Tag Archives: home

walking on the water

Not far from the house is a dock/bridge that winds back and forth across the marsh, out to the channel. One can take a walk upon it, as many folks were doing, or fish from it or bring a boat up to it at several points. The thing about it that struck me so was its solidness. One could jump high, land hard, and feel no shuddering. It was steadfast. It did not move, though the sea and land beneath constantly ebbed and flowed, rose and fell with the tide. Fish darted and flora swayed underneath us, never still. But, the pier pathway remained stationary.

I love the marsh, the briny, almost too much smell that means life is coming to be. I have sweet, sweet memories of marshes below Mobile, aside St. Simons. I find them the most nurturing of views.  Marshes are the home of all my gentle beginnings.

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sweater

Linking up with the beauty at The Runamuck today. Check out Amber Haines latest offering in our Concrete to Abstraction series. It has been a joy to read so many fabulous pieces linked there. Check them out as well. And submit your own. We’d love the company. This week our word is SWEATER. I kept it. You said it looked better on me, tossed it over to me, warm and wool.  Our clime did not warrant it. But, I loved it…as it was yours, who covered and kept all my secrets, warmed my still cold soul.  For years, I wore it anytime the wind blew hard, threatened to swallow me. It seemed too much, as if it would  be scratchy, but it was not so. I first wore it in pictures, winter ones, before we all left out for our other homes. It is in my closet, near the one the little Peruvian lady mailed to Rob, the Christmas after he paid to tow her stranded car, in a city that was not his, and then paid to fix it,  with a sum she and her teenage son, Han, could not understand, a man they did not know, assuming. That Christmas they sent us sweaters she had made, softer than silk, Alpaca, deep greens…and a Christmas card in hesitate, yet beautiful English. The cards continued for years. Always signed, “Han’s mother.” Both are too warm for wearing in Alabama, both speak of a love, too much…  more than enough to cover and keep. So I store them high in my closet, not cloistered away in cedar…to remind me of love, too much.

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taken to the trail

I’ve taken to the trail again. The season is perfect for woodland walks.

I  leave out about 4pm, the sun shining slightly yellow and filtering through the fading green leaves still clinging tight.

I say I am back training for greater journeys. I say it is about the exercise and stretching my body…but I come more for this kinship, and the resurrection of my nine-year old soul.

My path begins on zoysia and dives down into a draw. There the beauty of waist-high grasses, still supporting blue and crimson blooms, slows, but does not hinder me. I press through them and climbe upon a small ledge anchored and carpeted by pines whose scent sends me back to wood romps and straw sweep-ups in our yard. I run/slide down a little worn away trail and into a deep vale – where wet and sanded soil is blanketed by violets. They mush under my feet and buoy me along. An arch of green welcomes and I duck under sweet shrub, at once I am toddling  in my Nana’s yard…then chasing around corners and beneath hedges.  The ground grows hard where it has been driven over, parked upon and ornamentals rise before me, long too large for their once appointed station. Now the ground is graying, and my steps feel Georgian, middle, centipede grass grows scarcely and pine straw is strewn within its fingers. The scent of Camelia falls from the now great tree, I am eight and walking up from the lake.

The trail disappears back into the woods where once supple summer plants stand spidery and crisp. They reach out at me, the hands which one held their flowers, stand stark and grab gently. The temperature falls as does the elevation…the creek is not far beyond. As I near, I can see reflection. Summer’s shoals are sunken. The water is dark, deep and still, full of all the colors above: blue and golds and greens. I end my sojourn, turn my eyes and see sky  through the arms stretching to touch and connect with all brothers. I spin ’round under the canopy that covers and behold breathtaking beauty in every direction. How could I ever improve what surrounds me?

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portion

I was reading Preston’s entry today at Deeper Story. I love that southern born boy who wants to see the world and write about it in an accent that goes down my ear easy. He was writing again about tables and the fare that we offer on them, the fellowship and deep truth which the things we partake there deposit into us. It reminded me of thoughts I started to chase as Karen made biscuits for me yesterday morning. I love biscuits – they are the comfort food I most crave. As I cannot seem to make them, my sister got all the biscuit making genes, I usually settle for my other favorite when I need some warmth or comfort – grits. Anyway, Karen got the genes from her mama/Granny and so has always made biscuits for me and all those she loves best. It’s been 20 years since I last ate her biscuits. She, of course, as all biscuit makers, was not pleased with the perfectly risen, golden brown glories she pulled from the oven. They were great. But, for me, greater than the actual biscuit is the act of biscuit making. Though I cannot work the magic myself, I have watched the conjuring a thousand times as the makers talked to me while the biscuits came to be under their touch. I first realized what she was going to do for me as I saw her haul the particular brand of flour down, pull the buttermilk – which had meandered to the back of the fridge free and heave down the Crisco can. I watched her hands, as I always have, bead the flour with the shortening and baptize it with the sweet-smelling milk, and then mix – not too much, the dough. She seemed to pay little attention, the whole for her muscle memory. I focused hard on love’s labor, through always near tears that come to be when I am with her. The biscuits were perfect, if by her standards, slightly tanned, like our sun-aged skin. Her’s less than mine, as her regimen has served her better than the absence of my own. We moved to the table, she serving my deepest hunger for sustenance that sticks, holds, and proves even in wilderness and before enemies that goodness is indeed my portion.

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as far as from east to west

I gathered myself and walked “my land,” once more, the soil giving tenderly beneath my boots. I listened, spoke out a few words I heard, then bowed my head and blessed back.

I drove out the drive full and free. But, I waited at the gate, I would not leave out first. I waited for her, probably making calls to encourage or in some way organize one of hers. She soon drew up beside me. I glanced through the western glare on her glass. I couldn’t see her behind it. But, I could still feel her fingers entwined in mine as we prayed,  smell her lotion on my shirt. I knew how very much there she has always been.

She headed east and I back west, away from every stretch of soil I could ever call home.

I have a few more years here. Mine are not grown or gone, just yet. Bama children cannot imagine better. But, the time will come, soon enough, and my hands will again dig deep in that clay that stains me so…

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Circling round

We set out under quiet clouds, the rain light – gentle, a sacred circuit before us. We drove the carless roads, not alone. And all  seemed slow and sweet and suspended. We moved down the mountain and worshipped awhile before the ancient and true…watching fins swim and whispering of earlier walks aside the water.

Littles climbed and squealed on rails while mammas held shirts fast, as our mammas had held ours, and we our children’s. This secret space we had found separately spread out before us, its stump buildings and signs government green, the most comforting color. It meant my Daddy was home, with me.

I stared at that space my little eyes had longed for, my older eyes still held as dear, and wondered that my friend, who never knew me little, had come to love this nearly unnamed place, 100 miles away, as well.

We turned south and rolled toward banks which built me, formed much of what named me, proper. The White house, not Little, or so colored, sat abreast the property.  No one ruled from it, but its place was surely preeminent. I searched the gray ground for things I had unknowingly offered to St. Augustine and for my lure that fell into the concrete cracked across the spillway. I saw no mark of me, for the million miles I walked round and round, my rod in my hand. All left now were the memories I had sloughed off, like sunburned skin, hoping in vain, for no scarring.

As we started to leave, I saw my baby sister rubbing enchanting chub fingers over her “hand warmers.” We collected hundreds but forgot most of the smooth, pocket-sized alluvial stones. I leapt from the car to where she often sat gathering, and I stood scattering them against the smooth surface of our shallow pond. I bent down and put one in my pocket. I would not leave this one behind.

We turned west past all that had been my Pop’s land, the railway now a road-race practice place, and the neighborhood of my friend Stacey, whose pre-wedding antics still bring us great glee.

One more turn and we were headed  back north to our temporary tabernacle. On my right lay the low smooth rocks and fat leeches of Flat Rock Park, where we played with underwear-only clad little crackers like us. We drove on, willing the wheels slower and slower, Quiet our companion. As we climbed, the music of our journey, seemingly made before the foundation…, softly speaking all into being, played soft. I reminded her of a drive we took, twenty-five years ago…and of songs she sang for me.

I could not stop the sun, I would have stilled it in such a moment forever…left my portion of more willingly. We sat silent as the engine ran against the now breaking sun, listening to music that sang my sufferings. She listened hard as the beauty blended with imagery of binds and blood. My shoulders and heart open to her…my tears sliding free, I let her look on, catch and chronicle each one.

The circle we traveled was like so many circles that had come to be in our lives. How many times had we returned to just where we started, the same and not so. All good stories circle back on themselves…

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like a stone

“And I came home. Like a stone…”

Stone – strong walls and soaring halls and sounding footfalls.

Stone – hewn and broken, fitted and  bonded. raised to protect and shelter.

Stone – sliding under my feet and spreading my fist.

Stone – gathered and hurled.

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