Friday, December 14, 2007

Looking Ahead - excerpt

TWO YEARS AND FIVE DAYS FROM NOW I will be in a small European town. It is a town not familiar to those who haven't travelled abroad, but by no means esoteric. German. I believe it is German. German or Italian. Yes, the cliched barber poles tacked with red-green ribbons are nowhere to be seen. It is very likely Milan. It could be Regensburg. It feels like autumn (which in either country could be mistaken for December in Kentucky). There's no one around, no signs so no language by which to steer, so for the moment I enjoy the lightness of the mystery. Larger cities. Their convergence is directly proportional to their population. Frankfurt, for example, is only 3.2 feet from being within the borders of Manhattan. Rome, I have been told, is already Philadelphia. Smaller towns. Somehow they manage to evade the torrent of progress. Some people simply can't afford even last year's fashions. They even smell old, uniquely themselves old. I take a deep breath and am satisfied with the aroma of foreign breath, circa 1967. The breeze. It almost isn't there. What is present is sharp and wet, confusing my pores, my eyes. The skin oils at the thought of it. The town, as it is, is a model railroad accessory. The train never stops here, but is used to give the environs as a whole a realistic flair. Vaulted homes boast ancient beams, woodwork exposed on the lower half. Just like in fairy tales my head mumbles before I have sense enough to edit it. "Yes, just like. Those stories make up the plot more than the setting." That'll keep it quiet for a while...
(to be continued someday)

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