Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Crusing down Bowen Hill

In Gurdon, Arkansas, the one large hill was Bowen Hill. We rode and walked our bicycles up to the top of that hill. Then we glided down, achieving breathtaking speeds. I can still feel the wind in my hair, the gravitational pull of the hurtling bike as it rolled downhill. Bowen Hill was our Everest, our K-1, our Kilimajaro. It had a mythic quality all its own--it was a talisman, a place in our hearts, an idea we all shared. We could say "Bowen Hill" and know we meant some place really high, just as we said "Caney Creek" and evoked all the special essences of the town's creek which drained sewage. When we said "Graveyard Gang", we meant a mythical band of older kids, who, on Halloween night, grabbed trick or treaters, undressed them, and tied them with rope to the tombstones in the Gurdon Cemetary. The words were so evocative--they all had mythic proportions. Today during my lunchtime pizza I read a book by an art critic named Kospit or some such, in which he labored mightily to develop a theme along the lines of "what is decadent art?". I read a long passage, filled with allusions and distinctions, but none of his elaborate constructs seemed remotely as evocative as the simple phrase "Bowen Hill". I was much wiser when I was a child, and all my myths were childish myths. I am far older, and far less wise, now that words must have rational meanings, and do not come with the images already imbued.

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