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Storm On the Horizon – Green River, UT

Spring came hard.

I am not sure when winter gave way or if it even did.

Out on the eastern plains of Utah it is hard to make that distinction when the winds blow bitter hard all day and cut into your fingers leaving them numb, where the grasses are as grey as the sky and the only colors are the red and yellow boxcars of some nameless freight train on the horizon.

When another day comes on without you knowing where you might find a few hours of refugee in some souless room, with its hard towels and tiny cakes of soap.

When you find yourself wedged in between an oncoming blizzard from the west and the inevitable bitter blackness of the eastern evening sky.

So there I was, caught in a no man’s land with the only distinct sound being the rattling roar of the eighteen-wheelers trying to make time to somewhere. At least they had a compass heading taking them there.

My compass had ceased to work, as it never seemed to point anywhere.

Sometimes north when I found myself thinking about home and other times south when the vague desperation came banging at me when I could no longer remember how to find north anymore.

So there I was, squeezed hard, in that no man’s between the western blizzard and the black eastern sky with nothing but a useless guide going round and round. At times like this you just start making choices without really understanding why.

And so I chose to go west towards what little light was left and a memory from childhood of my fingers frozen cold by snow and how I warmed them up by a fire when I got home. God damn it they hurt when feeling started to flow into them.

Then again I may have gone west because my life is closer to sunset than morning. I am just not sure anymore but that is what I did.

I headed into that blizzard.

It came on little by little with small flakes flying up into the headlights and then vanishing into the empty blackness behind me until there was nothing, nothing but the white snow flying hard and the steady hum of the engine pulling me along.

I pushed on looking for anyplace where I might escape being hunted down by the endless darkness of the eastern sky. And that snow kept coming without regard for anything trapped in the no man’s land until I finally gave up trying to run when I could no longer see the way forward. I guess I just finally surrendered to the forces that were beyond my control.

And the snow kept coming down as I sat there until it shrouded the truck and me in white silence. And the western sky collapsed into blackness. And all thoughts of north and south slipped away, forgotten, as my exhausted body and mind slid into sleep.

Copyright 2012 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved.