Tipping us into the unknown


Nuria Sheehan remembers the comforting presence of nature @ Anderbo.

I woke to the soft slide of wet grass under my legs as my mother pulled me up by the arm, dragging me across the open field where we’d spent the night. The sky was dark, a fragile pre-dawn light just beginning to pierce the fog. Struggling to focus my eyes, I could make out hulking shapes nearby. Cows. Behind us, my mother’s friend Violet was quickly gathering the blankets. And something else was there too, a shadow or presence that my disoriented mind tried to comprehend. If I had actually seenit, the looming kachina, I would have believed all the wild stories I’d ever been told. I would have believed that I lived in a world filled with strange magic and living gods.But the field was too dark, my head too fumbled with sleep. We got in the car and I knew I had missed it.

The day before, as we crossed Nebraska, our ugly old car had started to seize and stall. Pulling off the highway, we stopped beside a gas station in a small town. Traces of early October snow spun across the parking lot in tiny cyclones. Violet had joined us on this trip from Wisconsin to Tucson, where my mother and I were going to spend the winter, or the year, or the rest of our lives. Violet, as usual, thought everything would be fine with the car, that it was just overheated, that it would start after a few minutes, that the world would unfold helpfully before us. But the engine wouldn’t turn over.

Image: Dan Shepherd @ F-Stop Magazine

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