Further observations of Oklahoma:
The landscape, geography, topography smoothing out, like two ends of a coil pulled farther and farther apart. Slowly. Mile after mile. The hills longer. Gentler. Not so sharp and jagged, but worn like an old, old saw blade.
Hay baled in bales, each rolled up like a single piece of taffy and placed musically throughout their fields, like the pits in the plates of an antique music box, ticking little teeth to play a silent score. The score of the tractor and the farmer, the flycatcher and kingbird, of the changing seasons, and, once, of the sweat and toil that is still practiced in small pockets, remote areas of the world where the people still rely on milk from their cows to survive the winter, and the hay that they grow sustains them in their mountain villages. It is a music that often isn’t heard, and one need no musical instruments to play it, nor a knowledge of theory or scales to understand it. It is the rhythm of a life lived simply, and it is felt in the blood and in the skin.
The ancient windmill erect and lonely in a field of wheat, it’s blades twisted and broken, no longer spinning freely, exuberantly in the rushing wind, but dangling from its axis like the shadow of a Calder mobile—sad, and delicate, and beautiful—or like Nanantatee’s “poor broken crutch of an arm” in H. Miller’s Tropic of Cancer.
The butterflies, just the size of a quarter, in chalky shades of yellow, blue and brown,
that dance across the highway, some singly, others in pairs—a duet in four dimensions, turning round and round and round each other, swooping up and down in elegant dress, like some Japanese in his-and-hers best kimonos celebrating the new day like it is a new year.
The little beetles with their glinting, hard carapaces that shine like plate armor, skittering across the road, legs moving like a pianists’s fingers playing a prestissimo.
The traffic on the interstate, which parallels route 66, and seems to sail by in the distance like ships on an horizon.
Clouds at the end of the day which look as if they were applied to the sky with a palette knife—a steely, grey-blue smeared onto an aged, slightly yellowed canvas.
Fields of wheat, golden-blonde and pea-green shimmering under the afternoon sun, every stalk leaning in unison with the wind, beautiful like a head of hair, like the Greek gods, like cracked and ancient pottery, like archaeological sites going on and on seemingly forever like the Euphrates and Tigris rivers through Mesopotamia when giants still strode the land.
A sign advertising astronaut Thomas P. Stafford as from Weatherford, OK,
And another sign advertising Garth Brooks as from Yukon.