emma b. says

Monday, July 11, 2005

Mostly these last days I've been floating in a cloud of carefree, lapping at sugared clouds and sunshine. Now I am girding for the onslaught of whore moans, and the turnonadime mood swings that are hallmarks a woman on the verge of bloodletting, in all senses of the word.

And because I am not really a writer, I am seeking to justify my wordlessness, when if I really were a writer I would simply part the water with my big toe and temperature willing wade in.

And if I were a lumberjack I would be running log to log on a wide and slow river and would pitch and roll with the current no matter how fleet my feet, and my flannel shirt is soaked and I might be half panicked, but I am flying now like I have never flown before, out running the current for that sweet half second before I lose my footing and get sucked under all of that heavy water and heaving timber.

We are driving down the delta, in the late afternoon, shifting in sunburns. The sunlight is yellow and slanting and cinema picture perfect from the dash board. Waterskiiers and wakes, impromptu fountains, river shacks and speedboats, close enough to hear the crack of a bud from the roadside, laconic harleys and draw bridges, and reeds and reeds of green hemming the banks like yards and yards of emerald choker.

We switch back over the levees, it is the fourth of July. My grandfather's birthday, but he's long dead and I have spent the last few days drenched in rose and the swift currents of the Yuba, at the bosom of my beloved compatriots, burnishing our limbs and marinating ribs.

We swim with the stars and watch for snakes, stumble over stray granite and dive in the deep. Spray against the mosquito's, smoke loads of dope and speculate on the nature of the universe, and we dance and strive for flight, and for as much noise as we can possibly conjure the only sad creatures we can possibly irk are the cedars and the bats.

We eat an impossible amount of fried goods at the Washington Hotel as the boys across the river skip stones and in too long shorts and wet t-shirts and shouts. We blend as best we can with the rednecks and the bikers, keep our scorn to a respectful minimum, but our handbags are a dead giveaway, we are in their country now. We girls manage to charm enough to be immemorialized on the wall of shame, which is really quite an honor.

For me it's not so strange, I grew up with that world, and there is the non-redneck, redneck in me that loves it wholeheartedly, whatever their politics may be they keep vigil over their little, lost community with a zeal that borders, well, is ferocious.

I tell all who drive through town (a sort of corner store, a post office, a bar and a trailer park) to heed the 15 mile an hour zone, because the roustabouts like nothing better than to hang out at the demarcation signs and yell at speeders, which may or may not yield an altercation...

But we are crossing the levees, taking back roads all the way from Washington, down 20, all the way into that regrettable cesspool of Marysville, where I miss the turn off and get lost, though I've got a caravan at my tail and I am trying to avail myself to the stars which are notably absent in broad daylight. I make my way with common sense, until I get cut off by the the man in the jeep with the seventies mustache and M and probably would have giggled all the way to sadsack Roseville were it not for -- oh whatever.

On the levee, the late afternoon is breaking and my window is littered with the corpses of bugs, we are coming into Isleton and our caravan of two cars needs to collectively pee. We pull in and Isleton is a town on the delta bereft on this fourth of july, not a soul skitters. But the air is warmed in that delta kind of way and the breeze has but the faintest chill of bay, and so we park and walk into another dimension.

We have walked into oldtimey delta, there are three blue haired ladies on my right, there is an african gray parrot that is cursing in the corner, there is a tin of wilting hotdogs behind me, I think that the bar tender might be a moonlighting Kevin Costner, every voice is pitched deep and raucous with no brand liquor and no brand cigarettes and a deep, deep contempt of weekenders. We, of course, we effete lovers of sadly legit, we connoisseurs of the divest of the dives chew it us like stadium relish, what bar would not be replete with stained glass advertising beds and booze and and a salty parrot who greets you hello, motherfucker. Frankly, it just doesn't get any stranger than that.

Until it does.

(Here it must be noted, that your narrator Emma has a lead foot) And terrified her passengers with her love for passing on a broken yellow line.

I am passing a slough of pokeys when we hit smoke, thick smoke. And the light has suddenly gone all Monet, and our eyes water, and for five minutes we three, P, M and I drive through a dream, a sweet dream of music on the radio and orange sherbet, smoky grey skies and cresting the Antioch bridge with the bay pooling at my wheels and my very beck and call and smokestacks huffing the bluing into the deepening western sky.

But that was a week ago.

On Sunday I was in the park with George.

George and I were first fortified with coffee, before we headed due west through the stomach of the panhandle to examine the dahlias. Still only waist height.

George and I looked at plants.
George and I wanted to feed the ducks.
George and I saw a pair of falcons, he thinks they were hawks but I think that he is wrong.
George and I compared turtles, George and I talked and talked our way though the park.
George and I ate french dip sandwiches.

Jesus, but sweet, sweet jesus summer as sweet and sharp as a maui onion, apple tart and apple sharp with three shades of snowmelt and two parts hot granite and me in the middle making water angels and plums from the cooler and the smell of sunblock and sweat that superbly satisfying ping of a perfect cross court forehand.

I should be so lucky.