Saturday, March 06, 2004

Come Home, Come Home

I am achin' for a peek at a hillside with some daffodils pushin' through the litter of old leaves - oak, maple and larch. Planted there by a forgotten mountain woman to brighten up the yard outside a common cabin. Maybe a redbud sort of hintin' that it plans to burst forth in bloom 'fore you know it.

Down a holler there is a sorry ol' dog just waitin' to lay on a porch just in time for me or you to pass. He'll raise his head to watch me as if to say, "where y'all been for so long?" Folks are sittin' on them porches even now, practicin' for warmer weather...comin' out with coats on to breathe deep the mountain air and clear the dusty winter from their lungs.

Cousin, if you listen close an' be right quiet you'll hear the sound of an axe splittin' some kindlin' up by the creek an' the soft steady currr, ruck, ruck cluck of a couple chickens as they peck at the warming earth. There, did you hear that? That was the sound of an ol' wood screen door slappin' at the door jam as someone goes out the back door to wander to the barn an' look over tractors ready for plowin'.

Look to the sky an' see the birds already comin' home to the hills, bellies full from their winter vacations. They are carryin' on somethin' awful, meetin' an' greetin' ol' friends an' neighbors.

Smell deep an' you'll catch the hint of coal fires an' hickory burnin' slow in fire grates. Maybe, if you're right lucky your ol' nose will catch a hint of chicken fryin' or beans simmerin' slow from over to Beloved. I reckon that Grandma's House Restaurant is plum' full 'bout now an' ever' time the door opens the smell of home sneaks out to tease an' call you home.

Look in the creek as you dream an see them crawdaddys snappin' out Morse code, spellin' your secret mountain name. The minners swim this way an' that, don't look too awful long cause they'll hypnotize you an' you'll never want to leave.

Now, I reckon your poor ol' shoes are covered with that yeller mud from down home. don't kick it off or rub the sides of 'em in the high grass. Be right careful and when y'all get home let that mud dry. Take it off them shoes real careful like an' put it in a little ol' bottle. Put it away in a special place.

When you get homesick for the hills an hollers, take that bottle out an' smell that sweet earth. Roll it around in your hands and close your eyes. Hold it tight, cousins 'cause it is in your blood already. Blood to earth, them mountains call you home. Blood to earth, you hear the secret songs of the sassafras as it waves in the wind, high on the hillside. Blood to earth, you hear the heart of the mountain cry out to your heart.

Come home, come home, come home

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