Summer after high school I lived alone on my family’s farm in Carpinteria, California.
I didn’t know a hoe from a spade but still reveled in the new role, begging my mother to send money so I could rent a tractor and disc the field.
I disced the field, had my neighbor take pictures of me discing the field, then sent those pictures to my ex-girlfriend.
Right before the photo I mashed hay into my hair.
At night I put on my Walkman and drove the tractor up and down the lightless street, the speed of the machine shocking, the sycamore branches raining down their sweet womanish incense. . . . I’d listen to Emmylou Harris sing, You think you’re a cowboy but you’re only a kid, never once thinking I was a kid.
During the day I spent hours not working but prayerfully wandering the barn trying to be spellbound by every mote in every last shaft of light, then scrawling T. S. Eliot on the walls of the hayloft.
Once I found a dead owl and for some reason washed it with a hose.
And late at night, lying on my back, the sounds of the coyotes pinned me to my bed till I became an infinitely petalling blossom of strange clear dread.