The weird beauty on the outskirts of Bakersfield, CA

by Jennifer


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​It sure is beautiful here when you see past the piles of tangled metal car parts, spilled oil on driveways, and dead dogs that run along the main road in and out of Bakersfield pre-dawn (for serious. Scary stumbling along these running pre-dawn along sidewalk-less roads).

My fingers are clotted with red, nearly too numb to type, but I can’t help wanting to record what I see.

Outskirts of Bakersfield, California

This may be only a temporary lull in a life that reverts back to routine in 4 months. I have a husband to return to, but I’m unsure after all this travel and exposure to other people and places that NYC will ever feel like home again.

Powerlines to Bakersfield, California

It’s beautiful and strange here. I don’t fit the demographic that is heavily White and Latino and car-centric.

It is hard to believe that Bakersfield is California’s 8th largest city with a population of 800,000 when you get out to the rural edges of town.

Rural homes of Bakersfield, California

Roosters crow in front yards and vicious growls erupt from the throats of medium sized guard dogs that rattle the semi-pliable diamond-holed fences. I say a prayer and don’t make eye contact with the bored little beasts that may elicit the final motivation they need to push through the wall and enable them the sickeningly deep satisfaction that would overwhelm them in sinking their teeth deep into my right calf. The capillaries and vessels would burst with each infinitesimal plunge of teeth, tearing through my flesh.

Scrawled copy paper signs denote yard sales that could have come and gone years ago. I’m disappointed I’m too early, as it’s 7am, or too late to meet the people and see their wares. I have absolutely no place to put new things in our touring camper van, but perhaps they’d have some postcards I could mail out to friends.

I don’t use the GPS on my phone when I have time to go on long runs like today. I’m unsure if Uber exists out here to deliver me home if I run too far from the van, but a decent number of men in trucks have pulled alongside the road to offer me rides. It’s nice to think of the good intentions, but I smile and wave off their invitations. “I’m just going for a walk,” I chime back to them. They look confused. One throws his hands up in confusion and loops around, window down, repeating the same look of bewilderment as he pulls past me a second time.​

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