I had an idea to start this off with a quick, stimulating little essay in the manner of Christopher Hitchens, impressing with wild vocabulary and making a convincing argument for my sudden presence on the inter web. But it’s too hot for all that. No breeze is getting in through the windows and the air is still gauzy with haze from the one thousand or so wildfires around us. Oregon, it seems, is burning. Plus, I keep thinking about rockets. Model rockets, in particular, and a spring day in 1977 when my dad packed my Sister and I into his green Ford Courier for a trip to Thousand Oaks. My uncle Rick, who years later would end a legendary bender by freezing to death on the side of a highway in New Mexico, was renting an old Rancho in the Conejo Valley, and it was the perfect place to launch the rockets we had built in my dad’s garage. The thing is, and forgive the jarring narrative turn, it’s all gone now: my dad snatched away in what should have been his prime, Rick frozen and snowed under on a lonely highway in the Land of Enchantment, the ranch bulldozed and reborn as a strip mall full of costume jewelry shacks, dry cleaners (One Hour Martinizing!), and fast food franchises. So as I sit here in the haze, sweating, feeling unusually dour, it is nice to remember that for a few hours, a long time ago, we shot rockets into the sky and stood in a kind of ecstatic amazement, shielding our eyes against the glare, watching those bold little missiles streak skyward until the parachutes finally popped and they began to fall, swaying slightly, pushed away on the currents, and we ran laughing through the grass and the yellow flowers to find them.
And I guess that’s what the Bunkhouse Chronicle is about— I’m going to shoot some rockets into the sky and see where they land. I hope you’ll come along.