Saturday, April 17, 2004

Just a Question

Ever wonder where them little minnows are goin’ or what they are doin’ when they swim so very fast in the creek over by home? Have y’all sat down lately and let your feet hang close to the water as you watch the water skippers dart from place to place or seen a crawdad, dark as mud, creepin’ from rock to rock? Has your vision gone fuzzy an’ your mind drift off while watchin’ them go about their lives, not knowin’ you are sittin’ just over their world?

I didn’t think so. I was watchin’ you an’ just knew you hadn’t taken time to sit by a creek in a while. You have that hurried look about your sorry self. Sort o’ like you are too important to sit on a dusty bridge. Too uppity to just stare at an ol’ muddy creek. I reckon y’all think it matters to the world that you are off to a job where you peck at a machine, stack papers or shelve books or call folks for one reason or another.

Wonder when the last time was you took your darlin’ by the hand an’ walked quiet like through the mountains? Ever called in to that job an’ said you needed to get away and let your spirit lead as you wander through the hills of home? No? Have y’all ever sat in one place in the wood for so long even the squirrels forget you was there an’ went about their day huntin’ an’ diggin’ an climbin’?

I had a feelin’ you would say “no”.

Cousin, what you need is a liberation of the mind. A freedom of your spirit. First thing you got to do is stop an’ go outside for a bit. Shut up an listen.

If you are quiet long enough I reckon you will hear the hills callin’ your name. If you ever lived there, or your Mama or Daddy, or even your Grandpa three times removed, the hills know your name. They whisper it all day, every day, hopin’ you will stop just for once and listen. It is like a lover’s voice. I bet y’all have thought you heard your name floatin’ on an evenin’ breeze. Probably wondered who was a callin’ you.

Now, you’ll be askin’ how the hills know to call. It is the sweet earth, the rocks – slate an’ shale, sandstone deep in the earth with your family name etched deep on each rock. Your initials are carved into the hearts of the trees yonder on the hillsides. Your secret name is hidden in the tight buds of a magnolia deep in a holler that held your family homestead. That apple tree gone fallow now, standin’ in the shadow of a long forgotten chimney still bears a sweet apple waitin’ for you to pluck it, taste its sweetness.

Them hills know you, dear cousin. There is a thread tied from your heart to that holler where your spirit wants to stand. The deer waits and watches for you. The Red Tail Hawk soars over, checkin’ for you day by day. The Barn Owl cries “who, who” but knows who…it is you. The birds sing in hopes of your homecoming. The doves cry a sad song because you are not there.

Go, go as fast as you can. Do not stop till you are there. Run to the hills, fall to your knees and dig your hands into the rich earth at the feet of them worn out ol’ hills. Stomp your feet in your worn out brogans an’ dance in the tall sweet grass grown up ‘round the stones that are the foundation of that homestead, the foundation of your soul. If you dare, dance naked in the twilight. Throw your clothes in every direction as you spin the soft mist around you like cotton candy as it falls to the valley floor. Dance naked to the tune of a thousand tree frogs clingin’ to the sourwood, sassafras an’ cedars an’ be reborn to the mountains.

Dip your feet into the cold creek as branches flow from mountaintops, the very waters dancin’ at your homecoming! Sit on a bridge an’ let your vision go fuzzy an’ your mind wander. Watch them minnows an’ they will show you their secret…

They aren’t goin’ anywhere, they are spellin’ out your name.

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