Craig Childs - House of Rain
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Field Notebook

September 18, 2009
Shooting range...

Sitting at a desk in dry clay hills on a mound of brass caps and shells.

I often come to this ad hoc shooting range to work. I like the desolation. When my computer battery ran out, I closed it, shut my journal, set down my pen, and faced a long range of bullet holes through buckets and plywood. Out beyond them lay the warming badland hills, 10 in the morning.

I am drawn to the places we shoot up and leave behind, landscapes that feel like carcasses. I used to walk the bombing ranges of southern Arizona, going out into nowhere where an occasional fighter jet would flash by, or at night I would watch flares in the distance during military maneauvers. Otherwise, there was no one. I walked for weeks alone. There is something deeply settling to me about places like this, no man's lands. They are where we do not go, empty zones lacking any contrivance. All bets are off. I recall finding unexploded missiles and I would shake their tailfins to see if they might explode, ending my life without me ever knowing.

They never exploded.

In the badlands, computer off, I stood from my desk. I walked the shooting range into the desert, taking no pen or paper with me, falling off the map for the morning.

{Western Colorado, September 17}

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