2002:

Do you know the sound of children in the schoolyard? This is the sound on the bus that takes us to the Fair. It is the sound of sparrows in the trees before the rain. On the bus is this sound, one octave lower than the schoolyard, two octaves lower than the birds.

Behind me a man is generous with his daughter. He explains the nature of a bus, how it usually pulls up along the curbs, picking people up, dropping people off. "Your grandmother never owned a car," he tells her, "She used
to ride the bus downtown everyday." The bus we ride is a shuttle. The sound is the voice of the this generous man, the sound is the breath of his curious girl. The sound is the thrill of children in a schoolyard. Only, one octave lower.

I did not know that a candy bar could be fried, but I now know people will wait in line to try one. I did not know that the sun could shine so convincingly while the rain could fall down this hard. From my vantage point in the treetops, riding in an open tram car, I really don't mind at all. It is too romantic for me to be concerned with being soaked, or maybe it's romantic because of this. From so high up, I can't hear the rain landing, can barely hear the rain at all. It's just a hiss, then we land and hear the patter, punctuated by the slap of running feet on puddled walkways.

Trees work to hold back the rain until they themselves become saturated. I wonder if a tree most enjoys protecting me, or dumping lumpy water on my head. I give up the tree. Mostly lovers it seems are walking, shoulders
back, through the storm. These pairs make eye contact with other ones, celebrating their union of youth at any age. The more timid or chilled now huddle in doorways, merchants located indoors are celebrating their good
fortune. The rain ends and more people than before are carrying things, bags of taffy or jerky, or a space-age floor duster peeking florescently above a plastic bag.

Farm kids curl up in the hay of the cattle barn, which smells almost shockingly sweet. I envy how they must have experienced the rain, against the warmth of a docile beast in clean straw. The drumming water on the ancient roof is enemy fire. The comfort here makes them bulletproof.

The sun is down. The lights are on, dim and bright all at once, unlike a ball field and much more like Christmas. The innocence is down too, at least a degree, the romance now fading into something sultry, more like lust. I imagine more salty things are sold now, less sweet.

The bus ride back is a more subdued one. One seat contains two giant stuffed animals, cheap and opulent both. Riding behind the toys is a Winner. I'm a winner too I think, nearly dry now, and full, and just at that point of
atmospheric re-entry that allows me to remember this.
 

2004:

On the bus ride there I noticed this little boy looked just like a friend who had died. I knew what Chris was going to say before he said it, his friend really and the boy looked just like him. JUST like him. Moved that way too. The boy was thrilled, the bus to the Fair, and we couldn’t help but stare at him, he impetus for small memories, for nearness. For hope. Chris says It is him, and he has another chance.

Chances: A lamb hours old, and the right to touch it. A calf minutes old, tiny hooves on the earth for the first time, womb to bedding, wobbly legs, a miracle, the act, our timing.

Rain.

West: A fiery sunset.

South: A rainbow. I wish there were another word for it. I had to point it out to him.

It was a perfect day
(they all are).

It was a lovely day
(I woke up).

Wait: I saw things and did things today that made me feel
(happy).


2004:

It was raining. Wait, like, pouring. It was pouring at the Fair. Romantic couples and rebellious teens ran around in it for awhile, but after an hour or so the place was pretty much cleared out. I mean, relatively.

You couldn’t find a poncho for sale anywhere – they were all gone, all bought up. A hidden convenience store back behind the sheep barn, we bought garbage bags there, fifty cents a piece. Worked well enough.

We walked along the Midway, the lights were all on. Watched carnies dump rain from awnings filled with it. Some puddles were deeper than footwear could counter. Here and there a worker would be sweeping the water around, trying to move it, somewhere.

We bought tickets for the rides. They weren’t all running but most were. Or would run, if someone wanted to go on them.

There’s a girl and her brother, I think he was her brother. They’re waiting for the Tilt-A-Whirl, too. She’s smiling and she’s squinting and I think around thirteen. How about this weather I say or something cute like that and thirteen she says to me It creates memories.


2005: