Clamming took up the entire day and he arrived home that evening covered in a mud that stunk of thirteen different types of protein, that came off in sheets under the hose. His mind shot off into the far corners of the county, cataloging, sorting and prioritizing when it should have been walking itself through whatever process was necessary to allow it to disengage from the outside world come evening. When the swallows found their way to the silos and the radio advertised something no one he knew would ever use. Something with pumice in it. And baring a Malaysian name. How frequently do we rob our own thoughts of their primary substance, turn those thoughts into bitter, empty shells before they even have a chance to break open of their own accord on the soils of the world? Inside you might have found diamonds and objects that looked just like diamonds but for the words engraved upon the surface, whole sentences sometimes with yet further sentences suggested and forbidden at precisely the same time. His barometer had fallen sometime during the day and it lay cracked and useless on the floor, the glass shards crunching underfoot as he stepped over the barometer and returned, uncertain of what he was supposed to do. People would be depending on him for information but he would no longer be able to provide it now. They would call to complain, to cancel their subscriptions, and he would, most likely, have moved to the shed by then, far from the ringing of the phone, re-soling his boots and talking to himself. Inventing riddles with answers that did not seem like answers, or questions either, or declarative sentences for that matter. They didn’t seem as if they had been invented at all, but were simply plucked out of the air fully-formed by someone who could see such things floating around above our heads while we were oblivious. We marched blindly ahead until the street turned to the right and the property facing the road was overrun with brambles. It was literally impossible to tell who owned it or why it had been allowed to go to seed like that without your doing a great deal of investigation. Without thumbing through records at the court house, for instance, and interviewing witnesses who, in all likelihood, weren’t even there. They were riding their bicycles instead, following the routes first laid out (so rumor has it) by the backwoodsmen -- the trappers and the primitive surveyors and the dirt farmers -- who first called this isthmus home. I suppose, though, knowing what I know of the troubled history of this region, that that last statement ought to be amended. To include mention of those who preceded the heroes of our tale. As well as those who just arrived a day or two ago, anxious to see for themselves what their own faces will look like when reflected in the peat-stained streams that wind their way between structures here like the opaque and implausible, if highly entertaining, syllogisms of a lunatic.