back in the shack
by John Matthew Waters
you’ll find it in the middle of somewhere
surrounded by a fog in a field of woods
discoverable through a natural maze
filled with a variety of wildflowers
walking through the door you swear
you became someone other than yourself
and the moment you sit and open your mind
the shack is filled with a beautiful light
copyright j matthew waters
A good friend wrote a wonderful poem this week and on reading it, I was instantly carried back to our old home, the last really good shack.
John’s poem beautifully describes the feeling I have for that house and how it changed me in the decade we lived there.
I don’t know if I have told you much about any of that personal stuff. How a city girl fell so head over heels in love with a rocky piece of land on the side of any Ozarks ridge and the worn out old shack that clung to the side of that ridge.
Just as the poem says, it was in the middle of somewhere, but somehow completely separate from the world around it.
There, the world revealed its magic to me and I was an enraptured pupil.
I would walk that steep acreage almost daily, visiting the blackberry brambles, or the wild dog roses, or the frog pond at the top of the ridge nestled in a grove of black ash trees. I found each spot that the wild ferns grew, knowing that if I dug there under that rocky soil, a spring would bubble up to the surface.
I knew where the deer rested with their fawns and where the squirrels hid their harvest of black walnuts. I learned how the sun moved along the eastern ridge during the seasons and, at night, we were mesmerized by the visits of comets and meteorites.
With Bob’s skill, we created a home out of a hovel, adding what everyone who visited will still tell you was the best porch in all of history. My mom called it the healing place. I said it was the navel of the universe where all possible good resided.
It was visited by friends and family, and an occasional angel.
And in those ten years, I learned more about myself than in any other decade. I made choices that have changed me, and changed my path in life. I became more spiritual and open, more aware of my place in the universe.
I became a better wife, daughter and friend.
And all these changes came about from lessons I learned while we lived in the last really good shack.
And I am grateful for each minute I lived there.
A special thank you to John Matthew Waters for his gracious permission to use his wonderful poem, ‘back in the shack’. You can read his poetry on his website jdubqca.com and his twitter account @jdubqca.
a healing place – what a blessing when we’ve found one of these special places 🙂
AAAH! You don’t have to call me an Angel. “Visited by friends, family and an occasional angel”. I have loved each chapter of this story. Hope you had a good weekend. I went to see the 2nd Exotic Marigold Hotel. It’s not as good as the first but still good. Richard Gere looks old (65) but that may have been the objective. Still working on my back problem and I have a massage this afternoon at 5. It’s my second one with this lady and I think she helped me a lot with the first one. Also still seeing the physical therapist. We’ve been having trouble with Leroy’s truck…so far up to $800. He may end up trading it in if it gets a lot more expensive. Sadie killed a squirrel last week…Damn Dog. She had him by the neck and shook him until he died. She is a very good dog but has this hunting thing I don’t like. I read Kristen Hannah’s new book and it was really good. Like a lot of her books. Suppose to get warm this and maybe have some RAIN. We may get up to 70. This crazy weather. Just wanted to say HI. Is Bob’s job starting to get ready for spring? Love You.
Love you back – will call you this week! K (angel !?!)
Sigh. It must have been so hard to leave there. I resonate, as my ten years in Tofino completely changed me, made me more of who I am. I left by ambulance, not willingly. Love the poem and LOVE the descriptions of your property, those walks must have been magical.
I knew you would like this story, Sherry. What stories we can tell about our places of the heart – hope you are well tonight, dear friend – thinking of you.
Another lovely “Shack” post, Kathleen. I’m honored to be included in your special place – it means so much to me!
Thank you for your friendship, John, and for writing such beautiful poetry – hugs
This is wonderful and reminds me much of how I grew up between city and country, visiting cousins in the country and then later, as an adult in the deep country. I’m living back in the country again and it such a joy. I pity people who never get to know this intimacy with the land and seasons.
Thanks so much, I’m happy this brought you those memories. We live in a very rural community now, but I do still miss having that bit of land all my own. If you are interested, there are other posts about the Shack – just check under the category Last Really Good Shack.
Thanks again for dropping by!
I certainly shall look. Thank you! Right after I post my tanka about robins, I am going in search of this.