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SMALL WISDOMS OF THE RED CLAY HILLS, THE RED CLAY VALLEYS
The iron man is more than fifty feet tall, so he’s hard to ignore.
Sitting here in my uneasy chair, riffling through pages of a red clay diary, I can see the iron man outside the window, even when not casting my gaze his way. He’s in line of sight so much that I don’t realize I’m observing him. But I do.
This cast iron statue dominates the city and the valley 24/7, which means that locals ignore him. But visitors seeing him for the first time are attracted and puzzled. What’s that big statue all about? they ask.
Out-of-towners meander the streets and byways of the city, trying to find out how to approach the statue. A van full of family pulls up next to me as I pluck a morning newspaper from the front yard.
“Hey, how do I get to that big iron man on the hill?” the driver asks. I know exactly what he’s talking about and point him toward the man of iron’s domain.
Transients have never heard the iron man’s name, so the metal signs pointing to Vulcan Park are no help at all. Only we indigenous denizens know that the statue’s first and last name, his only name, is Vulcan.
Details about Vulcan are readily available to research, so if you do your homework you’ll be well educated. You’ll know more than I.
From my point of view, all I need know is that Vulcan is two years older than my home. He was cast in 1904, my residence was built in 1906. Both have endured storm and temperature and humidity and humiliation and rebirth a few times. But they still stand.
Vulcan’s inanimate gaze takes in everything and nothing, as does my animate gaze. Opening my eyes to the red clay city floods me with thousands of overlapping images that would take a lifetime to describe, a millennium to appreciate, an eon to wholly understand. And even then, the Why would not be clear.
Vulcan is a symbol of what each generation decides to emphasize. My home is an inexplicable sign that many lives have visited and vacated the premises. My easy chair in which red clay rifflings occur is a temporary structure that will persist with or without me.
It’s all like an iron asteroid that flashes nearby, momentarily appreciated, creating stirrings that soon settle and await the puzzlements to come
© Jim Reed 2017 A.D.