Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hungry Dawn

It is a wonderful fall morning here.  It makes me want to be in the hills so bad.  If I were, I would wake you and tell you to dress quickly.  I would get a flashlight and quickly, quietly lead you deep into the woods, quickly to a hillside where we could sit and just wait.

Perhaps we would talk quietly, but mostly we would sit silently as the woods woke up.  It is a glorious thing.  The little birds wake first, noisy and hungry they flit from tree to bush, singing quietly and talking to each other in a ritual that happens every day of the year.

Squirrels seem to be the next to arise.  They come quickly down the trees and bounce from place to place through the fallen leaves.  Sometime they make me think it is a deer as they run and then hesitate.  Often they scold and fuss as they search for that hidden acorn they put away days before.

As we sat it would warm up, but you would shiver as the cold seeped in.  The joy of seeing a doe walk silently through the woods would make you forget you were cold.  The awe of seeing a 10 point buck slink by, nose to the ground, following the scent of the doe, mind on nothing but the doe will enthrall you.  We will giggle like children as we realize he walked so close we could have reached out and touched him, yet he was so enamored he never knew.

We would sit for ever so long as the sun rose over the shoulders of the eastern hills, unwilling to give up our seats for the concert of the holler below, the theater of life that was playin' out below us.

Finally we would walk quietly back, talking now and again, unwilling to break the somber, thankful mood we were in.  Back at the cabin, breakfast would be ready, Aunt Mag and Bess would be fussin' over eggs and table arrangements.  Platters would be piled high with cat head biscuits, fried ham, sausage meat and bacon.  Gravy would smell lovely and call for us to pour it over a huge bakin' powder biscuit.  Homemade jellies an' sourwood honey would sparkle in mason jars, just waitin' to be swiped on one of them biscuits.  Then Uncle Bill would pour boilin' water from a kettle into a washbasin...temper it off with cold water, just drawn from the deep well in the front yard.  We would laugh and chatter as we scrubbed our hands and dried them on a towel worn thin with scotch thriftiness.

As we sat we would bow our heads, give thanks for the beauty of the dawn we shared and eat.  Yes, buddy, we would eat!

Stephen Hollen   copyright 10/12/2007