During the summers, I would take a shortcut through Bend Fork to the mine. Actually it was more of a 'longcut', but it had many more trees, streams and slow gravel roads where I've always felt the most secure. Sometimes, I'd even drive through the fords which usually meant I'd eventually have to repack the wheel bearings in the vehicle but I've always felt peace in a place like this.
I keep a special tire valve stem in my memory shoebox. I had taken Marie on one of these four-wheel excursions and on that day a protruding log had caught and pulled the stem from one of the front tire rims. I don't remember many of the details of the repair, but I do recall that it involved a lot of mud, frustration and time. It is true though, that the tough things often make you better.
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The long in-betweens stretch like the ribbons of roads from this point to where you are and the silence in these passages is often immense. Yet this is where I resonate in the heat of this summer and imagine all the so-called innappropriate things you might say or do.