Dust Filter

I don’t know what to call this filter through which I’m seeing the world right now. Maybe it’s dust.

Maybe it’s fear.

Maybe I am in The Waste Land. (Come in under the shadow of this red rock.)

I’ve taken a job I’m not particularly suited for (to put it mildly) that places me in a dirt-and-pebble-filled children’s playground for nearly half of my eight-hour workday, five days a week. It has not rained in any measurable amount in these parts for over a month, and copious amounts of dust are kicked into the air by flying feet and tumbling bodies. By the end of the week my lungs feel like those of a pugilist with a pack-a-day cigarette habit. Battered and bruised.

Last week I got truly sick from it. And now I fear it.

On the drive into town each morning I pass fields of corn and soybeans gone brown, the giant tillers turning under the remains of this year’s harvest, raising rooster-tails of bone-dry earth in their wake.

Where is the rain?

In honor of yet another presidential campaign season, I have turned off the news. Whatever fresh hell is headed our way can be dealt with when it gets here. Meanwhile, I try to write, and the dust (fear) clouds my vision, and the words come out all wrong.

Plus I’m still sick. And so it goes.

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