Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Random Word Generator #3

Today's word is "Thoroughfare"

For a year, I fell asleep every night to the ocean-like ebb and flow of 18-wheelers careening down the I-80 thoroughfare just outside the singlepane window of my Cedar Rapids dormitory.

The room was always cold (unless it was hot), and in the winter months frost would form on this great glass portal overlooking the concrete ribbons of the interstate.

I am one of a lucky handful in this world who have experienced the magic of a Grant Wood springtime, in its glorious emergence from the dismal Iowa winter. The ground turned over, soil, black as coffee grounds opened fragrantly into the waiting crystalline air. The cacophony of birds, as exhilarated by weather warm enough to sing in as we were. And green... green from the tips of every branch to the mossy cracks in the sidewalks.

Iowa is a place for writers. Writers grow in Iowa, as much as corn and soy and wheat grows in Iowa. There is much to write about there- from the lined faces of blue-collar workers nursing a pint at any lifer bar (many of which just a stones-throw from our venerable institution of learning) to the grumbling stone-gray thunderstorms that gather on the vast horizons on spring afternoons. Like those who came before us (Vonnegut. Boyle. Wood. Cone.) we found beauty in the cold, warmth in the people, a functional yet otherworldly allure in its green, fresh growing things.

I haven't been back in far too long. Right about now it's the ragged end of winter there. The tension is palpable. There may be a melting, but it's not over yet. It will still be cold, it will still be gray, for several weeks before sprouts appear. Before buds burst from the branches. Before a strange haze appears over the soy fields. I can feel it like I'm there... an ache for the warmth of springtime.

Its coming, though. And that's what keeps us going.