Collected written works  |  Gary Marx

A morning drive on the first day

The sun, in my rearview mirror, was a swollen egg, about to burst into day. I’m sure I’m mistaken, but for that instant the prairie unfolded before me in ways I’d never seen before. It seemed so new.

The air, too, was still cool with memory of the moon. It was fresh and familiar, and more alive than I can remember. 

In moments like these, you can forget where you are going, and why. The landscape rises and falls like the breast of a sleeping lover. It’s new, always new.

When I was younger and hitchhiking across the country, I’d rise early and walk to the highway. In that solitary stride, in that no particular place on the map, the world — and all that was in it — was newborn. It smelled like this. 

And when I found a ride, we’d spend a few minutes with obligatory hellos and shared destinations, and then a silence would settle in. And the countryside would roll by, taking me into the frontier of another day.

This morning the sun winks at the horizon ahead of me, kissing a tuft of trees on the ridge to the west. And in the dwindling shadow of the hollow unfolds a tapestry of blossoms and grass heads, and the white lace of Queen Anne is courted by the chickory blues.

Over the hill a great flat expanse opens to the north, and another memory rises from that sea of grasses.

I was a boy on a fishing trip with my father. We’d risen before dawn to get out on the lake in our rented lodge boat and Dad’s 7-horsepower Mercury outboard motor. The fog had lifted just enough to see the clear, clean slate of water, and we cut across it in, what seems to me now, a silent skate.

We could go anywhere we wanted on that lake. It opened itself to us, and I felt that we were the first people who’d ever seen this water. But I’m sure we weren’t.  I wanted to preserve that moment, to hold that fog right where it was, to halt the sun, to keep that smell forever in the air. And in a way I have. In these redolent, yet imperfect, memories.



Looking for a Chicago

    Dog in Cow Town

In Death’s Waiting


Living in Interesting


Remembering 9/11

In Defense of


A Minor Distraction

Giving the Computer

    the Boot

The Depth of These


Musings on the Plaza,

    and a World at War

The Tale of the

    All-Seeing Bob

O Little Town

    of Mythlehem

Fruit Stands in October

Moving Day,

    Oscar Night