Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Campers 

It is raining hard today. Water streams down my driveway, puddling at it's base. Over in campustown passing cars raise a wall of water that swamps their own windshields. My rain barrels had been getting low and I was glad to have to pick my way carefully along the tilting sidewalk pavement in my venerable neighborhood to avoid dousing my socks coming home this evening.

On the bus I had been thinking about the partially used can of Campdry in my basement - wondering if the fellows who live in the picture you see here had used some for their tents. There is a small community here along an inviting woodland path, each dwelling not quite out of sight of the other.

This is where a homeless man was murdered last year. A resident tells me another was stabbed last week. The police have a shoe print, he said, and some blood.

My guide moved here last February. February, for those of you who have never spent a winter in Iowa, is deadly. Utilities here are not allowed to cut off service in February. You have to wonder how a company can get away with foreclosure in that deadliest of all months; who could make the decision; who could enforce it.

Maybe my partly used can of Campdry would run out before they could weatherproof their tents. It would be no good to them now at any rate, because it's raining. You can't use Campdry in the rain.

I change into dry pants and socks and sit in front of my TV, warm and dry, thankful that my rainbarrels are filling; stroking my cat. I think about men who live in tents, imagine they must be uncomfortable, realize that I can't be completely comfortable either...`



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