The DeKalb Era–a not-so-postmodern postmortem

After the haze of the last few weeks of discarding all sorts of personal memorabilia in preparation for the move, a thought beyond logistics had not emerged. My life packed up in a 12-foot yellow moving van, I rumbled and bounced toward the 400-mile day on the road, wife following in the black Highlander with the dog. I noticed the corn is the height it needs to be; Nicole’s grandfather echoed in my mind: the corn should be “knee-high by the 4th of July.” It’s mid-shin. Things are right on track.

I adjusted my driving. Went the speed limit. Battled the crosswinds. Struggled at times to stay out of the ditch. Thoughts of anything other than staying alive were not emerging. It’s been far too rare in my post-Korea epoch that driving provided any sort of meditation, strange collaboration of the outside world and my inner life. In spite of a well-curated 15-hour playlist set to random, the likes of Frank Black and the Catholics, Rush, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Radiohead, or a piano tribute to Tool did not jog a thought. That is until 100 miles south where the corn is already chest-high by the 25th of June.

Django Django’s “Default” knocked something loose. The new ideas disparate, but the beat of the song sounded like a hand slapping a knee, goading some sort of deliciously perverse square-dance between reality and other. And a set of four songs seemed a soundtrack to a storyline yet to be aligned: Soundgarden’s “Mind Riot”, The Bravery’s “Tragedy Bound”, Rush’s “The Trees”, and Audioslave’s “Moth.” I took up the jigsaw presented by random play. The story involves destruction. And that is all I could tell you right now. But I tried to procure something from the sights.

Meaning be damned? Very post-modern.

North of Springfield, Springfield, south of Springfield, north of St. Louis. The corn was head-high, yellow tassels atop. Man on a motorbike, a portion of his life and a stuffed Yoda strapped to the back. Dead coyotes. No dead deer. Dead raccoons, ringtails fluttering in the wind of passing traffic. A horse trailer abandoned along the road. Dead horses? The rolling hills of central and southern Missouri along Route 67. Why isn’t there any logging here? 100 miles north of Poplar Bluff, there is a stretch of abandoned motels and filling stations while fully-functioning churches dot the landscape.

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