mr. zilla goes to town

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

event horizon

There's a swollen beltway around Washington outside of which I rarely venture except to another urban metropole. I'm car-free and as a result in a short time feel like I've transitioned from suburbaphobic to downright allergic to them. The strip malls that grow more nakedly hideous in direct proportion to their distance from downtown play no small part in this response. But I digress. It's even further afield, when I'm momentarily flat footed in the countryside that odd things sometimes happen and usually involving enlisted US military personnel. This weekend was one of those times when around 2am Saturday in a campground up in the Shenandoah valley a couple of very inebriated carrier fleet swabbies recently returned from a loooong tour deduced with their buffaloed brain cells that (a) they were in fact special forces ninjas and (b) I was a treasonous terrorist foreign national working for the CIA who had to be taken personally (and preferably violently) into custody. Fortunately it tends to tip the scales from worrisome to merely bothersome when you choose to go camping with four dozen of your nearest and dearest.

Conversely the rest of the weekend was unalloyed serenity. I enjoyed the uncomplicated pleasures that you find once you've enough miles between you and the nearest intray, computer screen or phone signal. Floating down and down a river in an inner tube for hours on end, drink in your hand and head in the drink. Silent swift water and a timeless blue sky. Tree swings and rope burns and laughter and disaster; the gods of good times claiming their sunglass sacrifices one by one. Woodland smells and smoky grills. Exhaustion and embers and murmurs in darkness. The tang of bright stars and certain sense of moving towards another ending.

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