Haibun – Setting a Hook

In Colorado the license plates used to say “God’s Country”, back when that sort of thing didn’t raise eyebrows. Not because anybody was particularly religious, but because the mountains were so beautiful most days it almost hurt just to look outside. To be honest though, now when I get off the plane at DIA for maybe another funeral, I don’t feel a thing for the place. I could be anywhere. No rush of “Home!” in the chest.

After the most recent said funeral, my cousin and I decided for old time’s sake to go fly fishing. We went to the local sporting goods store to top up our gear, and I realized I’d need a fishing license. The kid behind the counter asked if that was for “Resident” or “Non-Resident”. Without thinking, I said “Resident”. He asked for my driver’s license.

I paused for a long moment. Then I replied carefully that a driver’s license wasn’t going to be necessary. I was born and raised here, that should cover it. The kid didn’t seem to catch on, and pressed me again. I am not a small man at 6’4″, and my cousin goes by “Stork”, at 6’6″. To my surprise as much as the clerk’s, I leaned over him and asked how long he’d been living in the state. 2-3 years, like most of the other ski bum, rock climbing, hippie arrivistes I’d dealt with growing up. Then in a slow drawl, my eyes locked on his, “Son, my family came here in covered wagons. Five generations are buried in the shadow of this mountain. I said, give me a resident license.”

Stork grabbed my arm. “Randy! Cut the shit! You don’t live here anymore. Give him the money.” I wouldn’t break my gaze with the clerk, and I said I wanted a resident license. Stork threw some money on the counter, got the license, put it in his pocket, and pulled me out of the store, still staring at the clerk.

Such are matters of blood and dust.

Grandfather trout waits
Mayflies hatch within the hour –
Time for catch and kill

 

 

Late Entry for dVerse’s  Hometown Haibun

46 thoughts on “Haibun – Setting a Hook

  1. The undercurrent of pissed-ness is so good and culminates in the “release and kill” final line of the poem. I know what you mean in that line about “so beautiful it almost hurts.” That happens to me so often–lucky to live close to nature.

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  2. Ha! I know the feeling, as I feel like a foreigner in my home state of Colorado too. On my dad’s side we’ve been here a long time. My great-great grandfather, Frederick Pitkin, was the second governor. But even more I can relate to the “God’s country” motto (though I never knew it used to be on license plates!) as the song of the mountains and the shifting light on them always calls me back, no matter how far I venture.

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    1. Damn! You’re a Pitkin! That’s great. You know exactly what I mean then. And of course, that’s how the Native Americans felt about us Europeans, LOL! The downside to all that family is I went to CU Boulder, and it was hard to feel cool in Tulagi’s when you know that your mother used to hang out there. when she was an undergrad!

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  3. ‘No rush of “Home!” in the chest.’….This particular line gives a jab in the chest & also this line,’the mountains were so beautiful most days it almost hurt just to look outside.’ Love the haiku specially the final line.

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  4. I like that story about trying to get a resident license. Our daughter lives in Colorado Springs and I’ve walked many of the paths there. Your mention of “God’s Country” reminded me of the “Garden of the Gods” which is amazing.

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  5. This was a fun read. 🙂
    A struggle of the heart….feeling no attachment to one’s hometown, yet fighting for the status. Me thinks you love your hometown. I’ve been to Grand Junction and Durango….a few places in between. Beautiful area.

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  6. You really convey the feeling of “owning” a place. I myself prefer the fluidity of living somewhere no one feels that they own, where “outsiders” are always welcome. But I understand that feeling from places I lived as a child (and could never belong). (K)

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    1. Thanks. It was quite a shock to me when it happened, because I’ve always thought myself quite welcoming, and live in NYC where being from somewhere else is the norm. I think it was when I got the news that I could no longer call it home that it came on like a trout striking a mayfly, lol!

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