On a clear night

I’m sitting in my doorway and stargazing while drinking boxed wine, and I’m shocked that no one has complained about the brightness of the moon.  It’s only a crescent, but at a drive-in movie theater, every little light cuts down on visibility.

The movie is terrible.  Objectively terrible.  But the stars; the stars are shining more than I’ve seen stars shine in many places.  Maybe they know that people care for nature here.  Maybe they know that nearby there are huge parks dedicated to keeping out the intrusion of humankind so that humankind can enjoy the unpolluted space.  Maybe they always shine like this, and we just can’t see it.  Or we don’t look.

But as I stargaze, I purposefully block the terrible film from my sight and hearing so but I can bask in the glory of the stars, and the rare pleasure of a clear 60 degree evening.

I’m in Idaho.  I’ve never been to Idaho.  I never even knew that I wanted to go to Idaho.  It seemed like an extra state, like Kansas.  But, when I was planning my road trip, I looked at a map and saw Yellowstone.  The legendary, original national park.  And I said: I can do that.  I can go there.  And I should go there.

Let me be clear about my disposition towards the outdoors.  I still frequently call my dad or a friend when there is a bug inside the house.  I conjure my landlord to take care of the menace.  However, I think that there is something incredibly clean about dirt that has never seen the city.  And I know that this is just an errant impression, because city boots track city dirt into the country dirt, and they have a wonderful intermingled life.  Lawyers call this commingling.  Also, my friends remind me that horses poop in country dirt just like they do in city dirt, and it disintegrates and becomes indistinguishable. So my clean dirt may actually be horse poop.  To these naysayers I say: bring it on Tonto, as I waft in the country air.

I think about how the city at night looks like a Lite-Brite that only has some of the constellations poked through the black construction-paper sky.  This country sky is the end of the Lite-Brite play session when you poke through all the holes with unholy and destructive glee (the best kind of glee).  The fully-perforated paper which previously held a design is incapable of masking the several million beams of light.

I shift slightly to keep my dog inside the trailer.  We are staying in a vintage Silver Streak RV parked at the famous Spud Drive-In theater.  Before people arrived for the movie, my dog was allowed to gallop through the field and burn off her puppyish energy.  We watched the sun set in a blaze of colors behind the movie screen as dusk filled the broad Idaho sky.  Now that there are cars in the lot, my dog’s romping behavior is quite inappropriate and I have to contain her within the trailer.

Why am I staying at this Mecca of potatoes and cinematography?  Tomorrow I’m visiting my first 2 national parks!  I’m going through Grand Teton to get to Yellowstone.  I don’t know if I’m more excited to sleep at a potato enamored drive-in movie theater or visit the parks, but I thought the wine would help calm me down so I could sleep.

I breathe in the country air again, and get faint bonus smells from the concession building.  Popcorn, burgers, and grease interrupt my thoughts of clean dirt, and I remember my dinner from the concession stand: cheeseburger and onion rings.  I already took an antacid.  The brightness of the moon continues to be almost intrusive to the travesty of a film, and I sigh contentedly.  It’s time for bed.

– Your huckleberry

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