Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 7, Towner, North Dakota, 4 p.m.

The rains have come and stayed today. We remain camped in the small park in Towner, just off Hwy 2, 50 miles east of Minot. Our tents are pitched but we shelter, except for naps, under a tin-roofed enclosure where the rain sings. Around us the dove sing, as well, and a robin mother feeds her nesting young in the rafters above us; a peaceful marooning it is, a forced day off the bike - a “could be worse” situation made the most of. A gentle rain, a gentle day with gentle companions. We’ve played cards to pass the morning with Lindsay and Cormac; a not so gentle game of Hearts. I will not reveal the winner because it’s not important, but you should know it wasn’t any of the others. The game was in a spirit of ego ablation since they are both divinity students. No one seemed to achieve that higher state while pettiness, greed, deception and the formation of unholy alliances were much in evidence; the thin veneer of socialization stripped quickly in all, before the first card was dealt. Dave, in particular, flew his flag high and mighty until it came smashing down. “Pride goeth before the fall,” sayeth “W.”

Lindsay and Cormack (no relation to Cormac McCarthy, despite the similar first name) left us at 4 p.m. riding out in a small spot of sunshine, a brisk wind from the east and towards towering dark thunderheads - with the optimism of the newly married. Storms, like death, are for other people, and we shall overcome a tradition, anyway. Perhaps, they needed a break from the relentless interview we had subjected them to. I had to hold Dave back many times in many ways as he drilled into the center of their belief systems. They left knowing, at least, one of us can play Hearts and that we are interested in the song and mysteries of the universe. We’ve elected to make it a day off and cut back on the voluntary suffering. The involuntary being just that.

The accents of the people are thickening like the trees. This would have been a good area to make that movie, Fargo. We’ve seen no pregnant female deputies yet, so that part may have been made up. We have seen some male deputies who looked pregnant but maybe because we saw them from the side. I talked to one about crime which he said he didn’t know much about but there wasn’t much. He had the movie accent to tell me this which I appreciated since we’ve seen no movies since before Anacortes. There used to be meth labs in the county “but we got some boys who like to go after druggies, and we got eleven labs out of here last year.” I talked to him in a filling station in Granville. The station owner looked like Moby. I thought he was Moby, but he denied it in one of the movie accents which I know Moby doesn’t have, so now I believe him. Sooner or later, you’ve got to start believing in something. I don’t believe, however, David is ever going to win another bocce Frisbee chase game. Today’s results: Pat 8; Dave 3. He seems to lack something in these games, nerve, verve, imagination, coordination, gumption - I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out for him.

Pat Sewell

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