Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Through the looking glass, or "Mythical Egin," or "Guys, Brigadoon is in Idaho"

During the summer of 2009, Jordan Tait let me borrow his Honda Trail 110 from April to August.

Me with the Honda Trail (and my regular bike), back when I wore shorter shorts. 

During that summer, I got in the habit of joyriding among southeast Idaho's back roads. The Honda topped out at around 45 mph, but it was fast enough to make me feel alive in the afternoons when I should have been in grammar class. I never paid attention to where I was going--I just took corners when it pleased me to do so, and wandered until I was ready to go home, then made my way back. I suppose you could say I got lost, but I was never really trying to get anywhere, and my internal compass always led me back to Rexburg.

In the summer months of 2012, I drove a Kymco People 150 scooter. It was an automatic, so it was easier to steer, and topped out at 50 mph, so I could feel 5mph more alive while joyriding through Rexburg's surrounding countryside. I got used to several routes, and my favorite area to ride was around Hibbard.

There was one afternoon when I started out in Hibbard, but just kept wandering. I found myself in an area where I'd never been...there were more trees than usual, and flocks of birds rose up from the fields and lakes nearby. Maybe it was something about the angle of the light, or the time of year, but it seemed enchanted.

In retrospect, I don't know how I found out I was in the Egin area. But it was MAGICAL. I came home and told Jacob that I'd discovered a mythical land where everyone waved at you and had a pet goat. I kept passing people in their yards, watering their gardens in the late afternoon light. It was that time of day when the sun is lowering, and the air cools, and the bare earth beneath your feet is still warm from the noon heat. Every person I passed raised an arm in greeting. And there were a bizarre number of pet goats. It seemed like I saw a goat on a tether in every other yard I passed.

But it was the ferris wheel that truly won me over. I was already charmed by the friendly people and the tethered goats, but as I turned a corner, I passed a yard with a huge metal structure in front of it. It was a ferris wheel. A FERRIS WHEEL. Like, a small one with six cars or so, that looked like it had just been made at home, in some guys' welding garage. Maybe it was unsafe or structurally unsound or something, but the whimsy of it completely enchanted me.

I've tried to find Egin a few times since that magical afternoon, but I've never succeeded. In this modern age, I realize that I've got GPS and Google Maps and all kinds of tools at my disposal to re-find Egin, but I kind of don't want to use them. It would take away from the mythical nature of it. Besides, it wouldn't tell me exactly where in Egin I was wandering that day.

Maybe Egin is like Brigadoon...it only appears once every hundred years or so. Maybe the conditions have to be just right; like, the light has to be at a certain angle, and it has to be at a certain time of year, and you have to be on a motorcycle or scooter or something.

I keep looking. Every now and then I drive out in that direction, instinctively following tree-lined streets, looking for goats and ferris wheels in the front yards. But maybe it can't be recreated. Maybe it was a moment in time, and everything was magical and it can never quite be the same way again. Maybe I'm Gatsby, reaching for the green light, trying desperately to "recreate the past."

But whatever. It's pleasant driving around the backroads outside of Rexburg, turning corners by impulse, waiting to stumble upon something magical.


Jules said...

". . . topped out at 50 mph, so I could feel 5mph more alive while joyriding . . ."

HA that line killed me!

Curt said...

Maybe Egin wants to stay hidden. Maybe it's a pot-growing community with large dryers disguised as ferris wheels, and goats to keep the weeds down, except they sometimes nibble at the real weed, which makes them particularly playful, and requires them to be tethered. Or maybe they're an alien race, biding their time, while also trying to slowly assimilate into earth man culture, based on their studies years ago of broadcast transmissions of the Andy Griffith Show. Or maybe they're part of the lost Ten Tribes of Israel, keeping goats because pigs aren't Kosher, waiting for the right time to come down from the north, or at least until Broulim's has a really good sale on Matzos and Passover wine. Then again, maybe your eyes see hidden treasures where others see dullness. That's a gift best brought out on the back of a magic carpet made by Honda.