Cattle Chute

The rubber circles rapidly rotate upon the road and the rhythmic whir of the tires, the soothing whoosh of the swiftly passing air by open windows, and the invigorating, insistent, pulsing notes from the rock anthem blasting through the high wattage stereo system, pull upward at the corners of the drivers mouth, shoot stars into his eyes, jolt his senses with tingling electricity, and flush his muscles with sanguine bliss.

The driver breathes in fresh, crisp air, that smells lightly of concrete, rubber, and sun-baked earth.  He detects wisps of green vegetation, wildflowers, and sniffs at rusty metal and treebark.  The drivers olfactory senses pull in strong notes of rose hips, leather, and oily musk, and of artificially generated lemon, and lavender, the later two scents he can attribute to the cylinder affixed to the louvered vents on the dash near his right hand.

Two his left and right, far beyond the door frames of the vehicle, verdant, tree-covered, sharply rising, humbling, mountains shoot towards the periwinkle sky.  In this powder blue canopy, tufts of wool from the most heavenly of sheep float languidly, moved by a most patient, and gentle, invisible, hand. Before the driver, an infinite concrete and macadam serpent extends itself towards what is unseen of itself, metal scarabs creeping on its back towards an unattainable terminus. In the glass-aided aft, the mobius drive stretches, with its closer-than-expected, creeping vehicles, skittering patternlessly, along its length.

The driver sighs, and soaks in the blissfulness of the perfect trip.  His destination is far, but all the conditions guiding his travel, are perfectly pleasing.  There is naught a cloud in the sky, the smells are pleasing, the sounds rhythmic, and the notes stimulating, the drivers body is positively tingling at the euphoria of blissful travel. Of traffic, none has impacted the fluidity of his traverse.

Uninterupted, and for many hours, this carefree trajectory continues for the driver.

Then, quite unexpectedly, an incongruity affects the drivers reverie.

It is rectangular, seems made of metal, and bears the color of orange.  There are words written upon this placard, but the driver who has been speeding along on his journey, fails to decipher the words.

In due time, another sign appears.

The driver speeds by, confident that the sign was erected in error.  The road after he sees the second orange rectangle is clear, blemishless, and continues ad infinitum, albeit, the driver observes a curve far down the road, close to the horizon.

As he drives further, the frequency of the orange signs increases, as does the consistency of his seeing more vehicles.

Before long, the broad, expansive, seemingly never-ending highway has been constricted, crunched, and compacted.  By concrete coercion, the driver finds himself in a cattle chute.

Panic assaults this driver.

The sense of confinement, after an extreme period of freedom and sensory exhilaration, is cloying and prison-like.  The driver is completely capable of navigating the rough concrete chute through which his vehicle has been funneled, but there is a considerable sense of unease that happens once in the corridor.  Though the driver knows that the temporary restraint will abate, but long as the miles pass within the stone passageway, regardless of accident or incident, there is a stark fear of entrapment.  This causes feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, and to small degrees, mania, as the driver navigates the possible outcomes that could occur during this restricted transverse.

What if the vehicle runs out of gas?

What if my vehicle is struck, causing an intense accident?

How will I get help if there’s an emergency?

What if I’m too close to the edge?

What if I just ram through the side of this barrier? Maybe I could keep going?  Surely I’m not the only one who has thought of this before?

I know where I am going, why does it feel like it takes so long to get through this section?

Then, the vehicles trapped in front of you shift to make space in the upcoming, splitting lanes, and the driver breathes a sigh of relief, vowing to always exit before encountering these cattle chutes any time in the future.

Though, in the future, as prepared as you think you will be, as each cattle chute swallows your vehicle, each driver will swear, they never saw it coming.

Be patient, one emerges from the chute in time, and remember, though slower to travel, there are always back roads.


Humbly yours,






One thought on “Cattle Chute

  1. Oh the freedom.
    Oh the ride.
    Oh the extreme unease
    When finding yourself inside . . .
    The chute.

    Very funny, vividly descriptive and universally relatable.

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