Falling down days, deep July

A stark, backcountry walk along the roads of Grand Mound, Washington outside Centralia: its claim to fame the halfway point between Seattle and Portland. Across the road from the Great Wolf Lodge resort, a +21 legal weed pop-up called King Cronic (sic) with chain link fence, two diseased-looking dogs barely able to get up and bark. The sickly look of the morning sky, clammy clouds: the marine layer, ‘onshore flow,’ muggy. Thirty-some days with no measurable rain and all the lawns gone gold around the edges, working its way to the center. Reminds me of how fast a person’s hair can turn white, but unlike grass, it doesn’t revert back. I imagine if I just kept walking how my life would reduce down to a few considerations and I would undo myself. And why the idea of walking forever holds appeal. How the weeds are emboldened with no rain and crack underfoot, and on the shoulder there’s a CD face-up: The Amityville Horror film, and flies, and the smell of urine, a deer corpse, the contents of the cage long ago emptied. We’ve been out just 24 hours to an indoor water park and I thought a morning walk would do me good but now I’m not so sure. Check out’s at 11 and it’s going on 10, and I hurry back to see if I can catch Charlotte and Dawn for a final run down the Howling Tornado. It’s been three years since our last visit, and you realize how those times are numbered. Lily’s up in the room in a menstrual malaise or pre-teen, or combination: and Charlotte had some of her kid years lopped off with her best friend and sister disinterested in dolls and bath toys, now buried in her phone or blow dryer. On the drive back Charlotte wants me to sit in the back and we cuddle for a time but it all goes to hell by Tacoma and she’s threatening to get car sick if I don’t turn off the AC (claims the smell makes her sick) and it becomes a battle of wills neither of us will lose and I say fine, get sick: I’ll rub your face in it like warpaint, and she films me on Dawn’s phone then plays it back nonstop and I have to look at myself, my jawline gone slack like the elastic in my underwear, the raw truth to how I look and act, it’s not worth filming.

Categories: musings, parenting, prose

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

37 replies

  1. What’s that old bumper sticker…Kill Your Television? I’d be ok with killing phones. I had the misfortune of hearing myself in a recording with my daughter the other day and thought how angry I sounded, though I wasn’t. It wasn’t a flattering angle but something I needed to hear. I also saw something on the onion about how each additional family member reduces enjoyment of a vacation by 38%. I’d say more for teens and pre-teens but they’d say the same for parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great evocation of drought-creep, Bill – in body, mind and surroundings. It gets one down, all the earth cracking up. Here at last we have had rain, but then it comes without any sense of proportion – just downpour.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like you need some new underwear, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate July to mid August. I spent the last week kicking about, flopping, and just being grumpy in general. Too hot, too many bugs, too many fireworks, too many activities I hate, from family barbecues to swimming. All with a teenager who shrieks “What???” if I accidentally make eye contact. School starting and autumn is like winning the damned lottery. So I guess this time serves the purpose of making me appreciate that all the more. Apparently your post was my summer rage trigger.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Battles with daughters are unwinnanle by either faction. The best you can hope is that you get one antagonist, Dawn gets the other.
    My parents are visiting. 87, and now even they have a phone, which they struggle with. Speaking of unwinnable battles.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Grand mound? Is there a mound culture in your area? That’s one of my favorite things, natives would pile all the old stuff, trash, the dead into giant mounds, often made into the shapes of animals and things. There’s the remnants of a huge city here in the Midwest, around St. Louis, massive mound city called Cahokia. Makes u think about the horror movie explanation for scarey stuff, built on an Indian burial ground! Whole goddamn country! There’s great mounds here in Iowa called the Effigy mounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “it’s been three years since our last visit…” for some reason reminded me of being raised a catholic child and going to confession. it’s always something on vacation – a tornado, an upset daughter, motion sickness. amityville horror is right!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • We vacate and then we collapse and invert it seems, then miss it when it’s gone and remember it better. Bizarre. But sweet, perfect in its imperfections right?


  8. I don’t want anyone lopping off my daughters’ kid years. I must find a way to prevent this.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ever wonder why weeds seem to grow ok without rain, but grass curls up and dies? Maybe if we started calling grass a weed it’d be motivated to stick around.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I live a little south of the Centralia area and I must say, it’s definitely creepy town in these smaller enclaves along the I-5 corridor. I won’t divulge the name of my town because I don’t want to enrage the local cheerleaders who get a little huffy if you don’t love the dregs of it all like they do. I saw an interesting documentary on the mounds a while back on Seattle Public Television and they believe that they are actually the result of colonies of ground boring creatures, gophers or marmots, because they are geologically similar to abandoned prairie dog colonies. You evoked the mood of the area perfectly. Depressing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We fell in love with downtown centralia this past Saturday, the antique market etc. nothing a mcmenamins can’t fix…truly fell in love and going back! Bizarre, the mounds. Some humming oddness and not altogether good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, Centralia is our go to big town, lol. I like the vibe there. I’m burned out on living in really small towns I guess.
        I think a lot of people would like to believe that the mounds are some kind of spiritual place from a long ago civilization, but the evidence, science based, doesn’t support that. But science is not getting much respect these days, so whatever blows their skirts up I guess. I was at the mounds years ago, probably in the 80’s, and remember very little about it. I’ve always gotten a little creeped out in the Rochester/Oakville area around the Mounds. Feels a little too Deliverance like for my comfort.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t tell you how uneasy I felt walking alone down those roads each time a pickup zoomed by and I pictured myself getting whacked, and the last angle of sight from the macadam with my head pressed against it, dark…we like the novelty of visiting small towns but I’d miss the Thai food and sushi 🍣

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Well ,that was a dark little jaunt. Love your descriptions, though, the grubbiness, the deer corpse, the parched grass and to wrap it off a run in with your daughter. Those damn phones! My son’s driving his dad crazy with his at the moment and they make them grumpy, I swear. We were saying today how simple summer holidays were when our boy was small – outings to the park, drawing together, making models from cereal boxes and old bottles. Now my son tells me how he doesn’t like people and is better off in a room on his own! Damn his hormones. Hope you’re surviving these tricky parental years – I feel for you


  12. the fretful ennui of summer.
    goes brown here not yellow. starts everywhere at once, as ovens do.
    trade ya for wot we got. max today 8C. balmy say some, frickin’ freezin’ for Melbourne.

    Liked by 1 person

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