Thursday, February 11, 2010

On Your Mark, Get Set...

And tomorrow I go! I'm going to go visit one of The Incredibles, the kick-ass writing women I spend a week with in the fall at The Clearing, for the weekend. I am so ready for this mid-winter escape. Even though we desperately needed a new roof (and it was done at my insistence, I have to admit), turning our vacation money into shingles seems like less and less of a good idea as the cold and snow and dreary skies stretch out. We're going to write and talk and talk and write, and maybe knit a tiny bit, and talk and write.

February 10--Contadora Island, Panama. It looks like a stopper that has fallen out. The island lies just offshore from the end of the Canal, that slit in the pinch point of the continent that has always been such a powder keg. Like so many other small islands in the region, Contadora looks like a movie set designer or a Disney Imagineer had it made, all white sand, green jungle, and blue water, but in reality it was hot, humid, and buggy. There was a reason that it took so long to build the Canal, and it was the bugs. Bugs that loved to feast on humans foolish enough to be there in the swampy heat where fevers were everyday and malaria was a holiday. Severson sat in the shade with a tub filled with ice and bottles of the thin and sour El Caribe beer that was all he could get on the island. Around his neck he wore a pair of army surplus binoculars that he lifted to his eyes every few minutes. One of these times the steamship Argonne would be there, its black funnels tearing through the calm Central American air and he would make the call. The call, like the next domino in a global game of hide and seek, would set in motion consequences that would make the thousand dollars he was being paid to drink beer on a quiet beach as insignificant as one of the sand grains beneath his faded green flip flops.

There now, don't you wish you knew what comes next? Yeah, me too. Haven't got a clue. But it's bound to be exciting, if I ever get back here and figure it out. Maybe someday when my mind and spirit are calmer.

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