Thursday, December 11, 2008

Looking for an Upgrade

The other day I tried to go for a run on highway 58. I found myself watching a snowplow three quarters of a mile up the road heading towards me throwing a plume of snow 20 yards into the ditch. I escaped to the median with the re-enforced opinion that the side of the highway in winter is no place for a pedestrian.

The pressure has been building. I considered a treadmill for the basement. I know you have to have at least three horsepower and spend overe $1000 for a moderately good one.
Winter has caused some stress. The dark, the cold, the wind, there is always some reason for staying inside. Strange things can happen when you're under stress.

The TV was on. I passed through the room and it pulled me into stationary orbit. I stood behind the couch for ten minutes, slack jawed, engaged in a medical show.
As I stood there an ad came on the TV for a reality show about people losing weight. Then came an ad for a TV service. The famous, sexy woman looked suggestively into the camera and moved her hips and sang "you're ready for an upgrade". She was wearing a short, tight, shiney gold dress. She fell to the ground and writhed around in piles of gold coins.

Something in me snapped.

I struck a pose and rotated my hips and sang out in a faulseto voice, "I'm ready for an upgrade". I was was about to fall to the ground and continue the song writhing on the floor when the family ejected me from the room. With no where else to turn I stepped out the door into the cold. I rummaged around in the garage and found a pair of snow shoes.
With the snowshoes strapped to my feet I started at a slow jog into the field. I kept myself going and the images and sounds from the tv started to fade. I did the slow plodding jog until I could feel the warmth in my fingers and heat raidating from my body. I stopped on the knob of a hill to survey the world. At first I could only hear my own breathing but as my lungs caught up and my breathing slowed I could hear my pulse in my ears. I could hear the blood rushing in my head and feel it pumping in my fingers. I was comfortably warm.

On this calm night fresh snow covers everything. There is a waxing moon that alows me to see in whites, grays with suprising clarity. A snipet from some old song or poem is in my mind. "Cold orb rules the night, removes the colors from our site..." I look down to the snow at my feet, animal tracks pass by in front of me dark holes in the snow. Beyond the tracks the snow spreads unbroken with an occasional glittering caught by my perephrial vision as if diamonds are inset into the ground itself.

Before the cold could start seeping into my clothing I resumed moving at a walk. A vigorus walk, the snow shoes slowing and lengthening my stride making me feel like a giant striding across the land. I settled into my big stride singing in my head, "I'm look'in for an upgrade, an upgrade." I thought to myself, "I could be a character in a Kurt Vonegut Story." After a time, perhaps a mile, I stopped again on another rise and looked across the fields.

The landscape is truly owned by the moon, the colorless light gives the world a dreamlike quality. But in the distance are radio and relay towers with red lights blinking, out of place in the spell cast by the moon. It strikes me as an odd thing and I pause a little longer. A conversation from the past comes to mind. It was about building a house. The people as I remember liked a piece of land, but it had huge power lines cutting across from the nearby nuclear power plant. We walked the land, it was a beautiful except for the scar of the power lines. We could only find one place were the view was not obstructed. Directly underneath the power lines there was an clear view of the Mississippi river valley. You could almost imagine they didn't exist.

I continued to look at the towers lined up in the distance with blinking lights. I thought of War of the Worlds were huge machines driven by aliens stride across the land conquering all they see. My eyes followed an indentation in the ground in front of me that deepend to a ravine at the edge of the field. There I could see the dark forms of a giant cottonwood and a knarled old oak. If the wind rises, I thought, they will sway and come to life. Perhaps they will cross the hills and defend us from the alien invasion.

This is silly, I've gone too far. The cold has penetrated my gloves. I have to get moving. First step, second step, stride, stride. I'm look'in for an upgrade, an upgrade.

No comments: