If I could have I would have: had that moment in Paris.  But I’m in Wallace, Idaho when that little bell inside me rings. Instead of going back to the car for another 175 miles of winter driving, I grab my camera and break a trail through the snow. Across the alley—the 1960s: An old red bus parked semi-beneath some abandoned cedar-shaked canopy. The ground shakes from the snowplow passing overhead on the elevated I-90 that curves through this tiny town squished between hunched slabs of mountain, guarded and gated from decades of excessive mines.

I snap my shots, then slide my camera in my coat pocket and take my mittens off.  Just to feel more, to feel more like I’ve been here.

Behind me, my ride negotiates the rutted alley and in a moment it will be time to go. Cold air carries my breath away and I don’t want to leave.  Rail cars of crushed carbon and sea containers chug along distant tracks, crossing woven water. Black trestle. Midnight river, blue. Once upon a time, someone told me shadows begin whenever your boots touch pavement. I get back inside the car and we take off. Exit ramp, west blinker on, wipers—intermediate.



About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

18 responses to “wallace

  1. Oh, thank you. I love this photo and your account of taking it. I love “Open” over the red bus.

  2. S, it feels like you live life much closer to some essential “America” than I do here in the great Northeast, though I’m not yet sure if it’s the United States of America or North America you’re most connected to. That bus . . . my God, there’s no way that bus would ever look like that anywhere else. Something ineffably vernacular about it. Terrific photograph.

    • redmitten

      t- did i say billings to you in reply to your last query? you amaze me with your perception and the way these experiences find you. what you share with me is essential as well.

      ah, North America. you know what- reading your suggestion makes me realize that is closer to me than the U S of A. (more organic?) have you traveled out here before? would you be up to a road trip? it’d be great to share one with you. i think when a person travels for a few days here, it becomes impossible to not feel closer to that essential “america” you suggest. i am so pleased the red bus touched you the way it touched me! i only had my cell phone camera and wasn’t sure how the shot would turn out. it feels “not of this century”. s

  3. Sherry, never been anywhere near your part of the world, but from your reports of Montana something elemental and raw survives there you’ve made me want to see. The idea that you’d me my guide, even better. Billings is close to little big horn too. With gas at $4, though, still doing my reckonings. T

    • redmitten

      t- when the weather becomes more reliable, i will drive east and spend the day at the little big horn “for you”. stay tuned. 🙂

  4. Rose Hunter

    I want to come too!
    Re the post, yes, what Karla said, I was there. (Now I want more there….) But my there wouldn’t be your there. What I mean is I love how you show us this place, so we can see it through your eyes. It’s really special.
    This is a great pic too.

  5. Sheer poetry, in every way. You’ve inspired me. I’m off with my camera.

  6. Love that bus. And the sign. I like old things, they always make me wonder what happened to the last person that touched them.

  7. Too experiential for many words. Just goosebumps, which your writing produces, having nothing to do with the cold.d xo

    • redmitten

      standing in wallace, looking at that bus- you came to mind. i thought for a moment you might board that bus if you were with me. 🙂

  8. Wouldn’t you jsut love to time travel in that bus? The red woolen coats and itchy hats…goloshes…the back roads and wondering if you’ll make it home for dinner? Such a compelling post.

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