The breeze, cool and fresh, rises from the cove
spilling across the summer meadow
bringing with it the fragrance
of sweet peas and wild roses.
The morning clouds break opening
to the soon to be sweltering sky-
I watch sunlight sparkle on the placid cove
and dream of the sounds of the ocean.
Even this mornings poem
in my inbox
speaks of the splashing foam and
the sound of crashing waves
white sails in the wind
and salt spray against the skin.
So I dress in the colors of sea and sand,
sparkling gulf stream blue, sail white,
glittering gold, pale seaglass green,
and take my dreams along the Ozark ridge
as I walk the small dog
by the placid waters of the cove
under the soon to be sweltering sky.
Sixteen miles from the Arkansas line,
Following the roads through hills and hollows
In the Missouri moonshine,
We are riding tonight on our dreams
And the sound of rivers rushing,
Thru the thick Ozark night.
The stars dance in their own constellations-
Brightwater and Big Sugar Creek
Spin with the Seven Sisters
And Orion as he makes his tracks
Across the thick starry Ozark night.
Mists rise from the deep hollows
Mixing with melody and woodsmoke
As the miles harmonize
Across spring creeks and ancient stone,
We sing of the thick Ozark night
Under the misty Missouri moonshine.
Sixteen miles more, we are flying low and fast.
Ridge running high and bright,
Down to deep hollows low and dark,
Chasing our dreams across the thick Ozark night
Under the rising Missouri moonshine.
Counting back to that first glance, seconds and minutes,
hours and years, the desire and candor of bodies,
when our days became charged with the pace of lives lived.
Years of longing renounce the yearning to another,
no longer young. The clamor of middle years
leaves satisfaction and knowledge in its place,
a quietness whose heft outweighs the struggles.
Wisdom is as wisdom does, patience is its own reward,
love never fails, never. And this is the choice,
made and kept, to choose you now and at each sunrise.
Until the day comes that my hand is not recognizable to you
And my laughter is silenced by your unknowing eyes.
— This always seems to be a poem people come back to from time to time. And Valentine’s Day would seem to be a good time to re-post.
Keys that unlock
long left locks and the wooden button
from my winter coat,
motherhood and children,
and one brown sock,
a friendship untended,
a father, a home,
an umbrella left on the train,
my grandmother’s brooch,
a favorite book, a tree covered lane.
Growing longer each year,
words and regrets,
lists of things lost,
bound vellum sets in
ink stained chains of script
words written between the lines
and around the margins
erased, glued, sewn,
thin and tattered,
so as not to forget.
I leave the long list upon the altar,
and lighting the candle,
the scent of rue and asphodel fill the air.
Our garden is beginning to bloom filled with columbine and bleeding hearts. The little volunteer dogwood and redbud trees are thriving – and we have our first blooms on one of the dogwoods this year – and one of the redbuds had one tiny bloom – it seemed so proud!
And as you can see, we will have a nice outbreak of frogapalooza soon – the pond is filled to the brim with tadpoles!
The heavy thud of black walnuts falling to the damp ground is a constant for a few weeks in the fall.
I didn’t know anything about this particular variety of tree nut until we moved to northwest Arkansas. Having spent my childhood in pecan country, Texas and south Arkansas, where even the standard walnut seemed a little foreign and exotic- the black walnut was completely new to me.
When I first saw the big green globes hanging in the trees, I actually speculated that they were a variety of bois d’arc or horse apples as we called them when we were kids. Didn’t take long to figure out that they were a nut under all that green hull and that they dye your fingers a dark walnut color pretty quickly when you pick a few up off the ground.
Of all the trees in the Ozarks, black walnut trees are not the most gorgeous tree in the woods. They can be straggly and rangy looking, the last to set leaves in the spring and the first to show yellow and fall in autumn. Their occupation is to create these hard to crack nuts and then rest for the balance of the year.
We had several on our property, and I must say, one of the nicest looking black walnuts was on the northwest side of the shack. It was not crowded by any other trees, far enough away from the huge white oaks in front and just enough room from the tree lined fence on the north part of the dog yard.
Each season, for however long it chose, it was a full and quite nice shade tree, airy and lacey, given dappled light to the yard swing and perennial lily bed. Bob would sit on the step at that end of the porch, while I sat in the swing and listened to him play his guitar, or we would play ball with the dogs in the shade of that walnut tree.
A cottage industry springs up in the fall as the nuts ripen. A local company will buy the nuts from anyone who shows up with a bag or truck load. So many an afternoon along the narrow Ozarks roads, you will see folks with sacks or buckets retrieving the fallen nuts.
In autumn, when the harvest began, a young family would drive slowly up our little lane, the dad driving and the mom and her two youngsters would pick up the fallen walnuts. Tossing them into the trunk or one year in the back of the station wagon, they would pick the road clean. Each year when they came by, they would ask if they could gather the walnuts from our tree. Of course, that was always fine and we welcomed them each season.
I always hoped it would help them – this was a hard way to earn money. When you took the walnuts to sell, they would place them in a spinning hopper to release the nut from the hull. Once that was done, the nuts were weighed and you were paid $11.00 for one hundred pounds! That took a whole lot of nuts in the back of a station wagon to bring home $11.00.
With each gust of wind, I hear the heavy thuds – its black walnut time in the Ozarks.
**** Dear Readers, I know it has been too long between stories of the shack. I am in the process of editing the previous stories and The Last Really Good Shack will soon have its own blog. I hope you will continue to read and enjoy these little snippets of our life in the Ozarks.
The Kitchen Song
She loves him sweet and tender
She loves him with pies and cake
She loves him with buttery little biscuits
The kind she likes to bake.
She loves him good and hearty
She loves him with beef stew
She loves him with ribs and goulash
And rich bowls of thick burgoo.
She loves him hot and spicy
She loves him with red cayenne
She loves him with jalapeno peppers
And secret recipes from the Yucatan.
She loves him dark and steamy
She loves him with coffee and cream
She loves him with Earl Grey and Oolong
And toddies spiked with Jim Beam.
She loves him in so many ways
She loves him the best she can
She loves him sweet and good and hot,
Her sweet talkin’ everlovin’ man.
— This is an old poem written for Bob as a Valentine one year. Still one of my silliest and one of my favorites. I hope you won’t mind if I re-post it again today.
Sending you hearts and flowers and a day filled with love! K