The body’s labor allows the detached mind a certain buoyancy. The mind cannot forget the usefulness of its slightest fantasy, and the succor it brings the toiling body. These fantasies, once endowed with purpose, even if anodyne in nature, gradually gain weight and meaning beyond what their architecture may bear, and so the mind flies on, looking for a studier frame on which to hang its gathering ornaments of meaning, and suddenly lamp goes out, it’s time for dinner, and a whole section of vines, pruned and staked, stands at attention behind you.
I cannot write on a full stomach. I skip dinner, if I am steady and strong, and play stork to the day’s newborn fantasies-although, very often, though carelessness, gin, or malice, the bundles are delivered to the wrong house, and the ewe nurses, with fearful love, the crocodile. The heaviness of birth is matched only by the lightness of the courier’s wings, and the raindrop comedy goes on and on, propelled by thunderclap applause.
But Suzanne came a day early, pulling up in her Budget truck between two cloudbursts as I was flipping venison burgers off the grill, carrying, bless her, two growlers of Free State beer. The next morning Kansas was moving under four wheels away from us as we climbed the plains. My life of nourishing solitude, muscled contemplation, and a peace as complete as the ringing of a bell, was over. Life on the road is an exegesis of landscape, and I took solace in the psalms of that good book-the pleading of the plains, the vengeance of the mountains, the repentance of the desert. My body was restless, and saw Bathsheba in every farm, but its petitions were in vain-its bondage complete. We moved westward- extending the sunsets by a half an hour, taking the prairie schooner road on down to Santa Fe.