a note*

Everything I post here I have previously published on the many other blogs I have had. This is a place for my favourites to rest. These are the wings that taught me i could fly and that there is life waiting, far beyond the ridge.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012


I used to walk down that old cut road and see her there. That red scarf tied around her raven hair bandana style, like a sixties hippie. Hell, she had a big black peace sign in her window and I guess maybe she was. Her name was Mary and the story went that her young husband went to the Nam and never came back. If there was more, no one ever told me.
It was the kind of road, gravel, with gentle curves and red-winged blackbirds on the wires looking
for mischief. It was a good walk in the summer, only a mile to town.
There were never more than two or three vehicles that would pass me and I could've caught a ride if I wanted one, but I didn't, and they knew.
The first half-mile I would think of her, of her thoughts, of her nights. After rounding the bend I could see her place, the small brown house, the falling apart shed, her garden in the back.
That's almost always where she was, on her knees digging. From a distance she looked small, but when you drew near and she would stand up to stretch, you could see she was quite tall and looked majestic in those torn dirty jeans and T-shirt.
She would barely give me a glance as I came into view, but once in a while I thought I saw a smile
and she would take the bandana off and wipe her hands with it before returning it to her head.
I wanted to talk to her, or rather her to me.  But somehow I never was able to
bring it about. I'm not sure if it was my fear, or her aloneness, or my fear of her aloneness.
Maybe it was her stature, maybe her ghosts, or maybe, simply, she was too sacred.
I would pass on her side of the road to be near and slow my pace, hoping she'd say hi or isn't it a lovely day or would you pick up some eggs for me when you're in town, but she only tended her garden while surely feeling my look upon her back.
That's how I remember the summer of '72.
Not the county fair, not my father almost leaving my mother, not my first date at the local theater.
Just Mary and her garden.
And I wonder now if she ever moved, ever remarried, ever had children. I wonder if she believed in God and had a mother who missed her. And I wonder had she invited me in, what she might've said. Would she have made lemonade or fired a joint? Would she have cried because someone was finally there to listen? Or might she have kissed me and seduced me as I imagined on so many of those walks. Just like the movie, she would tender my innocence, gentle my shy, take me by the hand and brush back my hair. Then she would hold me like i hoped lovers must always be held.
But that's the trouble with movies, they're so far from what really happens.
As far as I know, no one in town knew much of her or paid her much mind, and by the summer of '73 she was gone. It was like she never really existed. But the square skeleton of her garden told me she had and the red-winged blackbirds told me I should have.