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Principle of Motion - A Fragment

Updated: Jun 26

Copyright 2024, Paul Hawkins

Excerpted from the Omnibus of my lit over several decades. Prometheus Unwound:


Principle of Motion: A Fragment

Her oldest son and his friend, neither of whom she trusted to look after her daughter for one minute, were going off from the dry flat Oklahoma farmland into the world to seek their fortunes, but at the girl's insistence the mother exerted the last bit of parental authority she had over the boy and made them take the daughter, too.

She had two big sons left to take care of her, and one was out in the fields and one stood in the doorway behind her, big and strong, blinking at the boxy, dusty red Ford Falcon like a Brahma bull, not angry, not confused, not anything, just looking at it on that hot July day like a bull, maybe, who's suddenly found a barrel in his yard.

They had several jugs of water in the trunk as they set off down the dirt road to get to the state highway. Their first stop was Moody, the nearest small town in that place in the middle of nowhere, and she wondered what they'd think, those folks in town, seeing her in a nice dress where they'd seen her only in tomboy clothes before.

For some reason the boys wanted to stop at the diner in Moody and eat a big meal, and talk with the waitresses, probably, and brag about themselves and their trip. But the girl didn't want anything to do with this. She felt the money she had worked so hard to save in a small bundle in the beaded purse clutched to her body. She didn't want to spend any of this money she had saved in a place so close to home. It was just as well they said if she didn't go to the diner with them.

They left her on her own, and told her to be back at the old red Falcon in an hour, so she set off walking about town, and its building-narrowed, blue familiar streets.

Why some anonymous day in hot July? why now? How long had this been building? The daughter had been surprised when Providence sent this thunderbolt of an old Ford Falcon into the midst of measureless time to assist her, and the mother had been surprised when she let her go - when she used her last influence over the oldest boy to make him take her. But the thing itself was no surprise - it could not be described as having been building for any period of time at all. It was a desire that not everyone has, and not everyone is conscious of, but it is a sweet and mysterious impulse which, in its absence, leaves a sturdy, healthy young farm boy standing at a doorpost blinking dumbly outward like a Brahma bull, and, if possessed, impels a creature toward an old Ford Falcon although they know it's nothing, it's less than nothing, it is motion in a wide dry place, and as such its essence, however hidden, is incorruptibly pure and sweet, an outgoing activity on however many cylinders, the invisible movement of a soul that reaches out to God and the promise of what might be amongst the angels and saints.

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