Only once in the past two weeks have I heard someone remark that, for spring, it feels an awful lot like fall. Bright, cloudless skies have long melted the snow, but throughout the mornings it remains below freezing. From dawn til midday, every person is attuned to the warming of the great cold mass we live in; everyone feels the warmth spread from their core, to their arms, legs, to their faces, to the tips of their ears and nose and to the tips of their fingers and toes, and then outward, to the wooden floors of their houses and to those houses’ stone foundations, to the copper of their pipes, to the asphalt of our streets, and then up—up and outward, through the concrete of our town, towards the sky. No one wonders where the heat goes when it leaves our town each night.
It’s a weekday, and I’m driving home. It’s just warm enough to have the car window down. They say it was a day like today, some time ago, when everyone returned home to find their plates, their glasses, anything in open cabinets, smashed on the floor. People returned home to find their neighbors in their lawns, discussing, consulting. People returned home to find their neighbors knocking on the doors of the only family on the street who wasn’t outside, throwing a minor fit of panic, trying to find out why exactly they weren’t panicking.
They weren’t panicking because it was on a day like today that the spouses of the municipal construction crew knew to stay home, to put their plates on the carpet, to hold the cabinets closed.
On the mountain above my town stand the radio masts. You can see them from anywhere in town, especially at night. On a day like today, that long ago, you’d still see them. There’d be less of them, probably, but you’d still see them. And on a day like today, that long ago, you’d see one more than you’d have seen the day before.
I was fixated with the broadcast towers of Penobscot Knob when I lived in Mountain Top. This story was meant to center on a fictional event involving the installation of a new tower, on a similar hill outside a similar town. Specifically, an “unguyed” tower—one that didn’t have cables (or “guys”) stabilizing it. Small unguyed towers exist, but an unguyed tower of this size is absurd. The idea was that they were going to bury it deep into the ground; more specifically, they were going to drop it into the ground, causing a minor seismic event.
Reading it now, I clearly also meant to capture the beautiful, cold, bluebird days of a NEPA spring; days that pair so oddly with the feelings of living in a place where nothing interesting happens.