Something About July
There’s something about July here in the Wickenburg valley, something about the warm desert air it brings in sends the town folks into a frenzy. Of course, they themselves don’t notice it. You need a drifters eye to understand when a town this size is on the brink of a full blown communal collapse. I’ve seen it happen before, and I’m sure I will see it happen many more times. It usually all starts the same way, The heat, it drains people. The wrath of the scolding June sun beats and breaks down the souls of the young men out working. Constantly fighting and struggling to keep the town afloat. They get to thinking, real deep thinking. And it’s not the sort of simple thinking like, how are we going to get the cattle to the next field of grass for them to graze on or which aqueduct route makes the most logical sense for the town. And they sure as hell are not thinking about preparations for the upcoming winter months. No, they are thinking deep, going way back in their tormented heads. Way back to their childhoods. Where they used to dream of riding off to far away lands in search of treasure, adventure, and a sense of freedom. The rule-less lands in which the only law was the gun on your hip and the bible in your hands. The wind kissing your face as you rode your stallion past stagecoaches pushing faster and farther. Mountain ridge to mountain ridge never looking back, only looking forward to the next adventure. Until one day your name caught up to you and you ended up like the rest of them. Just a pretty corpse to look at. They get first to thinking of that, the life and the story of someone who would be remembered for centuries after his death. The type of person kids talked about and imitated being. A legacy anyone could be proud of. Then they think of what brought them to this town. For most of them it’s probably all they’ve known. These five streets, one saloon, and a single poker house. The constant cycle of the seasons and mundane tasks are all that they know as everyday life. But there’s something about July, something about July that makes them at least question it. Question why they are here. Here stuck in this untolerable sun that wakes them in the middle of the night with sweat dripping from their brows. Now this is dangerous thinking for little towns like these. The whole ecosystem of the town is composed of the work these young men do. They are what you would say is the lifeblood of the community. Just like their fathers before them and their fathers before that, the town runs smoothly off of the shoulders of the men in the community. It’s a vicious cycle out here in the Arizona sun. But then again there’s always a sense of hope in July.
The boys get to talking, well more complaining in the saloon. One of them will puff out their chest and boast “ Things ought to change around here and I’m gonna be the one to do it.” He won’t do anything worth importance but they all cheer up and agree. Except one, he sits in silence studying the drink that sits in front of him. He’s the one you pay attention too he’s not thinking things ought to change around here. He’s thinking i’ve got to do some changing, and then get the hell out of here. Now there are two things that can keep him here and stop this man from leaving. One, is the love of a woman even if it means misery of the soul. I’ve seen men stay in one place and just ponder life until they are on their deathbeds because of a woman. The other thing that can keep this man in town is hope. Hope that one day a women in town will take notice of him and offer her unwavering love to him. Either way it’s always a woman. Ever since Eve man has been cursed to it. It’s how it is and how it always will be when it comes to a girl. But this boy, He has no love to hold him here. He has made up his mind to ride out of this town. Onto a new place, new people, new experiences, new scenic views, new adventures, and a new life.
I can see it in his eyes, he can see it in mine. We share the same stare at our drinks. It won’t be long now until he comes over to talk to me at my corner stool. I caught him looking at me from his spot across the bar just the other day. Yep, it won’t be long now. He’ll ask me how to do it. How to just pick it all up and walk away. I’ll tell him. He’ll see how easy it really is but then I’ll warn him. Warn him of life on the road. How it’s a lonely place, full of your own thoughts and constant questioning of things you will never find the answers too. But that’s just the road, and it’s a constant freeing place as well. It frees your soul and challenges the very meaning of the world that you thought was true before. You start to look at things differently, you see the weaving webs of the human race, how it’s all connected. It’s what the soul truly craves and needs.
July has ended and the sweet August breeze has nursed the towns wandering hearts back into the ebb and flow of everyday life. Except the man at the bar I spoke about is gone. God knows where he headed. West im sure, like I suggested. He would be having a good time out there. August is a great time to travel. Cool breeze blowing on your back easing you onto the next town, the next mountain range, the next adventure. The next town may have what you are in search of, whatever that may be. Secret to happiness? The meaning of life? Love? Fountain of youth? Immortal Legacy? Only god knows, or hell maybe it’s the devil. But the wandering gives you hope. Or a sense of purpose, a personal quest. Sure as hell beats rotting away in one place your whole life.
But does it, does this life of travel beat rotting away at the same bar in the same town every night. At least if you stay at the same bar you’ve put down some roots. Have some loved ones to surround you, a wife, some kids, a stable job, a sense of ownership in something. Or is it more noble to sit here quietly scribbling my thoughts to myself on this dirty whiskey stained paper. A different bar stool every week and a different bed almost nightly. In any case it’s still the same rotting. Is it noble? The wandering. Refusing to settle down. I don’t think noble is the word for it, maybe stubborn. Ya thats it. Stubborn, that’s all I am. Oh well at least the sasberrella here is pretty good and it flows for cheap.
New girl just got into town today, seems like the sporty type, deep dark hair like the Utah night sky, and real calming blue eyes. I hear the boys claiming she’s got a bit of Native Indian in her. I bet she’s the type of girl to have some stories. Type of girl to make a man drop everything just to see what it is she is going to do or say next. Something to Share, something to show the world. Shit maybe she’s got all the answers to the questions I’m trying to answer. I might hang around a little, see if that’s the case. Ahh what was her name again …ah yes that’s right, July. Mizz July Adenberry. Yep, there is definitely something about July.
Parker Sterni’s writing comes from a stream of consciousness. Delivering what he sees and observes daily to the paper by the way of the pen. He holds no home and no four walls have ever coaxed him enough to stay around for long. Wondering, Observing, and Writing is what he enjoys. That and a whiskey sour every so often.