By Jon Loomis
You're seventeen and tunnel-vision drunk,
swerving your father's Fairlane wagon home
at 3:00 a.m. Two-lane road, all curves
and dips--dark woods, a stream, a patchy acre
of teazle and grass. You don't see the deer
till they turn their heads--road full of eyeballs,
small moons glowing. You crank the wheel,
stamp both feet on the brake, skid and jolt
into the ditch. Glitter and crunch of broken glass
in your lap, deer hair drifting like dust. Your chin
and shirt are soaked--one eye half-obscured
by the cocked bridge of your nose. The car
still running, its lights angled up at the trees.
You get out. The deer lies on its side.
A doe, spinning itself around
in a frantic circle, front legs scrambling,
back legs paralyzed, dead. Making a sound--
again and again this terrible bleat.
You watch for a while. It tires, lies still.
And here's what you do: pick the deer up
like a bride. Wrestle it into the back of the car--
the seat folded down. Somehow, you steer
the wagon out of the ditch and head home,
night rushing in through the broken window,
headlight dangling, side-mirror gone.
Your nose throbs, something stabs
in your side. The deer breathing behind you,
shallow and fast. A stoplight, you're almost home
and the deer scrambles to life, its long head
appears like a ghost in the rearview mirror
and bites you, its teeth clamp down on your shoulder
and maybe you scream, you struggle and flail
till the deer, exhausted, lets go and lies down.
Your father's waiting up, watching tv.
He's had a few drinks and he's angry.
Christ, he says, when you let yourself in.
It's Night of the Living Dead. You tell him
some of what happened: the dark road,
the deer you couldn't avoid. Outside, he circles
the car. Jesus, he says. A long silence.
Son of a bitch, looking in. He opens the tailgate,
drags the quivering deer out by a leg.
What can you tell him--you weren't thinking,
you'd injured your head? You wanted to fix
what you'd broken--restore the beautiful body,
color of wet straw, color of oak leaves in winter?
The deer shudders and bleats in the driveway.
Your father walks to the toolshed,
comes back lugging a concrete block.
Some things stay with you. Dumping the body
deep in the woods, like a gangster. The dent
in your nose. All your life, the trail of ruin you leave.
Slow morning getting organized after being gone most of yesterday, did some research, made some phone calls, wrote some Trek news, worked on an article. Got a pissy letter from a Marina Sirtis fan demanding an apology for quoting Sirtis' exact words in a chat with fans, posted on Sirtis' own web site, without first checking with those same fans to find out whether Sirtis would want her negative comments about William Shatner posted "in public" (because apparently Sirtis' own message board is not "in public" but TrekToday is). There was a ROM update for my MDA, which required resetting everything on the phone...the documents could be synced, but I had to put all my voice tags back in, reset the background picture and auto-text and things like that, which took quite a bit of time. miriya_b came over for a late lunch, was exposed to my house in full disaster mode (Halloween costumes still over back of couch, pumpkins slowly decaying inside-out in kitchen), then was exposed to younger son in not-wanting-to-do-homework mode but at least this week he remembered his spelling words so I could test him on them! It's never good when "archaeology" is spelled wrong on the practice list.
Hematite ore from the Catoctin Mountains was processed into iron here starting in the 1770s, initially using charcoal from the forest in the hills. The air for miles around supposedly smelled like rotten eggs.
Nearby, the ruins of the ironmaster's house. A few of the houses of the town remain intact...
...but not this one, which has had its remaining walls shored up so people can visit safely.
The house still looks imposing...
...and the view through the windowframes is gorgeous.
This is what it looked like once upon a time.
Smallville didn't fully hold my attention...too much Lana, too much alien woo-woo, and while I like Chloe and Jimmy together and he's funny, I wish we were laughing with him more than at him. I've been afraid since the beginning of the season that it was all going to be about tracking down the Evil Meanies from the Phantom Zone, and Clark pretty much confirmed that at the end of the episode. Snore! I want more Lionel and I missed Oliver and enough with the dead fantasy girls. Meh.
On the other hand, I really liked Shark, which took on a big case with political implications -- much as I adore and worship the crack that is Boston Legal, I liked the pseudo-realism, the outrage of the Latino lawyer on Stark's team, the mayor arguing the relativism of sweatshops employing poor people at the same time Stark is teaching his daughter to appreciate subjective truth in her own plagiarism case. "You want to tilt at windmills, rent a donkey," he tells one of the women on the team -- but he does it, when he thinks he can win. There's a funny dynamic that the writers seem aware of where Stark is this arrogant white man leading a team of women and minorities, which gives him obvious blind spots and this week they address that; it's the Hispanic man who makes the treatment of garment workers an issue, the black woman who likens their conditions to slavery, they manage to get in a few disenfranchised voices while at the same time making the case that the disenfranchised don't have a voice. The show doesn't take itself too seriously ("If it were a crime to be rich and hypocritical, they would have locked me up years ago," Stark says) and the domestic drama keeps it grounded.