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30 Days of Souvenirs: Day 5

 

There aren’t a lot of Catholics down in southwest Virginia. Matter of fact, there aren’t a lot of people down in Southwest Virginia. The ones who do live there would rather be left to themselves. That’s not to say they are unfriendly, but rather, share an inclination towards a hermetic lifestyle, wherein they can walk their woodsy paths, cut their tobacco and corn, and sit contemplatively on rotted apple stumps gazing at the fog as it lifts its grey beard off the land in the crisp summer mornings. This idleness should not be mistaken for laziness, but rather a meditative pace that is anathema to most big city dwellers, a pace known well in most nature cultures. It was in this place that I often found myself, searching for new hiking trails or just trying to get lost. Midday in the Virginia mountains in July can be as cool as a cucumber, but out on the asphalt veins that connect these small towns the sun bakes the blacksnakes and severed rodents whose unfortunate night forays have left them fodder for the turkey vultures. Driving in a listless summer daze, I suddenly swerved hard as I tried, unsuccessfully, to avoid running over a large beetle that was scampering across the road. I always try to avoid hitting animals on the road. Unlike the assholes I went to high school with who thought it was some sort of primal game of chicken, I have always felt that an animal who is already toiling every second of the day in a battle of survival should not die sandwiched between two constructs of man’s technological evolution; asphalt and rubber. Nonetheless, it sometimes happens, and I felt bad enough to stop and get out of the car. What I didn’t realize is that I hadn’t really pulled entirely off the road and as I swung my door open a Ford pickup speeding recklessly by obliged me by removing about 23 pounds of steel from the middle portion of the door. As well as my side mirror, a piece of my fender, and the toe of my dr. martins boot. The truck screamed to a halt, and I watched as the brake lights popped on and the truck was suddenly backing up...

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