Date:95‑09‑27 17:34:49 EDT


To:El Polvo


Dear Dusty,


  The land is old and wise and it loves everything living upon it. You can feel this even here in town. Out on the prairies and in the mountains you feel it clearly. Everywhere you look you feel it looking back and loving you, the way a really old and sweet grandfather or grandmother would.It is enough just to be in the land, on it. It touches your dreams, shapes them, shapes your days and the way you think about stuff, the way you feel, what your decisions come to. So few decisions out here. Everything is easy. Everything is easy. The pace is whatever you want it to be, there is no someone else's gravity pulling at your heels, your pants leg, jumping up on you and veering you off some other way than the way you are on. So few thoughts here. Just a being, you know? It feels like a full day just to walk around and be. Then you see things you might not have before and that feels good. These are treasures, everyday is filled with them, nothing you can sell or store till the price comes up, just things that go into making you what you become that day. Each day is different. Like a topo map, you are different coordinates each day, each hour for that matter. Maybe a peak then a valley, then some burned over forest, then a volcanic plug sticking up out of the plains, then a big cottonwood along Main Street, then three white tailed deer in a new mown alfalfa field, then a maroon 1949 Dodge fluidmatic four door sedan parked three decades ago in a field, the keys still in the ignition. Then a dog sitting in the street, head raised, eyes closed, bathing in new sunlight. Then you're...nothing, not a thought in your head, pure feeling, no destination, no plans, no misgivings, no desires. That's a desirable way to be. It feels so pure and complete.


 I came back a few minutes ago from reading to the first graders at the school for half an hour, there were some beans in the crockpot that had cooked over the night, six big cloves of garlic in there, an onion, salt and peeper, 13 kinds of peas and beans, some fried thin lean ham. I ate out of the pot and it sits in my belly now out here in the office, lies there nestled like a purring cat. Ran into a woman called Sarah Cobb who is bringing by some capsules tomorrow that contain the essences of all these veggies and fruits that have been flash dried, she said she'd leave them inside the front door, I said I'd leave her a check there. Trust, no locks, leave the bike in the yard with no fence, still there in the morning. In San Diego guys'd come into my bedroom and strip off my watch and pj's, kill me in my sleep if I said anything. She had been reading to the third graders. She and her husband Mike own one of the Cobb ranches up towards the Benchmark that raise Charolais for breeding purposes, to bring up the genetic endowment in other less royal herds. She is the town lamplighter, sits on the school board, pushes through things that the normally conservative board members might be reluctant to by themselves. She is out for children, wants the best for them, makes sure everyone knows what there is culturally going on in Choteau and Great Falls, gets art classes for farm children that their parents wouldn't want for them, sweet talks them into it, or bullies them, you know the type. Determined woman, very Irish looking, freckles, big chops, little merry eyes, solid enough to throw a heifer without a rope. She put together a woman's hiking group that goes out for six hours on each friday, different trail up in the mountains each week.


 This guy from Radium Springs has a good idea, what I'm wondering is why he's so cautious when he could turn out a monthly newsletter on his computer right away, I'd even help him with the mailing costs. What's this one issue of the DCJ in 1996? We'll all be gone into Mach 6000 by then, I mean when this shit hits you you have to snap to it and run with it, put everything you got on the line otherwise it doesn't connect. What's he being so cautious about? When yall did the Blue Frog Flyer and me the LT there was no hesitancy that mattered, right? I want a dude that gets all weird and wired and kicks butt to get the stuff flaming off the presses to burn the reader, why else is he being called to do this? That's my beef. The pork, however, is that his magazine will do well. And I'd like to send him stuff, and will.


 Will you send me the specs re getting the rudder pedals and the flight stick so I can do this thing right, huh? Geez I know about arcades and yet what can I do with no steering stuff?? I'll sink the carrier first landing. Help a poor man out, send me where I am sposed to write and send me money.


     We have a pickup, 4x4 Chevvy, extended cab, eight foot bed, v‑8, 357 I think, scats good, solid thing, takes the washboards like a Cadillac and yet carries a 1500 lb payload. It's gold and reddish brown, has a good radio and cassette player, air, tilt wheel, you can see all around through these big windows that give your a 360 degree view, really nice, we're trading in the two cars on it, the local bank financed 80%.


 We pick up a used dryer tomorrow, freezer, good damned beef around here, lean and tender, full of taste, easy to digest, not at all like the SD beef you get in most shops and stores, and it's cheap. Natural gas is cheap here too. How are your wells doing? We have a cellar that we were able to store the boxes that have things we can't use here, the furniture that didn't fit is in the garage to be part of the appointments for the kids' playroom. We're putting in a window on the south side to open the garage and make it warm and cozy, will insulate the walls ourselves and put up plywood to sandwich it. Had a carpenter over who lives here, Nathan Sassar who lived in Redondo Beach for a long time, surfer guy, he has a cousin we met in the wood cutting area a few days back name of Mike Jones, one eye sort of big and the other small and scrunchy, like the guy in Treasure Island, who is single handledly taking down that one cutting area through sheer will and physical strength plus breaking every rule that goes with the cutting area like not cutting commercially, not driving beyond spur roads where the ribbons are wrapped around a tree, not driving where there is no road because of the replanting, since this was an old cut the loggers worked 50 years ago. Anyway Nathan had his little daughter Christina with him, he takes her on his jobs, his mom in Redondo has her in Day Care all day and with sitters all night so the little girl wasn't getting much loving and true care. He showed us a bunch of pictures of his jobs in Redondo and it looks good, he'll come do the work next Wednesday. He wants a dollar a linear foot to put in the molding along the new vinyled floors in the kitchen, bath and utility room which we call the back porch, and that is too much, I have a miter box and can do it easy.


 The house looks good, it's half the size of our other but I like the feeling of it, the warmth, the way it brings us together, we can always go out on the bike or walk or come out here if we need to be alone, or take one of the kids and go explore, or go cut wood. I'll pick up a chainsaw tomorrow. Hard to think we haven't seen everything in town but we've just scratched the surface. I bike out the highway west of town toward the Haystack, a volcanic plug that is our landmark and which you can see 50 miles away from the north, rode out four miles yesterday, increasing it by a half mile or so each day. Ahhhhhh. Love this place, truly.


 You called his girlfriend what???!!!!




  Augusta Horowitz



Return to The Letters Index