Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Yellow Hills

The six lane highway is sandwiched between two hillsides whose peaks angle away from each other, creating the illusion that I am driving through a long bowl with only two sides.  The earth angles smoothly upwards, symmetrically but in opposite directions towards the peaks one hundred feet high.  The hills seem perfectly aligned, cut from the earth for this long highway that takes no turns or deviations.  It is a straight line to the mountains, hidden now by angry clouds.  And though man has tried for symmetry, nature has taken over once again, bringing chaos into the optimistic order of carefully designed things. 

The hills are blooming brightly with wild mustard plants that reach five feet in the air.  They wave in the wind, bending easily on their thin stalks. The yellow blossoms are like an electric lamp blaring loudly into the midday sky.  They cover the hills in a dense world of vibrating yellow, painting a nearly perfect blanket of uniform color, a pattern changing with each new breathy gust.  Moving not in unison, but in a myriad of shapes and directions that change continuously, rapidly, leaving not a moment for reflection.

Ahead is a gray sky. It is dark and verging towards black, just one step from madness. Huge puffs of water filled clouds hang overhead, threatening with their very color.  Towards the right, to the horizon in the east, the clouds are bubbly and pale gray. I can see one small patch of blue fighting through a thick blanket, another color adding to the living palette.

On the right side of the highway, at the base of the hillside, are the plastic orange cones and metal road signs of imminent construction, though not a soul in a hardhat walks beyond the temporary cement barricade that separates the road from the construction zone. Piles of stacked lumber lay waiting, sitting beside metal bound packets of rebar and thin poles, themselves wrapped in sheets of thick plastic wrapping.  Small peaks of sand and dirt wait for use below blue plastic tarps, the edges flapping just slightly in the wind

I stare out though the slightly dirty windshield. The contrasting colors of the world losing no brilliance despite the thin gauze of accumulated dust and orange splattered innards of unfortunate bugs.  I avoid turning my head, but through peripheral vision I see the red, black and white of passing cars beside the windows. 

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