All tagged invisible states of america

Sometime during the Hadean Eon, long before the formation of life as we know it, a comet fell to Earth in the most gentle manner astrophysically possible. It ended its approach at nearly the same relative velocity as the planet's own orbit, then sank into the sea of molten iron below, in which it cooked over the course of several centuries like a colossal Baked Alaska.

Beyond a handful of major cities, the American Midwest can be understood as an archipelago of small towns rising from an agricultural sea. For most travelers, these isles are little more than waypoints between two nodes in a great concrete network: exits from the highways where gasoline is gathered, and urine is left behind.

Another tumbleweed rolled into town yesterday- the third of its kind this month. This time around, the professor’s trap finally worked: we found the damn thing snagged in a tangle of barbed wire, screeching loudly, trying in vain to unfurl its hungry tendrils. This one was at least thirty feet in diameter, so we figured that something good had to be buried under all those thorns.

“You have such an interesting accent. Where are you from?”

“Maza, North Dakota. It’s a town out in the middle of nowhere.”

“You don’t sound like you’re from North Dakota, though.”

“Well, the middle of nowhere isn’t exactly in North Dakota- in fact, it’s not really anywhere at all. Hence the name."

The Hoover Dam is said to be filled with human bones. So the story goes, during its construction, workers who fell into the structure’s wet concrete were left inside, as those in charge believed that the cost and risk of retrieving their bodies would be too great. For those who believe this tale, the dam doubles as a colossal tombstone for those buried within.

The coyote awoke one morning to find that his roadrunner was gone.

He’d disappeared, beyond the asymptotic horizon which outlined their desert, that unreachable boundary between two nowheres. Together, as predator and prey, they’d followed the same highway westward for thousands of miles, always encroaching on that same horizon, yet finding no end to the repetition of sagebrush and sand.

While hiking through the woods of Selganac, east of Minnesota and west of Wisconsin, I happened upon Paul Bunyan’s tomb. Though I spent seven days wandering the perimeter of its brasswood walls, I couldn’t find a single corner or entrance. I turned around before noon on the eighth day, for though it was clearly the work of human hands, the structure had proven endless.

During the return journey, I crossed paths with a carpenter from Duluth, who told me that he had been hired to help build the tomb. “Yep,” he told me. “It’s still very much under construction.”

Just before it reaches the state of the same name, the Mississippi splits in two- one river above, and one river below. The old waterway’s underground sister diverges into numerous caverns, most of which prove to be dead ends. One of these branches spirals downward for almost a mile, however, into a vast, subterranean kingdom where the borders of the nations above have no meaning.