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Meet me on the equinox, meet me halfway: 2.25.10

As you may recall, I am not a huge fan of the Midwest, particularly in the winter. It is cold there. The kind of cold that bites at your fingers and makes you feel like some paper doll cut out of a person folding under the wind. And it is bland there. The towns are nondescript and too close together to give you that liberated, expansive feel of the real West. But there's still nothing in between them but tracts of empty, brown grassland and Quick Break gas stations. And the towns themselves are usually nothing more than a garish string of fast food places and chain stores strung along a few streets lined with sadly displaced Cape Cod bungalows, dwarfed and cowering under spacious middle American skies.

Jefferson City, the capitol of Missouri, is itself a drab little town, clutching the limestone bluffs above its namesake river and cowed by the supremely massive capitol building. Constructed of some flat, brownish marble that seems to suck the broad, bright sky into the shadowy porticoes beneath its top-heavy dome, the thing is almost ridiculously off scale and looms over the few little hills of the town, visible from miles away before you even cross the trestle river bridge. It was creepy in that Dracula's castle kind of way to see it, eerily back lit by the early morning sun on the westerly approach along flat Route 63. The closer I got, I easily pictured shrieking vultures or some other unpleasant birds circling the dome, screaming into the cold wind.

Fortunately, the only unpleasant, shrieking creatures circling the capitol that day were state legislators, and I sat for over an hour in the little coffee shop across from the capitol watching them dart about. (Although, I will state for the record that there was chocolate, almond, peanut coffee brewed on site there; and boy, was that good and hot.) And then of course, there was the rock slide as I drove out of town, continually peeping into the mirror to check that the dome was in fact receding and reducing in size, and practically plowing into the minivan in front of me that was swerving to avoid all the other cars swerving around the tumbling limestone wall. So long, Jeff City. Let's just all be glad that the town wasn't named Missouriopolis, as originally proposed.

Yes, Missouri. The "Show-Me" state, by which they must mean show me another state because it's got to be better than this one.

ANYway, I went and now I'm back. And driving up 95 into Baltimore last night, along the crook of the highway that curves around like one arm carelessly thrown over the broad shoulder of the South harbor, past the poor little lights down in Cherry Hill, flanked by old faithful coughing smokestacks and hopeful stadiums, picking up the night glare of the far steel rusted ship yard suburbs of Sparrows Point with its slanting skyline of crane necks, I looked down into my own neighborhood's bricked grid of small streets, guided by the bright constellation of Cross Street and the broad dead-ending Fort Avenue. And I realized that each trip this year has felt so much more like a trip because of how I leave home and come back to it.

reflect - reinvent ....rayclaire@gmail.com... what i used to think... what i hear... what i see... where i'd like to be...

the black apple... the girl who... sarah brown... thunderpie... evany... jenny b harris... posie... claude le monde... artsy... fartsy... jeff... random person in texas... another rachel... smitten kitchen... more of me... still more of me... even more of me...and yet still more of me...more of me but not for free...

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