That Time of the Year

One short road with four  houses on one side and one house and one mobile home on the other side completes the main drag for our nearby village of New Dennison.  A church faces the highway and beckons you into the village, which ends with a lower entry road that continues on to Marion. Across that lower entry road is one more house and mobile home.  

This is a historic spot, which many years ago had a railway connection where people caught the train to Marion and Carbondale.  Once also facing the highway , where only  an empty lot remains, there was the home of  the doctor who delivered many babies in this area, but that house burned a few years ago.

Just around the corner on the village’s one road  was the small house of  his midwife companion who traveled with him in the buggy to help deliver the babies. A cousin’s daughter told me what a meticulous housekeeper she was.  Now that house too is gone after the midwife’s only child continued to live there with her cat until she finally went into a nursing home.  I never found out what happened to the cat.  I never met the mother, but I was acquainted with her daughter, who never married. She got her water from a well, and almost to the very end lived there proudly without electricity. They surely used oil lamps in her younger days, but I never saw any.  Because she had gradually confined herself to one room and it was very crowded with only a narrow path between furniture laden with clothing, I was afraid to suggest one.  I did take  her one of those battery lights you can put in closets or dark places, but I don’t know if she ever used it. She enjoyed a small battery-operated radio and was interested in the Kentucky Derby and also local news.  A social worker or a relative finally arranged for the Rural Electricity Association to put in a ceiling light in her one room, so she did have electricity the last year she lived there.  After her death, a neighbor acquired the lot and tore down the worn-out house and made it part of their lawn.  It definitely looks better, but I still think of Juanita when I pass by.

One of the more substantial homes on the road always interested me because a favorite speech student of mine once shared the story of his uncle who lived there at that time.  He was retired from some much larger town in another state where he served as post master, and Jerry explained in order to have that good job, his uncle has passed as white.  I never met the uncle, and Jerry died much too young just a few years ago, but I think about these things as I pass beside the houses there.

I always drive through the village and take the rural route into Marion when I go to visit Katherine.  Early in October,  I was driving towards the house at the end across from the lower entry road. I don’t know who lives there, but I always enjoy their Christmas lights. That day on the front porch swing which faces that road was a short man in overalls and straw hat  relaxing in the sun. It was such a pleasant sight that it made me smile, but then laugh when I grew closer and realized he was a straw-stuffed man,  Since then week by week, additional seasonal decorations have been added to the porch and yard  including a ghost by a tiny pretend cemetery.  Bright orange lights illuminate the scene when I come home late at night.  I liked it best when I thought it was a real guy enjoying the fall air and beautiful trees, but I still smile each time I pass.

I make a point of trying to absorb all the bright colors of the  leaves hanging on the trees in such abundance right now around our lake as well as on the road to town. We still have a rose bush blooming and few late day lilies, but very soon the bare browns of November will erase late October’s colors and we will need to adjust to a new kind of beauty.

.

 

 

 

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
What a beautiful description, Sue. You give your town a real face and a real voice.
Monday, 03 November 2014 11:11
Anonymous
I love this, Sue. Reading your blog is always a vivid and comforting detour into another world. Glad to see you here.
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 18:01
Sue Martin Glasco
Thank you, both, for your visits and comments. There are so many worlds often within a single place.
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 19:17
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Autumn Wind

Howling, relentless

wind – roaring in from the north

penetrates my bones.

Where is it going?

It’s in a hurry and wants

to take me along.

Dust flies in the air

obscuring the mountain views.

The world turns dull gray.

Like a steeplechase,

Tumbleweeds race each other

to a distant place.

Quail crouch in the sage.

We are thankful for shelter

on these windy days.

 

tweed

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
Oh wow! That wind is doing some lateral thinking. It's even captured the verses! Thanks, Ken ... Read More
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 16:39
Ken Hartke
Thanks Rosy, things have calmed down. I'm glad you stopped by.
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 21:20
Anonymous
Quail crouch in the sage... love the image of this, and the whole poem. Thanks for sharing it. H
Sunday, 26 October 2014 21:04
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Autumn Moon Over Woodsong

The moon is growing.  Weather is chilling.  Combines are droning. Fall is here. I love this season.  I guess I better get into the tornado shelter that exists under our front porch and find a few autumn accessories although I am not much into decorating these days. The door in my office opens into the shelter.  Unfortunately when we moved in almost 13 years ago, the house was not quite done yet, and so we used the shelter to store stuff.  It has been a storage spot ever since, but hopefully if we ever needed it in case of a tornado, there would be room for anyone in the house.

We probably have a tornado shelter because of Gerald’s close friend Bobby Sanders. Bobby had been in a tornado or two.  Those winds can topple the big semis that Bobby drove back in those days, so he was quite conscious of tornado danger. When he and Kathryn moved to Crab Orchard, they built a tornado shelter in their back yard and tolerated some laughter from locals.  But when the  tornado destroyed a large part of Marion in 1982 and headed straight towards Crab Orchard, Bobby and Kathryn had a lot of visitors crowding into that shelter with them.

I can still see Mary Ellen coming down the stairs from her bedroom at Pondside Farm in 1982 telling us what the radio had just announced.  My first thought was to call Gerry and Vickie to get them and baby Tara out of their mobile home lying in the tornado’s potential path. When they joined us at Pondside Farm, a road or two away, we all stood in the side yard and watched the tornado from a distance.  It was a sad and scary time with many deaths, and the tornado’s path looking like a war zone.  I could not get over how shredded the left-behind debris was.  So when we built this house and Bobby reminded Gerald to be sure to put in a tornado shelter, we were not hard to persuade. 

Even though  the more recent tornado came through just a very few  miles south of us, we have never had to use the space for refuge.  But I am glad it is there and grateful for the storage area.  At first, water began to drip  from the cold concrete porch floor that was  the ceiling, so Gerald quickly covered it with insulation and solved that problem.  I try to remember to frequently run the dehydrator a couple of hours and empty out the water container when it fills up, so mold is never a problem. 

Where else would I put the old trunk from my childhood that holds the mane of my horse Ginger when it was trimmed once?  Or my first grown-up pair of hose for eight grade graduation?  And letters from old boyfriends?  And lots of letters tied with ribbon  from Gerald during our engagement?  I would like to re-read those someday, but the old trunk is topped with boxes, so I may never get around to that. Elsewhere in the midst of empty boxes and saved stuff are plastic Easter eggs bought on sale for a potential egg hunt, sweet little  pumpkins made of brown metal wire, and a  little straw man that Kimberly brought once that her dad George Wright sent to me, and scads of stuff I need to go through and throw away.  

 

Now I best resist the temptation to go in there and start reminiscing and get something seasonal to put on the front door and welcome fall to Woodsong. 

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One Leaf Falling

One leaf falls, black mote upon the breath of time. In melancholy’s dark dance it drifts and shifts. I lift my eyes and trace the eddies through its sinuous descent. From below all colour’s charred upon the dull furnace of the cloud-racked sky; beneath my feet autumn’s vibrant counterpane awaits.

I hold out a hand, adjust, step forward; hope consummated in the aerial flight.

Behind I sense the tower. Firmly rooted it soars, looming in scraperboard monochrome, jackdaw-crowned and cloud swaying, tipping me off kilter, reducing me to this. I place a hand upon the stone, trace a finger along the mortar line, and invite the infusion of time and place and wonder. What hands? I think, What rough caress shaped and set?

Above, bough and leaf speak the sea’s tongue, squalls counterpoint the sighing rush. Autumn’s siren song turns me again, as one leaf returns to earth. Emblazoned in ochre-red and glistening it rests, evading, un-captured.  

The loss of a wish draws down like an anchor, and roots me in loam and turf. Boot toes darkened by yesterday’s rain. Spirits dulled in exquisite suffering. Self-pity a welcome mantle of the season, wrapped sensuously, enveloping.

Torn between living wood and dead stone I stand. One, testament to perpetual re-birth; one, raised in monumental death. And so I choose my path, and take death’s hand. Dark stone on skin. Dressed block upon soft palm. Soaring aspiration dwarfing searing doubt.

Then, with cries darker than the oak’s ancient heart they fly. Jackdaw black. Swirling amidst the new-stirred leaves. The tower draws my gaze upwards towards the rough-hewn blade that ploughs the clouds, and delivers its selfless gift.

I reach out my hand and catch her; sister to the one leaf falling. Dream’s fulfilment.

Make a wish.

Copyright

© Steven Hobbs 2014

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
This is such a rich, original and picturesque configuration of fact and feeling, atmosphere and dreaming. The juxtaposing of image... Read More
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 18:19
Steven Hobbs
Thank you Rosy. I love the beguiling melancholy of Autumn, and couldn't resist writing this yesterday.
Thursday, 25 September 2014 13:37
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