LOS ANGELES BASIN
The mollusk writes this from a state of longing, far from the highland plateau where she had been only two weeks earlier. This sea-level suburb where she’s staying should be a more natural place for a mollusk to be, but now it’s two A.M. and she finds she’s out walking. The terrain unfolds in grids: straight boulevards bordered with tidy squares of lawn. The symmetry oppresses her. She catches herself staring with heightened intensity at garden flagstones and piles of pebbles, at gnarly shrubs vaguely reminiscent of juniper. What she’s looking for is so far away. There are no sandstone outcrops here, no stands of cottonwoods lining a wash, no dots of evergreen on the hills or snow on distant peaks.
Two weeks earlier: the mollusk’s brief stint in New Mexico had come to a compulsory end, so she loaded up the Camry and drove off in a daze, enclosed momentarily with all of her belongings, like a snail. Why did she have to go? Snails hated to go; slow, trepidatious mollusks, once a snail gets settled, she generally prefers to stick around. It’s a desperate snail who crosses the road, and if she does, she is wise to get across as quickly as possible. Read More