Nebraska Fieldwork 2

Posted on July 3rd, by JasonEricBell in Blog. No Comments

In Seward, the world’s largest time capsule. The vault includes two cars, disco paraphernalia, and letters from members of the community.

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Glass bottles full of Kool-Aid soft drink, from the Hastings Museum of Natural & Cultural History.

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On either side of I-80 cornfields unfold like green corduroy. The distance between towns is incredible, the possibility of never leaving Nebraska terrifying. Insulated by the whine of tires and top 40 radio, a car turns into an island drifting to the end of the world. Once we get there, we’ll tumble off the edge, off the waterfall into a foaming void. The prairie has been nearly exterminated but seafaring metaphors are still appropriate for describing a voyage from one end of the state to the other. Other than the Platte River, which I crossed this evening, geographic landmarks are absent. The farmland might as well be the open sea, my boat about to tump in calm waters. Shore is helpless, I’m so confused. Perhaps a connoisseur could distinguish the many shades of green that make Nebraska corn, could tell one country road from another, tell what’s a ghost town and what’s a small town, pluck history and detail from the air. Everywhere smells like beef fat and manure to me. If only I could catch a flicker of sea in the wind, I would know which way was West.


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