American Dream/Joy Spring


American Dream/Joy Spring
Lynn Darroch

An American dream, we believed, set our souls free, no responsibility; back to the land in the ‘70s, when forces of darkness were ascending. Pure we’d be, but sustained by scraps from the system we’d flee. Dream of land cheap and steep, laws weak, and temp jobs anytime, it seemed, picking ferns or pulling seedlings.

In A-frames and domes never finished, under tarps and tarpaper; leaky stoves, pumps froze, outhouse with no door, changing diapers on concrete floor … Chickens, goats …

And swapping schemes about how to succeed … as the cedar bandits we intended to be.

Lot of big cedars lay among second growth, see, left by loggers in the day. Slow to rot, good for shakes. At night we’d buck and split, rig a line to the road, slide bolts to truck below. Never earned much, though — enough for pot and plywood, food for the table; pride and bloody knuckles mostly our reward.

Harder than we thought, out on the edge – chickens escape, ruin the garden, neighbor with a shotgun’ll kill ‘em but misses, wounds some, a mess; inedible when finally boiled and plucked. No electricity, and hauling water from the spring.

Souls not free but in another bondage.

She was always heating water, it seemed, up early, infant on hip and a load of wet sticks, pretty soon enough to leave husband and son, become a belly dancer in Portland. Pretty soon enough to see … it wasn’t very far really, all the way back to the city.

Still, a noble dream, this living free when dark forces are ascending – back to the land, soul refreshing. Yes, light out for the territories like Huck Finn, vanish into the forest … sustained by scraps from the system we’d flee — an American dream.



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