Stranger in a Strange Land

by Sophie Allerdings

I left my house as the sun was setting, driving out of a sunset and into the reddish dusk that turned into gloaming, windows down, sneaking glances at the brilliant sunset illuminating the hills to my west, now visible as a chain of ragged teeth against a darkening sky. Smallish, older houses huddle up next to the road as if for protection from being completely forgotten; not much happens here. This is Route-66 territory, though that forgotten road runs far south of here; this is Colorado before money moved in, resolutely holding out against prairie palaces and golf courses. Silos dot the landscapes reminiscent of the area's past and dwindling present as a farming community. Cattle feedlots and fields, tractors and "home," bygones of the world following the Goldrush and the Cattle Kings as tenacious remnants of another era; it feels as if I'm Steinbeck out to discover the country in which I was born and know little about. Glitzy strip malls and truck stops the size of small towns tempt the weary, like Homer's Sirens, or at least Kafka's - for these are silent - into stopping for lukewarm coffee and the dismal but somehow comforting ubiquitous fried food: I resist their call and drive on, for I have miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep.


Sophie Allerdings is four steps from somewhere. She was born in the wrong country, likes train stations, airplanes, and any sort of adventure involving a foreign language. She lives in Colorado and Germany. You may visit her here.