About a week ago I was biking and saw a beautiful sunset over the river in downtown Beloit, but there was no great place to stop and observe. I didn’t want to keep craning my neck over to the left as I biked down the path, so I pulled over to a patch of (nearly dead) grass. Sitting right next to a major road made it noisy, but it gave me time to remember how much I love the Rock River despite it being one of the most polluted in the country. My stop also reminded me that we don’t need designated spots for finding beauty around us. We can stop any time or anywhere we want to appreciate the good!
Recipe for Saving Rust Town U.S.A.
When I think my city is finally dying,
at last the brick mortar store fronts are
crumbling onto the cracked cement sidewalks,
and all my friends are jumping ship for the countryside
taking refuge in log cabins on the lake
I go and sit by the river.
Before I let my adrenaline kick me into
hightailing it behind the good people of the world
toward greener pastures,
I let the swirling pink whisps of clouds at sunset
skimming above the carboard factory,
I let them filter in.
The river’s polluted and it smells like dying fish, but
gold rimmed sunset lifts up from flat brick rooftops
in something like a prayer.
This dog eared city is part of me
and I keep coming back to it
whether or not I want to,
whether or not I even care.
It eats up my dreams.
If I sit next to the dam
with the people on the highway speeding by me,
I can listen to the river churning and billowing
through everything soild and static.
If I pay attention, this place
can be my urban shrine.
Now there’s a heron and an airplane
flying tandem above the river as it tumbles
over itself, in life-affirming spirals of kinetic springs
and as far as I can tell
I’m the only one watching.