He turned right off of 46 and onto Highway 20. Wild, wild, WILD! Coors Light’s silvery after-taste etched its rice fermented flavor on his tongue. I should have called, but Bobby Rydalch kept buying those Cuervo shots. Goddamn Bobby and Jose Cuervo and the silver bullet. I’ve gotta drop by Ray Johnson’s place and fill up the stacker before… Tina is going to kill me. My shit is probably already on the porch. Rock salted snow melt pelted his Silverado’s windshield. So you think my singin’s out style, well, it makes me money!
            Tina Jones was the toughest girl he ever met and perhaps the sexiest; one exception was Rosa from Richfield. They grew up together, Tina and Benji. Benji one year older, but he could always her remember with him. They blew up frogs with firecrackers in the ditch along the compacted dirt road near their homes. The blasts echoed through the corrugated pipe running underneath the lane. On summer days ‘til last summer when the two moved in together, they would inner tube down the Little Camus River. When Benji was thirteen, he started to notice Tina’s long brown hair, wet, stuck on her shoulders. He knew at that moment that he was in love. The two were inseparable from the time he first kissed her after the 8th grade formal-the wild 80’s. The next year, even though he was in high school, the two would still have lunch together on the grass field that separated the kindergarten through eighth grade building and the high school. During summer vacations, she would bring his lunch when he swathed the alfalfa fields across Camus valley. His allergies would make him tear up and sneeze, but she would give long strong kisses after lunch. Benji would always try and cop a feel and Tina would always hit him hard on his shoulder. On good days, she would flash him before she got into her brown Toyota Corolla.  Her hair always did stick to her shoulders…
            Mayor Wilfred P. Farnsworth scrambled onto his gray International Harvester grumbling about the impending snow storm, eighteen inches last time. Grab a load before it starts shitting. He gazed at the dark gray mass swallowing the western edge of the valley. It’s going to be colder than a witch’s tit…get them cows fed and get back before Mabel gets out of bed. The tractor growled at the crunchy soil, transitioning into mid-morning mud; black smoke rose from the stack blowing prayers of carbon. The thirty minute ride down Highway 20 to the west pasture waited the mayor. Mushers play tomorrow. The high school basketball playoffs tickled Wilfred’s white whiskers. A championship during an election year meant a certain re-election. Ah, hell, I’ve been mayor for forty years. The election is as certain as this friggin’ snowstorm and hungry cows and Mabel’s sourdough pancakes on Sundays. The International jutted forward down the lane, over the cattle guard, and made a right onto Highway 92 heading west toward town. Grain silo’s stood in contrast against the sky, skyscrapers of the pastoral…
            Highway 20, a particle accelerator, split the Camus prairie in half leading from the Sun Valley and Ketchum’s Highway 75 in the East toward the rolling hills near Anderson Ranch Reservoir in the West, Quaking Aspens from the reservoir would transition to the sagebrush plateau above the Magic Valley to the South. Soldier Mountain shielded the Camus valley from the rugged back country in the North.  A heavy metal black Hummer, a hydrogen nucleus pulled by magnets heading east. The hot tub will be great after the champagne party. What is that ahead of me? Dot-dot-dot solid yellow, the patterns painted on the road give direction and warning. Fuckin’ headache…I hate refueling equipment with the smell of gasoline. Tractor ahead…Wild! Wild! Wild! Fence posts, limbs of deforested trees ties with loose barb wire, guide the green Silverado, noble, inert, immoveable. Maybe I’ll drive down and watch Hagerman play to scout out the competition. Sometimes, the universe wields its authority in perplexing ways; Today, the universe wielded a mysterious figure…What the hell? (echoed in harmonious consonance) A dark figure, half-hidden in the frozen frog, climbed out of primordial whiteness…Is that a guy in a gorilla suit? (The chorus asks). The figure, half circumambulating—half sprinting, sprang from the upside of the ditch to the right of the Southern Idaho Farmers’ Cooperative. The figure appeared to dance its way through the willows and onto Highway 92. If we beat the Pirates…Holy Jesus! What is that? No! George?  The International swerved to the left crossing the yellow threshold. I want to fill that hot tub with Champagne and naked….A speck of black with orange sparks of hell fire fluttered in front of the International, a weak nuclear force trying to draw the electrons to closer energy levels. A wall of green came from behind the faded gray mass of tightly bound silver metallic bonds. Compounds collided, elements created in the nuclear heart of an ancient supernova explosion finally met in the super collider highway. Flash. Quanta, electrons, protons, neutrons, fermions, and positrons, confirm Planck’s constant, energy multiplied by momentum multiplied by distance, creation through destruction, a mono-myth since the Big Bang; a cosmic dance of invisible particles communicated, defying Einstein, in entropy, scattering in directions of space-time. Thoughts become immersed in the millisecond of Shiva’s return showing three tunnels of white light, converging into oblivion. Redemption, forgiveness, and childhood become reborn in unrecognizable formlessness. Mysterious gravitons traveling between invisible membranes gathered the heavier elements, calcium, aluminum, copper, gold fillings, and carbon into scattered projectiles crashing into slushy snow, dihydrogen monoxide sublimated into escaping gases. Tinted glass settled onto an unhinged bumper. Noxious smoke from blackened rubber choked the return to zero.
            Meanwhile, on silent two lane highway, the mysterious figure escaped unscathed into the underbrush of irrigation canals toward the browns of the southern plateau. The witnesses to this mystery disappeared in the ether. All that was left was a crumpled up note sticking in an enormous bare footprint on the side of the highway that read, “0=1-1.”

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