A brief gallery of hideous things

Live out your life in a lonesome hollow. The unattainable horizon comes to crush you all the same.

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The real pity – says the benignly neglectful gardener – is that the flea beetles are too busy ever to stop and admire their handiwork.

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Slime molds always remind me of the late Emperor of Japan. Imprisoned by protocol, worshipped as a living god, Hirohito made an infinitesimal progress around the grounds of the Chrysanthemum Palace, magnifying glass at the ready for these otherworldly creatures that evade every category humans can invent.

Like the proverbial army that travels on its stomach, the bulldozer chews up the earth with its caterpillar feet.

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Some merely stoop to conquer. Japanese stilt grass falls all over itself.

Put out to pasture, the rotting muscle car gives its last joy ride to a multiflora rose.

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The sun oozes into view. Seven-thirty and already I’m bathed in sweat. On a brief walk around the field, I spot my father hanging out laundry. He’s whistling “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” as he pins up the underwear.

UPDATE: My father insists that he was in fact whistling “God Save the Queen.” Could’ve fooled me.

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