Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Forest

We went for a drive out to Shelby Forest today, a longstanding wish. I love to see creatures and a lot of creatures hang out in the forest. It took about 45 minutes to reach the forest and we passed through urban sprawl, rusted fire escapes, poor neighborhoods, two teenagers wandering along a railway track, broken buildings behind them.

Hannah had been to the forest to take peyote with Indians at one of the Taking Peyote With Indians events. These events feature people taking peyote with Indians, hence the name. I pondered what my heart would do if a real life Indian jumped out of the bushes. I figured my heart would stop beating.

We parked up and started along a trail towards the Indian camp. I could hear weird things buzzing around my US Space & Rocket Center baseball cap, I could hear weird rumbles from the bushes and the trees, I could hear what sounded like BEARS and COUGARS and LIONS. I got scared.

"Can we go back to the car? I hear bears..."
"There are no bears in this part of the world, Jase..."
"Back in Britain, it's safer, the only dangers in the woods are sex perverts..."

Total time spent in the forest - 7 minutes

We drove round some more. Most of the creatures I got to see were dead, squashed in the road.

"Hey, a snake!"

Brrrm, brrrm.

"Hey, a rabbit!"

Brrrm, brrrm.

"Wow! An armadillo!"

Then we saw three wild turkeys. They were alive. They flew off gracefully.

Past a cotton field, we reached a spot where you can park up next to the Mississippi. There were some vans and trucks already parked up, an old red sedan with the windows open.

We got out. There were two Mexicans who seemed to be doing nothing but doing nothing in a sinister way. One kept stroking his shorts. When you are with your wife, in an isolated spot on the Mississippi, you don't want to watch a Mexican stroke his shorts. Actually, wherever you are, you never want to watch a Mexican stroking his shorts. The other Mexican just wandered around, like he was being guided by alien intelligence to follow some unfathomable pattern.

The river was intense, forest on the other side, Arkansas, magnificent water.

A third Mexican stumbled out of the bushes like he'd just killed someone; he was clutching a beer bottle. He headed for the red car. He waved his hand at me. I waved back.

"Hey man! Great day..."

He got a fresh beer out of the car and popped it.

The river was still intense, the feeling was being spoiled by the strange looking chain-drinking Mexican stood 10 metres away. He started wandering over. We made our escape.

Below, I have reproduced his getup visually. I want you to imagine meeting this man on the bank of a mighty river, many miles from civilisation, having told no-one where you were going that day.


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