Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Where I Am From....

A delightful blogger, Molly Bawn has challenged me to write my own take on her wonderful poem/prose about her life story.  You must read it!

 Molly writes with an Irish flow. Delores writes poetry that brings tears. Arleen has wry humor and perspective.  Joanne connects past and present seamlessly.  Dee brings introspection and wisdom with her writing. My own writing is that of a Midwest story teller.  

That said, here is a lengthy post:  


The road home


Take that straight road, the one over there.  Road flows past maple trees, now yellow, bright like birthday candles.  Go on past the corner where the old school house used to be. A mound of crumbled red bricks mark where children once played.

Stay on this road, but not too fast.  Just gaze at those cornfields to the west.  

Good crop this year, tassels are dancing in the breeze, the tangled silk is spilling out the shy ears tightly wrapped  like a present.  Like strands of gold running down the stalks.

Good full corn.  Silk is almost ready to brown.

A row of battered mailboxes are on the left, all people I once knew. Names of people long gone are streaked off.  Strong farmers and patient farm wives.  Good people.  Their paths crossed mine time and again.


That big barn, covered with vines?  Old couple lived on that patch of ground, but their house is almost gone, chewed down by creeping ivy and violent weeds.  Like fingers from the ground wrapping around the wood frame and pulling it into the soil.  




Stretches of field after field drift on across flat land.  Stand of corn over on the right is strong, tall this year.  A parade could hide in the rows.  But the beans on the left?  

Creek flooded its banks, covered the field in knee-deep creek water. Beans turn yellow when saturated roots drown.  Too much water this year, not enough next year.

This angry creek pours it muddy waters out over the fields every spring, but farmers continue planting. "Maybe this year will be better..."  Never is, but farmers stake their lives in hope.

The road will fork off, but a dirt road goes on straight over a quiet creek and by the bluffs.  A rusty old bridge stands astride this wide welcoming creek.  Traveled that road so many times.  

Did my share of splashing in that creek on steaming July days.  So did my folks.  So did their folks.  Life is lived to the fullest in a cold creek on a hot day.


But don’t take the dirt road, although you could, but it’s a long stretch of bumpy back road. It will rattle your bones loose.  And it won't take us where we must go.

Swing over to the road to the left, follow its wide curve like a bow.  Let the road take you slowly, or you’ll fly off into those bean fields.  Don’t want to get stuck out there—that clay mud will suck the car down to the fenders. Seen it happen.

That road will glide over a new wide bridge, put in twenty years ago over angry creek.  Follow the rise to a big house and a mud-splattered truck.  



From there, oh my! from there your eyes will want to rest a bit.



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Gaze at rolling land, rich and green.  Fields and cows, barns and houses, trucks and tractors, families with lots of children. 

The Land is everything. Land remains.


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So much life! Awe will steal air from your lungs.  

Take your time, look.  


Your eyes may want to race over the velvet land.  Land does not give up its secrets with ease, or let you study footprints stamped deep in the earth.  

Ancient stone arrowheads lie just beneath growing wheat, bones beneath corn.  
Old nations crossed over this plain, dwelt on this land, and faded sadly into mists. 

Wagons once rattled along hunting trails. Houses appeared, disappeared.  

Flash, flash.  

One generation to another builds and leaves.  Always shifting into mists in the west.  

The land stays, but people move on.


Source

Wait!  Now, there



That is where I am from, that farmhouse right thereSee it?  Two stories of windows, white paint, green roof?  Turn in at the mail box. The name is almost faded out, but it is still a ghost on the tin.


Quick! The north porch, see it?  The begonias are bursting out of their pots this year.  See those boots?  That means Dad is inside, and Mom is watching out the kitchen window for us.




Look now.  The barn over there? The trees made for climbing?  

Run, hurry inside and don’t blink.  

‘Cause if you do, this will all vanish.  

An older post about "Home" can be found here.

26 comments:

  1. Lovely take on the poem. I felt like I was there and could see it all. Made me homesick.
    Oh, and thank you for the shout out Susan. That was very kind.

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    1. I am homesick, too. Glad I could take you on the journey.

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  2. You didn't need pictures (although I loved them). Your words painted the lovely portrait of your life. Just beautiful, Susan!

    Also, thanks so much for the mention. You are very kind.

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    1. I snapped most of the photos the last time my mother was able to go on a drive. So it felt right to put them in. Thanks for seeing what I saw!

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    2. You wrote it so beautifully that if someone had read it to me, I would have pictured it perfectly..

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  3. Like the use of all the photos as it allows even more visualization to your words. And yeah the land is always there, yet people think for some reason it won't be if they aren't there.

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    1. We people think we own the land, but it is the other way around.

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  4. Home sweet home...
    Wonderful piece, Susan.

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    1. Strange how I spent half my life leaving home, and now wonder if I will spend the rest of my years trying to return.

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  5. How interesting, trying to return. You can never go back. No rewind. No do over. But the stories that are the memories should be thrown out to the future. Who knows what they will make of it.

    Thank you for noting my writing; I appreciate it.

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    1. Sometimes I want to grab hold of those times and squeeze tight. Other times I want them to skip through my head.

      I hope the ones who come behind me will read the stories and wish they could have seen it all.

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  6. Dear Susan, first I want to thank you--for the link to your first posting on home, for the link to my blog and your kind words, and for your inviting us along as you travel the roads past creek and fields to your home. The home where you grew up and felt safe. The home that will live forever in your heart and mind, capturing as it does all that your parents meant to you. How blessed you are to have this place to go when the vicissitudes of life begin to stifle your heart and your hope.

    Both my parents have also died; Mom in 1968 at the age of 58 and Dad in 1975 at the age of 68. And the house where I grew up has also been bulldozed, the land sold, the pear and apple orchards gone. Now only briars and brambles on the front lawn. I, too, lived out in the country. Dad didn't farm, but Mom had a large vegetable garden. Growing up in the country, I think, brings into our hearts a silence that unites us to Oneness.

    Thank you for sharing these memories of home. Peace.

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    1. Thanks, Dee, for your own memories. Like your house, my old farmhouse is gone and the barn with it. If one didn't know we had lived there once, they would drive by without a thought.

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  7. Aha! I found it---hiding in plain sight, of course. Not the brightest computer user on the block here! Loved your take on "Where I'm From!" I must correct you though---it is not mine! I merely fell in love with it and made it mine---as you have done by taking us on this journey home. Really loved how you described fingers from the earth pulling that barn back down into itself! Beautiful imagery.... You are so right about how we blithely leave our roots behind, then spend the rest of our days trying to go back....But you can never go back to the past. The best you can do is treasure the memories AND write them down. Lovely piece. Now I must pay visits to all those links!

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    1. Oh, Molly! Thanks for coming by! There are days--usually 'anniversary' days--when I miss this place. But now, I share the present with my grown kids and small grandkids. I'm enjoying it!

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  8. I feel like I've visited the place, just a little bit. The pictures and the words went together wonderfully!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed your trip down my old road.

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  9. I've seen that red barn before. Your beautiful story really transported me back in time. Seeing the boots lined up on the porch made me wish alongside you that your dad could've stepped right back into them.
    Julie

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    1. Thanks, Julie. Glad you saw where I am from and what shaped me.

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  10. This is as much a painting as it is a story of a place that meant so much to you. My eyes teared when I saw the boots on the porch. And I know all about violent weeds, but I would never have thought to call them that. Thank you for inviting us on this journey.

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    1. Thanks, Inger. I hate weeds and how they obliterate what was carefully placed. Oh, some weeds have beauty, not denying that.

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  11. Oh, I like this, Susan! Your imagery through analogies is superb. I also love the line " ...farmers stake thier lives in hope. ". Being of Kansas stock, i can so appreciate your sentime nts.

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    1. Farmers always look to next year's crop. Kansas farmers? They are a tough sturdy and stubborn group of farmers, God bless 'em.

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  12. And with this, I felt like your stroll back home, down the memory lane was recollection of wondrous times and yearning for a return.

    Thank you for such detailed articulation, Susan.

    Gary

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  13. It's all music, Susan, all of it. What an ear you have. Got it from the creek, did you?

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  14. Takes me back to my own memories, even though they're not quite the same. I guess that's what good writing does...allows you to relate. :)

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!