Time Travel


Heading east on 40
and traveling back in time,
we cross river after river
on sturdy bridges of steel,
where once the crossings were longer
and wetter.
The hourly distance covered now
once took weeks, months, years
of heaving oxen and strong legs.
The Smoky Mountains
blue in the late afternoon light
as we turn off the highway
to a county road.
In a tiny town
tucked in against the ridge,
‘Do you know where we would go to find…?’
We follow directions
and pull into the yard,
greeted by a young father and small son.
‘Do you mind?’
‘No, they rest right here.’
My forebearers,
first of my family on the continent,
their headstones surrounded
by roses.
Surviving the hardship
of the ocean voyage,
cutting the long trail
across a strange land
to this place in the wilderness-
settled in 1698
and died in 1726
on a most beautiful of mountains.
We stay for a few minutes
then head back to the freeway.
Back to the future they could never imagine-
the future made possible
only by their dreams.

***For the Yetts, my father’s mother’s mother’s people.

12 thoughts on “Time Travel

  1. A wonderful time travel begins when you trace back your ancestors and get a hint of their historic lives…. the return journey to the future of their dream sounds almost an impossibility but it is true..love the theme of this travel poem…

  2. To get in touch with the past… we sometimes feel connected with all that lies between.. I sometimes wonder if all our choices have been right, if we have trivialized traveling to where it’s a matter of freeway and cellular coverage.. That’s why I sometimes need to put on a backpack and into the mountains..

  3. A magical trip, building an emotional bridge across the centuries. I can only imagine the Europeans who trace their families back more than a thousand years; a lovely take on the prompt; definitely moving emotionally.

  4. “the future made possible only by their dreams”….so true, so amazing, the long journey across the ocean, then the wild lands………to today. It must be deeply meaningful to visit the old homestead and their resting place.My grandma’s dad worked on laying the first railroad tracks to cross North America…….where my grandma played as a child and walked as a young teen, she still could see the deep ruts the covered wagons made in the ground……..in her day it was still horse and buggies, of course.

  5. How wonderful that you are able to see the headstones of your forebears ~ I can’t imagine how difficult the voyage was before, so much of the future unknown in the beautiful wilderness ~

  6. Wow, that was quite a journey. How wonderful to find the exact place where your forbearers rest, those who journeyed before you, and made your life today possible. A very moving poem.

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