(The concluding segment of the forthcoming collection of short fiction by the same name.)
And so a hot, dry spell issued out into a long, long time of waiting, and hoping and, if truth be told, of dreaming. That seems to be the thing that hot and dry spells always lead to. When you can't have, you dream. When you can't dream, you just might die. There was a man once who said that where there is no vision, the people perish. I believe there is likely some truth to that.
I put the last of my things in the back of my truck and drove out of Crawford County on a Sunday night. Not the most usual of times to leave, but then, the County is not the most usual of places. I knew that if I didn't get going right then and there, I might never leave. I took my record collection, of course, and all of my books. I left photo albums and such (such as I had) behind. I won't miss them.
A long time ago, when I first moved to Crawford County, I set fire to all of my pictures that I had from the years before – when I was up in Kentucky, and when I was drinking more. Those were good times, but it seemed that when I moved down to Haverland I didn't need to be reminded of any of that. And that was a good thing, for when you enter into that hot, dry spell, you just hate looking back at a time that was lush and green – a time that was well watered and full of life. You can hardly stand a thing like that, can you? Certainly not. Certainly not when the grass is brown and dry and as crisp as a wicker basket.
When I finally parked my truck the next morning, I was in the city – no, not Cotton City, mind you. I had gone a lot farther north that that. There wasn't any kudzu to be seen, and not a single sourwood, as far as the nose could smell. Everything was different.
And that was exactly the reason I was here.
Sometimes the most common thing is the strangest to a person. I heard about a guy who had come down with some disease wherein his body started rejecting certain other parts of his body. I think his liver was the first one to go, if my memory serves me. The doctors were able to keep him from completely shutting down by allowing his body's immune system to develop something of a lend-lease agreement with the organs as they started to be rejected, if you know what I mean, but this only went on for so long. His body just didn't want to put up with such nonsense anymore.
How could it?
Other times, it is that which is entirely foreign that you crave and you desire. It is not unlike a man being joined to his wife – two distinct and separate entities that become one and are nearly inseparable. That is exactly it. Instead of a body rejecting itself, the body craves that outside itself which makes it complete.
And so it was. And so it is.
I could never go very far north. Folks are too different the farther north you go, and nearly incomprehensible. I had a friend, once, who had a brother who had a friend who lived all the way up in Wisconsin. He came down to Crawford County and I met him at a hog roast out at a farm near Blanchers. He was full of himself, and cold.
But then, I guess you could say I was being judgmental. There you have it.
Well, I am getting to rambling, and that is sure no way to close when I've been telling you. Not that all of it seemed to stick together, of course, but that just seems to be the way I tell things. I just want to make sure, after all is said and done, that you all know how important it is. Life, I'm talking about. There are those who think it isn't worth a plugged nickel, and who treat it as such. Then there are those who just take it for granted and let it slip right by without a thought. I'm here to tell you not to do either.
Even in a hot, dry spell.