A City Afraid of Flight

The traveler of the Gold Coast will find the city of Orcutt dwarfed by the golden hills that form the walls of the valley called Santa Maria.  The traveler will notice at once the city’s fear of flight. The homes of its inhabitants and the shops and eateries they patronize are low to the ground as if they cower underneath the blue globe of the sky. All of the trees, save the Eucalyptus,  are low-lying, barely taller than shrubs, and the inhabitants travel only to their workplaces and to their homes, scarcely looking left or right, as if pulled along on invisible cords. They fear to look up at the sky that lords itself upon them. For this reason, those who live there seem stoop-shouldered, or cower in the doorways of their shelters. Even the birds are only shadows that fly along the ground.  Their religions, which urge them to look toward the heavens, only allow them to do so from the safety of their knees. Are they afraid they will fall into the sky if they should gaze too long upward?  The junipers are like stout columns, keeping the canvas of the sky from collapsing on their unassuming houses.  The telephone wires are guide ropes and joists of the invisible tent walls surrounding their houses.  A wind is constantly howling, shifting direction from east to west, north to south. If you turn to face the wind, it is soon behind you.  Long ago, the original city was abandoned in favor of a new city on the borders of the old city. Those who live in this new city must be shadow people. Their ghost-voices ride on the constant wind, bodiless, with the sounds of their industry.  Cars rolling down a highway in the distance is Orcutt’s invisible ocean.  The new city, though it has more structures and a larger population, is much emptier than the old city which has many well-decorated, yet abandoned buildings.  Those who live in the new city must have been caged there, awaiting their return to the old city. They live in well-constructed, adobe cages with tiled rooves like those of the Mediterranean climes of Albania and Greece. These houses are not small enough to cause the people to ascertain their imprisonment; nor are they large enough to allow them to feel free. Those tyrants who guard the city have nothing to fear, however. The city’s shadow people have long forgotten the old city and would not flee from the new city even if their chains were suddenly broken.

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~ by ImaginaryCanary on May 29, 2011.

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