Reflections of the United States

At last, a moment to consider my time in the States.

The differences are of course what hit first. Excess everywhere: vehicles, meals, distances, welcomes. Entire lakes and governments frozen solid. March Madness and marching protesters. Water towers emblazoned with logos – small towns as mock corporations.

But the differences soon fade, and this time I finally understood some of the majesty of the USA. The way the shadowy yellows and greens meet the blue on the interstates. The deep greys, reds and sirens of the cities. Washington DC a nuclear lab, clinical, glimmering, and armed to the teeth. New York City all contrast and emphasis. The Chrysler Building, chubby around the hips and ever demure in the presence of its broad-shouldered cousin. Madison the desperate fighter, knowing that one more defeat could spell the end. Chicago with its perpendicular cold and rattling metal backbone. Denver’s thin air and stadium lights stretching to sawtooth horizon.

Galleries, museums, monuments, and a blur of local beers: Fat Tire, Spotted Cow, Daisy Cutter, 312. Inexpressible hops and malts and sweetness and sweat. I lurk in the hotel bars and Starbucks porches, dipping into the digital water before climbing back onto dry shores. My habit of using the iPhone weather app as an anchor to home is barely needed. I know that the UK is creeping toward double figures while the US careers between sunburn and hailstones.

The longest and shortest month of my life. Some day I’ll stay longer; perhaps even for good.

Cennydd Bowles