[i]Â Things had never been easy on the farm.Â Raising crops was honest work, but hard, and it was all he had known his whole life.Â But since the drought had begun things had been ever harder.Â The soft greening wheat had turned brown and brittle; the dark brown earth had grown hard and grey.Â His parents had always been centered and solid, difficult to shake, and seemingly without worry.Â But lately their mouths had been more firmly set, their eyes less shining.Â Although they smiled when they felt him watching them, their smiles came less readily, and he felt their sadness and worry seep into his own spirit.Â They had always been careful to let him enjoy his childhood, not to burden him with adult concerns.Â But he was a young man now, no longer a boy, and he saw that behind their unspoken concern lay real fear.
The sky was brown, only brown, never blue, and everything was dry.Â Dust blew by in great clouds, and the dust was the earth, and the earth was life, and life was faltering and failing.Â He had taken to collecting deadwood from what remained of the stands of trees that dotted their land, and selling the dry, dead sticks for pennies as firewood.Â Sometimes that was all the money they had for the week, and the only thing that put food on their table.Â Some of their neighbors had already given up and headed West.Â He wondered how long they could stay, how long they could last.
[ii]Â With fewer and fewer chores to do, his days stretched out long and thin, like abandoned roadways.Â He tried to while away some of the empty hours with his radio equipment.Â Before the drought, his father had thought this a waste of time, and he had had to â€œplay with his toysâ€ in the barn, usually after dinner, by dimly sputtering lamplight.Â In the darkness the barn seemed to grow larger, more cavernous, and the seemingly vast dimness magnified the magic behind the scienceÂ he struggled to understand.Â Some nights he worked later than late, straining his eyes until he could no longer make out the tiny components.Â Now, his father no longer seemed to care, and he could lose himself in the profusions of tiny tubes, wires and crystals to his heartâ€™s content, out in the open, in full broad daylight.Â Although he was glad to have the freedom, he hated the reasons for it.
Sometimes, in the dimensionless blur of static that came to him in waves over the air, he heard voices.Â They did not frighten him, but rather fascinated him endlessly.Â Although it seemed they had been plucked somehow out of the ether just for him, he knew that really they were the ghostly remnants of conversations between people in places far away, bouncing and skimming around the curvature of the earth to reach him.Â The faint echoes seemed almost otherworldly, and his mind filled with fantastic, impossible imaginings, the very opposite of the true world he lived in.Â That he could hear these voices at all, whispering in his ears like a secret, was a mystery and a gift.Â Strange as it would have sounded to say so aloud, he wondered sometimes if the voices were calling him away, calling him to leave.
[iii]Â Even though he was no longer a child, and had put away many childish things, he still liked to explore the countryside around his familyâ€™s farm.Â He especially enjoyed the calm and quiet of the old train station, with its single once-proud locomotive, long since abandoned to ruin in the fields.Â He liked to imagine days long past, when the train ran from their quiet, green countryside to the bustling city, with all its possibilities.Â He knew that his mother had made that journey many times as a girl, but he himself could barely remember the locomotive pulling slowly into the station, loud with the power of many horses, choking the air with steam.Â A rusting hulk was all that remained, and it had no passengers save for him, his dreaming imagination, and the occasional jackrabbit that ventured aboard.
He thought sometimes he should feel some sadness for the dead train, and for the loss it represented.Â But if the empty station felt like a graveyard, it was only in its pervading peacefulness.Â He never felt afraid there, nor did he sense the presence of anything other than the few remaining insects hopping in the grass and the dry wind.
One hot, blustery afternoon, unable for some reason to settle or center himself at home, he headed out on foot to commune with the old iron horse.Â His vague plan was to make the most of the quietâ€”to rest, to think, to plan, maybe even to nap.Â Instead, something wondrous happened.Â Inside the ruined locomotive, resting calm and jewel-like in the blasted interior, he found a dragonfly.Â How a moisture-loving creature like a dragonfly could be there at all, so far from a body of water of any kind or size, was beyond his understanding.Â It sat, unmoving and gleaming blue-green in the dim light, as though waiting for him.Â Without thinking, he reached out to touch itâ€”and then realized that of course it would surely be frightened, and fly away.
But it did not.Â It simply sat and allowed him to touch its back, light as a feather, just for an instant.Â He thought he felt a hint of electric shock, and he would have sworn that a tiny voice breathed in his head.Â It reminded him of the voices he heard through his radio earphones, and what it said was:Â “And then it happens.”
He felt a thrill of excitement.Â And then what happens? he wondered.Â What would it be that happened, and when would â€œthenâ€ be?Â He could hardly contain his sudden impatienceâ€”the anticipation was too great.Â He felt inexplicably, unshakably certain that, when what was to happen did happen, his life would never again be the same.
Instead of walking, he ran back home, his feet and his heart lighter than they had been in a long time.
= | = | = | = | = | = | = | = | = | = | = |Â = | = | = | = | = | = | = | = | = | =
[i]Â Striped Sweater, Wooly Pants, Newsboy Cap and Walkinâ€™ Shoes.
[ii]Â Buttondown Shirt, Baggy Jeans with Belt, Suspenders and Walkinâ€™ Shoes.
[iii]Â Buttondown Shirt, Chinos with Belt and Walkinâ€™ Shoes.
All clothing designs are by Posy Trudeau.Â Find them at her new shopÂ Homespun (Harajukubox 197, 176, 21).Â Some items are from the Homespun â€œGrand Openingâ€ exclusive gift and may not yet be available for sale, or are not available in the color shown here.Â Part of the fun is seeing the appropriately sized and shaped packages Posy has created for each item.Â And there are pies in the back kitchen!
Visit The Far Away at Dreamworld North 198, 153, 22.