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Published on May 10, 2012
we were just on the edge of fort kearney on the edge of the desert when the drugs took hold. fort kearney is what the world would be doing saturday night if the indians had won the war. as your attorney i am going to have advise you to travel at a grueling pace. matt's general store was closed, but the salesman said he could wait if we hurry. we were delayed en route when a conestoga wagon in front of us killed a pedestrian. so now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in chimney rock and look west, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark--the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back. we had two sets of clothing, seventy-five boxes of bullets, five spare wagon wheels, a wagon tongue, and a 150lbs collection of multi colored breads, cornmeal, vegetables... also, a quart of water, a quart of molasses, and two dozen yoke of oxen. not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get into a serious general sundries collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. the only thing that really worried me was the cornmeal. there is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of a cornmeal binge, and i knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon. strange memories on this nervous night in oregon. five years later? six? it seems like a lifetime, or at least a main era--the kind of peak that never comes again. big blue river crossing in the middle 1860s was a very special time and place to be a part of. maybe it meant something. maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. whatever it meant.