Monday, August 8, 2016

August Recollections

The mist is on yonder hills these mornings of late, the scent of fecund, late-term summer turning fey and mysterious. Some places, that mist swirls up thick, ghostly in its grace. Those who live and breathe among the hills and mountains know it's not the frogs a-makin' coffee as the "childern" are told, but the good mother earth sending up notice of a spring trickling among rocks blanketed in emerald mosses and ferns.

The secrets of mountains are a bittersweet joy, from the birthing places of creeks among the broken cliff's stones, to the bits of grave marker which lie in solemn silence over memories long since buried and decorated with reminders of more of the same. Among these hills, generations of ancestors have laid down memories. Some were washed in spring or creek or river water, others in tears or blood, as the case may have called for at the time.

They were people of every description, light or dark, short or tall, thin or fat. Yet each of them was tied to the land by something more powerful than mere chains. The power of love made them fight, for no nation of people lives forever in one place, and fight they did. The need to protect that love gave them callouses on their hands, scars on their bodies, and called upon many, even newborns, to pay the ultimate price before the final resting of a tired body. It was love that made them take pride in gardens, or in the stark, vivid beauty of quilts made into art by careful hands, from nothing more than the frugally saved fragments of hard-earned and never wasted bits of bright cloth. In a land with no easy riches, love wrought wonders, not the least of which was given voice in a unique form of music.

Blue-green shadows stretch long, smoky lines denoting waterways, brassy golden sunlight filtering in fool's gold shimmers through shifting tree branches. As evening settles into place, an eerie warble heralds the arrival of a tiny hunter, the screech owl, sending mice scurrying in mad haste for the safety of cedar and blackberry thickets. Haunted by intrinsic elements of natural self, the high places take on a spirit to be meddled with only with great care. Not by accident do the stones, the veritable bones of these hills, harbor serpents, symbols of wisdom, and plant life which can both heal and harm.

Down the long, dark hollows, that high, sweet sound of an old fiddle echoes, meandering and traipsing on its way to a creek, a river, and eventually to the sea. A message it carries, solemn and regal, that what was once sea will again return to the sea, that love given is also taken, that what is may exact a toll, and be changed, and in its changling dream, be carried forward, immortal, beloved, an august recollection waiting only for spring's caress to live again.