The Weathergoat trudges on.
First in blinding sleet, through slush and puddles that soak his feet to the skin, plodding next to garbage-strewn highways, salt trucks casting stinging fans of salt across his thighs as they lumber past. The sleet then turns to freezing rain, plastering his hair to his face, drenching his clothes, making pale mushrooms of his hands. Still he trudges on. The rain passes and a bitter wind starts to blow, an eager pickpocket stealing whatever warmth he’d secreted away – even his armpits feel cold. With the wind comes dust that cakes in the corners of his mouth and eyes, a chalky foulness that he can neither spit nor swallow away. The Weathergoat digs his hand deeper into his pockets and continues to march.
Finally, the sun comes forth, a baleful eye that cooks the water out of the blacktop, tainting the air with a humid petroleum funk. But there are no clouds – the Weathergoat’s skin peels and blisters. Pollen bursts forth from the ragged grasses on the side of the road, filling the cracks on his brow and in his lips. Still he walks.
Elsewhere, in dappled shade under swaying sycamores, a man pours lemonade from a pitcher and passes it out to his friends. Hamburgers flare and sizzle on a portable grill. There is a cooler filled with ice and beer. A gingham cloth is held down on a picnic table by bottles of ketchup of mustard on one side and a bowl of potato salad with hard-cooked eggs and scallions on the other. A woman in a sundress waves a fly away from a platter of cheese and tomatoes for the burgers. It’s a beautiful day.
For this the Weathergoat trudges on.