Factoring in the wind chill, it is -50 Fahrenheit, and white in every
direction. My foreign girlfriend sits speechless in the car beside
me. We are driving along the willow-straight road heading due north
out of my home town in southern Minnesota. The only vertical dividing
the flatness is a plume of black smoke rising from a distant farm.
Someone is burning garbage. They also plow the ground right up to the
backdoor here, and blow their noses using only a well-placed thumb.
It's the way they treat anything not immediately useful, a precedent
set twenty thousand years ago: Everything the glaciers met, they
either dragged along until ground into nothing, or buried beneath 30
feet of till.
The sodbusters cut down whatever was left.
The ground is frozen solid, so that even now, during Christmas
vacation, the county rendering truck makes its rounds, stopping
briefly at the end of each long driveway. Really, there's no real
rush, as far as that goes. Things don't rot in this cold, they only
pink white pink
a pair of dead hogs
stacked in snow