I could no longer trust my perceptions

Shinchi Maruyama @ The Morning News

Lisa Margonelli recounts a childhood in snow @ Anderbo.
Oil on the Brain: Petroleum's Long, Strange Trip to Your Tank1971. Maine. Six years old. I wore a red snowsuit. Winter came in October. The wind sighed and whistled, picked up speed across the field and hit the corner of the house so it groaned. At night the crabapple tree clawed the walls. From my bed I saw flashes of yellow and assumed the wind was holding its hard eye to the window, like a wolf assessing a doll’s house.

The wind did not just eat you, it wanted you to give yourself to it. Gray men in trucks drove slowly past the windows looking in with sideways eyes. “Got any guns to sell?” they asked my father. He said no, and they drove away, returning some other day, sideways again. Maybe they expected to grab something if it fell off the house.

My parents were American Gothic in hippie clothes. They moved from the suburbs “back” to the land. But the farm had a longer memory. The bean farmer came for a visit and stood under the bare trees in front of the house talking to my father. I liked the farmer’s head, which was shiny and folded in on itself exactly like a dried bean. He was short and his arms were stumpy with skin like a potato. Badaydows, he said. Before he farmed beans, he farmed badaydows, and before that chickens. Corn before that. The fields were full of rocks. Everything had failed. Then his wife left him. About that time he started feeding the raccoons on the kitchen counter.
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