November 29th, 2010 -- "Life in the Sun, 1894"

"Life in the Sun, 1894"

Todd placed his tools in the dirty dry of the wood bin, the heavy things hitting the cracking, splintering planks with a heavy metal clank, a hollow plop and metallic tumble as they rolled over each other awkwardly in a slide to the leaned side of the rusty cart, the dipped end frying in the sun and mixing in the brightness of it all in a near-white beige like a far off dynamite fire. Shade cut the shape of the box in sharp triangles that led off and out of the cart to the cooling ground beneath. Far off sounds of many bugs in heat filled the sweating air with an electric, living hum, a moving buzz with frantic shifts in tone, a sound with a smell.

It was 1894, he was thirty-six years old, and Grover Cleveland was the president of the nation. Todd had purchased the plot of land he was working as part of an expanded, free, labor deal that allowed for the buying of land on the cheap for the purposes of cultivating a thriving, rural economy in otherwise arid, tough regions - places of grit and salt, places where you grow things far in the damp ground deep down under the dry tops near the sun.

Potatoes. Peanuts. Legumes. Tubers. Candy from the planet that will turn a buck pretty slowly and steadily until there is no hot weather left in the tank, until the water from the world tosses itself up and into the air and comes back down in the frigid snap of winter as bright white, a hoary toss down a windy flume that puts all activity to sleep for months.

Sweating, Todd pulled liquid off the back of his neck with one hand while swiping away the cooling wet on his chest under the sun-bleached bandana around his neck. He pulled at the fingers of his gloves, took them off, clapped them together, and tossed them into the cart with the tools. Black, glossy leather and worn patches of light brown animal skin heated immediately in the bright in the back of the cart as Todd picked up the rig by the handles.

Two o'clock hot, wood wheels bolstered by plates and pins over blasted rocks, the shifting sounds of shoes that need a cobbler, dust-colored everything.

Todd walked home, ate an early supper, and spent the rest of the hot evening on the porch with a stinky pipe, smoking slowly and watching the nineteenth century count away before nightfall.


Bea Modisett said...

What are these materials? Looks like some paint, some digital and some collage?

Andrew Marathas said...

It's all digital, Bea!