Monday, June 18, 2007

Silent Summer

Chickens through the Gate
Originally uploaded by Contrary Goddess.

I always say that I can't draw a straight line. Husband says I can't draw flies. And the paint program is, I think, particularly difficult to draw in anyway. And yet it is so easy, so there, so I can share it if I've a mind.

And when I saw the scene that I drew, I was of a mind to share it.

My family used to have a big huge family reunion third Sunday in August. After they built the church, I didn't stay for the preaching anymore. Too loud. I did sit on the tombstones and under the apple tree and eat apples and listen to the singing though. I loved Noad's singing the best because, really, he couldn't sing at all, it was terrible, and I loved it so because I loved him so. And he would always wonder if he was going to sing at JJ's funeral, or would JJ preach at his.

Eventually my wanderings around during the interminable preaching and waiting for the singing and dinner on the ground took me down the road behind the outhouses, further, further. There was a gate to climb over, and it was not much used but definitely a road. I knew it led to the old cemetery, where my great-grandparents and others, were buried; to the ruins of the old cabin where my grandfather was born at the turn of the last century. There were still a few cows in the fields, and a few hewn stones that had been doorsteps, and a sty to climb across to get into the graveyard.

But mostly here there was silence. A deep kind of silence that I don't think many people these days know. You could see no one, you could hear nothing. Except cows and birds and wind on leaves and sometimes grass growing.

One would think we live way out now but when I think of way out I always hear that silence of my ancestor's home. I always wonder if it would have been even quieter then, when they lived there, with no cars anywhere in the county, and no planes -- or would the trains and horses have traveled the way they sometimes do here. I live at least 20 miles from any train tracks and yet sometimes we can hear the train. I can't see anyone's house from mine, but I can hear when the neighbor toward the back is hammering on his barn, or when the neighbor to front is feeding his dogs.

But the thing that I have most noticed that this land is never without is plane traffic. There are always contrails, usually at least three. There are most little planes that fly over here than anywhere I've ever been. I think this is an area that several local instructor's use for students learning to fly, because they go round and round in giant triangles. There are helicopters, the black unmarked kind, the business kind, the forest service kind, even, occasionally, the armed services kind.

I had decided that I would not do much today. I went outside and sat in the sun. A cat joined me. I saw the push me pull you rooster and hen through the gate. And when I listened I heard the chickens talking, and a cat stalking, and the chicks with their adolescent voices, and even some geese flying. I could hear, barely, the back creek. And some air in the leaves. Regular calm children sounds. The large animals were somewhere far away and I could not even hear a bell from them (they were probably asleep at the back creek). There were a few other birds, small birds, but the noisy jays have fledged thankfully.

And then I realized I was not hearing even a single plane. Not a small one, not a large one. I searched the sky and there was not a contrail, not even one. Not event a whoop whoop whoop from a helicopter.


patsy said...

i like this post. enough said.

clairesgarden said...

thankyou for the reminder, there is peaceful silence if you choose to listen.
many blessings

Ren said...

When I read a post like this, I'm really wondering why you don't write a book. This is good stuff CG.

the Contrary Goddess said...

gee [blushing], thanks ren!

Ren said...

I'm not just saying that ya know.....

There is something about this that feels like "flow". It seems that you are in that place of flow when you write like this.

It touches a human nerve. Something primal and deep inside of me that wants to connect with my past, with the earth, with the stories and memories of other people. Stories that are different yet the same. Connectedness.

A lot of people would feel that same "connectedness" when reading things like this. I have a feeling that if you put your memories and stories into short essays and chapters, you'd have a book before you know it.

It will reach people. But even if it never saw the light of day, what a great piece of yourself to pass on to your children.

Hell, I'll pay to read it!