Sunday, September 23, 2012


there's an exhilaration going on here — a combined landscape love and two people love in a new rental car, borrowed for four days, let loose and sweeping a landscape these passengers have returned to after an absence of decades. little has changed, unlike where they have come from and will return to. the territory is too far away from the mainstream and too extreme in its properties to be easily changed — see how the highway, built for and by farmers and woodsmen and large families and isolation, sweeps with the lay of the land, each building needed and cared for or else long gone. this is a no-fooling place, and we are self-guiding through, passing through, having been here before, exactly the same way: of love for one another and for the earth but hurdling at large speed through large landscape. for days and weeks and months and years before this moment we have been on-foot, traveling. now this. tense changes in the text will be unavoidable. someone watching this knows exactly where we are, but I'm calling it earth since we are caught in a matter of time

the film began on the far northern reaches between two states, finally stopping for gas, traveling since the middle of the night, climbing climbing to this spot, where like I say we've been here before. a corner market and not much else, still a pay phone, big old fashioned coca-cola sign white and red lettered, a much older sign rusting and saying even more of what this place once was. a beatup car pulls in next to us, solo driver, a pit-stop with a cd or tape left going, window cracked, the driver grunts getting out and will grunt when he stoops to get back in behind the wheel, pearl jam is playing. he's local — you can tell from his clothes, his walk, his familiarity, and the car has been diminished to short runs. we have pearl jam somewhere with us and so from this driver and stranger we take up his music as we continue our journey, over a landscape that will be slowly but surely disappearing, although it hasn't that much in the four decades since we've been away

no one is about where we are, some of these buildings we pass may be abandoned, though someone has run up that flag, and someone is caring to mow that cemetery, it's saturday and people are home, good size trucks are parked in dooryards and we're still early birds. where's this highway going? it's wilderness and expansive tracts of water, lakes, ponds, bogs, swamps, the famous pointed fir trees of another author's book title. and what will keep it all sustained? the landscape will do quite fine without us, thank you, but what of this highway and where it is all headed to? there is an exhilaration in the love and to the land, the music brought along but inspired by its use from another and taken from his car into this car, the camera is running


film © bob arnold
once in vermont films


Luster said...

Quite a set of posts. I love the serendipity of being handed the soundtrack that is perfect for the moment. It happens just often enough and almost never via the radio etc. By the way, King Creosote is about to make his/their Hand Crank Radio debut. merci boocoo.

stay close

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...


I wrote a reply earlier in the day only to find out it was never aired. Not sure why, except Blogger and Birdhouse are getting to know one another in new ways of posting. A-get-the-kinks-out-period.

Anyway, yes, the Pearl Jam was first heard from a local's old beatup car when he pulled into the lot where we were catching our breath having been on the road since 4AM. I felt good to hear PJ. Reminded me I had some with us and it could be played as we set off further and this is what happened, thanks to the inspiration from our fellow parking mate, who we didn't know and he didn't know us, but in a way we do. As the music plays. The countryside comes to us.

all's well, Bob