I had some vague notion of packing up in the dark and getting a very early start. I'm not altogether sure why. I'm not feeling any more ambitious than I ever have. Certainly no more energetic. But these short days are starting to bother me. I always have a bit more to give. But when the sun goes down I have to put up my tent or risk not finding a spot.
As it was I slept until six o'clock. I was in no jolly mood to wake up. I'd fallen asleep listening to Nicholas Nickleby and it had come to pervade my dreams. I got my ten hours but they weren't wholly restful. I'd have been glad to go back to sleep. But a boy's got to walk. I've still got miles to go. This ain't no Sunday stroll.
I was walking by seven or so. The experts had promised no rain. But there was plenty of fog. It was kind of neat. This is Sunday and traffic was light. My highway is wide, four lanes divided. I had it almost all to myself. With pine forests on either side of the road and grey skies low overhead.
It was surreal. It looked plenty cold but it was warm enough. Not toasty but I was in just a T-shirt and shivered only when I stopped. So I didn't stop. I walked my thirteen miles to Scooba, Mississippi in one heroic chunk. Listening to America's Top Forty. God help this blighted nation. Of all the derivative overproduced crap. The eighties offered better music. It was hosted by Ryan Seacrest, that poster boy of bland banality.
My poor NPR had faded away. They can't afford the big towers. Because you have not yet sent them your checks. Get on it. They need the money.
I settled into a gas station in Scooba, population six-hundred or so. Which is where you find me now, getting a head start on my daily report. Samsung sucks so there's no way I can type it all up tonight.
I had two-thirds of a gas station pizza, made by my new friend Andrea. She's five-foot-nothing and a bit goofy. She wants to be a cop. Waste of human goodness if you want my opinion.
All sources say it ain't gonna rain. Looking out it is hard to believe them. But I don't really have much say in the matter. Moving on. Moving on.
It never did rain but it might as well have. It was humid as hell. The swampy bits. My shirt is soaked through. I'm sweating like a guilty chimp. I remain dressed here in my tent. I'm hoping to dry my clothes some. By means of my very body heat. By means of the Love in my heart.
The sun was up there somewhere I guess. It never did show itself. There were patches of clear blue sky. It was up in the seventies. But overcast. It felt like fog but that was just old-fashioned steam.
The pine trees continue to line the road. It is all one vast tree farm. There are sections which have been recently logged. Others have been replanted. Even the big trees are not very big. I think most of them get ground up. To make paper or pizza crust. They're pretty to look at I guess. But not what I expected from Mississippi. I thought there'd be more hanging moss.
My road seems to move mostly uphill. I crossed a few stagnant rivers. Beside the road are little canals which smell like something bad. Strange chemicals or solvents or something. It was starting to hurt my brain. Someone upstream is up to no good. The Gulf has suffered enough.
I passed the town of Electric Mills. Its water tower said Porterville. Which I think is yet to come. They need to get their story straight. Besides the water tower there was a trailer park and what may have been a lumber mill. Electric no doubt. Now that is technology worth bragging about.
These woods today are brimming with hunters, on both sides of the road. I don't know if they are meant to be here, but I won't tell if they don't. I think I've figured out how to hunt deer. It is not what I imagined. I thought you stalked them through the woods. It is easier than that.
You get what's called a deer stand. It's like a little tree house. You set it up near a clearing and settle in to watch TV. And drink vodka tonics and smoke cigars and otherwise abuse yourself. Eventually a deer will poke out his head and if you're paying attention you shoot him.
Then you go to your truck to get your little four-by-four. You pull it around on a trailer. You rumble over to where your deer is waiting and hoist him up on a winch. Electric. You musn't overstrain. Then you drive him to a "deer processor." Who turns him into steaks and sausage that you may or may not eat. If he's extra pretty ("pointy" in hunters' lingo) you have his head stuffed and you hang it up on your wall. And brag about it.
I tell you these deer are all over me. They huddle around me for safety. I spend half my life chasing them off. I could kill one with a big stick. But I worry what it might do to my karma, which ain't in real good shape as it is.
I ate up the rest of my pizza right after I put up my tent. There was plenty of it but it had to be done. It does not pay to procrastinate. I've got some fig newtons and a donut left. And a little bag of gum drops. So I'm doing alright. Don't worry about me. I'll make it to the next gas station.
MY LITTLE mp3 player finally died. It's been holding on by a thread. So now I can't listen to Nicholas Nickleby any more. Oh, demmit.
SOME OF them Mennonite gals is good looking. I'm thinking of signing up. Though I wonder if I wouldn't have a brighter future in the United States Forest Service.