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.