Western Illinois is in a drought. The tomatoes in Dixon live in cracked earth and all of their energy goes into the fruit. Big juicy bulbous red sweet orbs drag the wilted stunted stems to the ground. The heat wave makes it too difficult to think sad and the real amazing thing is that dry dirt and sun can make you something to eat.

“Plant marigolds around your tomatoes, they keep the beasties away”. I tell everybody.

I’m wilting too, all of my energy is going into the things I am making and wanting to achieve instead of into my own growth. The inferred balance is obvious and only hard work warrants a payoff, but I’m content with the ideas. If I think it.

The Mississippi river basin is a pretty tremendous rut. Rolling hills and a vast ecosystem of flora and fauna mandate the valley. The wild flowers, grasses, the birds, fish and wilderness creatures spin in the sectioned art of bean fields, corn and red barns. I’ve seen most of it from car windows.

Following something like a river. Buzzing through the small towns that once flourished with industry because of the wet thoroughfare is a hobby of wonder. Looking at old brick Bank and Trust on main street, leased out as a shoe store with posters in the window advertising liquidation that fascinate repose. The highway drags are littered with big boxes on the edge, jam packed with fast food joints in the middle, finished with an old foreclosed barn that wouldn’t sell out. Ghost towns.

Between Galena, Illinois and Dubuque, Iowa, Hwy 20 rolls past roadside stands that sell grown goods from the local farms. The clover is bountiful here and the bees are rapid nectar producers. I can see them hovering like wisps of smoke over the dry fields, bouncing from flower to flower. Bees can dance.

People keep hives and sell the clover honey. Usually it is a local farm, busted by the inflation of the Carter years and not big enough to warrant a government subsidy. Kids of foreclosed farmers mustered their yuppie dot.com sell yearly and often bankrolls and bailed out the homestead to brew honey. Or some old slob that wants everything and already has it, keeps bees and sells the premium honey on the side of the road to get conversation and to wow the blue ribbon at the county fair. Every year.

The tangible asset of honey sinks in a vapid market of Blue Highway wanderers. The traders from Chicago in their SUV’s stop to woe their weary kids and make their wives wonder for a memory. They stroll up and flip out a stack of double-sawbucks buying a try for the branch family. The happy honey farmer straps on a few extras and rent is paid for all. I don’t see any of this.

My love is just the flotsam of these words. You must understand that I’m just winging it on the ground.

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