We slid down south for some southern comfort. The air settles a little more unpredictably than it does in more northern climes. We met an historian who had been traveling around, living out of his red panel truck for the past 18 years. He had a new companion, a white rabbit, who was living with him. Another historian, a young guy on the far side of stoned, showed us how to make fire with flint and straw. He also could demonstrate tomahawk throwing, but watching him make the fire was enough.
Further down the road we came to mountains and a good deal of fog. We climbed up and over the mountains and under, over and through the fog. Maybe the fog is called clouds. I don’t know. I thought of a man who keeps telling me to walk in the direction I intend to go. He lives in Indiana. Perhaps he hasn’t been to the mountains.
At night we slept on a hill above a pond in a grove of trees. There was a herd of elk roaming a valley outside of an old Methodist church. A few people brought potluck. The outhouse there wasn’t too good. There was an old schoolhouse in the valley. Another house pulled me back 35 years. They say the form of the house is called a dog trot. A hallway runs right down the center of it and it is open to the world at both ends. A dog could trot right through it. My aunt, long dead, told me to use the bedpan if I had to pee in the middle of the night. Rattlesnakes came up on the dog trot and getting to the outhouse wasn’t worth my while. We didn’t see any rattlesnakes. There were lots of dogs.
We took the back roads on the way back north. The farmers were all out harvesting, scattering tobacco on the roadsides, hanging it to dry in open black barns. A large orange harvest moon, a sliver past full, kept watch over us as we made our way back home, becoming paler and more distant the further north we drove.