Cloud Well (Book Excerpt)
There is so much dust in the air today it makes everything shimmer, not just the distant horizon either, even close in the air has an unearthly glow. It lies in waves making the most distant hills almost unintelligible, it strains my eyes to try to discern them. A huge dust devil swirls across the plain like a small tornado. I am grateful when it turns north before it reaches me and I can still see it as it spins away, thirty or forty feet across, it will reach the hills in a minute.
There is a young raven squawking in the lone elm above me, best nest on the plain, there is water here. New life at an old ruined homestead. I love this place as I do all the others and have sat here and imagined what it must have been like to have lived here. This was one of the first places I came to with Trevor when we first set up the network and it has stayed clear in my mind ever since, it was the one which made me recognize a degree of struggle I had not previously acknowledged. Here is where I first recognized the utter solitude such a life entailed, where the plains could become so endless you could begin to believe you were completely alone here, especially in the winter when the storms locked you away from all else. How did they survive that? How did they even grow a garden or establish these trees which even now are bent to the wind, the few which have survived.
The hedge of salt cedars died in the last winter freeze after enduring the years of drought and cold, this past winter took all when it came through and left no moisture in its wake. These trees, along with the sparse elms, the scattered remains of the old cabin and a couple of water tanks are all that remain to mark this place as having once been someone’s home. The trees death hastens the process of nature returning it to the earth, there will come a time when nothing will be left in this place and it will be forgotten. Perhaps someone will walk across it and kick the old concrete slab by the well, take a moment to sweep off the dust and read the date…………..but there will be nobody left who would recall it.
I leave the old homestead behind me, still in awe that I have even chanced to be here.