I woke this morning, happy to greet summer and looking forward to planting seeds.

Before, there was no time. No time. Never enough time.

This morning. I would make time.

I opened my door to greet the semi-quiet morning. Birds. Lots of birds. The humming of insects. The far away hum of cars.

First, I made coffee and planned to sit on my porch and read Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire.

I read about the quiet and the red sand and the desert flower, the sexuality of bees and moths burrowing and pollinating. I stopped for a moment and soaked in Abbey’s words on solitude and the expansiveness of the desert and felt his thoughts link with mine. I then scribbled a few words on paper about the end of romantic love, it’s self-enclosed and selfish nature, about how I prefer the expansiveness of loving the earth, of giving to a greater cause.

What a glorious quiet, simple moment: book, pen, notebook, coffee, porch, thoughts.

Then the sound. The blast. The churning BLAST. A wood chip machine?

It is Sunday. The Christians made a law that bans the machines on Sunday.

Yet it blasts and blasts, and the partial silence is gone. The breath. The day.

I wait and hope. Maybe it will stop. Maybe it will go away. It grows louder and louder.

I try to read, to bring back that moment of Desert Solitaire and me. Gone.

The blast continues. Minutes. One hour. Two hours. Three.

I move back inside the house to escape the noise– shut my windows and doors, shut out the industrial noise that is always, always there.

The irony: following the section on the solitude of desert flowers and red rock, Abbey cries out against the industrialization of the national parks in Desert Solitaire. New wide roads were built and brought in millions of tourists and their big machines. Quiet and silence and mystery vanished.

The irony: I moved to the suburbs and bought a house with a yard so I could grow a garden. I moved to a place where I envisioned long solitary walks. A writer’s dream. I imagined peaceful summers.

I came from Manhattan because the noise and bustle crushed my soul.

Yet the noise is here, every moment, everywhere. My neighbors run machines, buzz buzz buzz. We cannot leave windows open, sleep in a hammock, or read a book in the shade.

There is no peaceful summer. Maybe there never was. Maybe Eden had leaf blowers and generators and electric weed wackers and buzz saws and Strontium 90 and plutonium and TCE and PCBs and fracking waste and DDT. Maybe google earth snapped pictures of naked Adam and Eve and posted them on facebook. Maybe Eden’s evil snake was a sneaky drone. Maybe Eden’s apple was an iphone.

Maybe the writers of the Bible left industrialization out of creation to fool us all. Maybe there have always been machines.


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