Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ozarks 18.10.03: Crescent Moons and Moss-Clad Alders

At Kat's Rest, lying on cushions on the porch.  I definitely feel her spirit here, and want to have a formal dedication ceremony for the cabin.  As we drove on the road up to the creek, a sudden image of her in my mind, and the thought--as if I were in inner dialogue with someone who had just asked which of my aunts influenced me the most--that her spirit was so strong.  It's that that has influenced me.

I don't know precisely what I mean by strength of spirit.  I don't have it.  What she had was rare.  It wasn't fierceness, precisely, but a quiet determination that could be fierce if necessary.  Self-determination: she knew her mind, what she wanted and needed, and never wavered once her mind was fixed.  She was not selfish, though the partiality of her excuses for those to whom she was devoted could appear selfish.  But she herself never benefited from that lavishly bestowed loyalty.

Her convictions and determinations were hammered out in the depths of her soul, presumably.  I say presumably, because she kept her own counsel.  Pensive as a nun: no one was privy to what went on in those depths.  She was not garrulous, and had the dignity of a queen addressing commoners: just this much and no no more might be said; just this far and no further.

I am very unlike her.  I blab all.  My soul struggles are spangled across the front pages of the paper, as with my grandmother.  Never a secret anguish, never an unaccentuated sigh (and the watching eye to see how my drama affects my audience).

Kat loved nature because she knew how to be: silent, impassive, patient, soaking it all in without appearing avid or rushed.  She would have liked this place.  She would not have admitted it.  She would be very happy we could obtain it by her gift to us.  

And here's what I see as we arrive and settle in: deep blue sky.  A crescent moon is high in the west, though it's just past noon.  From where I lie, I see the green pine-clad western slope, the brown and yellow oaks to the north swaying in the slight breeze, the mahogany red dogwood with its enameled red berries on the south side of the creek.  The wind chimes tinkle a haunting, faint tune.

In the shade on the north bank of the stream is the alder close to the porch, now bare of leaves.  Its black and silver limbs are an intricate tracery, the moss on its trunk a beautiful thing, but an ominous indicator of the tree's soon demise, and an explanation of its unhealthiness.

Klinkenborg, Rural Life: "In April what you see are our own intentions.  In October you see their unexpected wreck and fulfillment" (p. 171).  And: "A garden is so full of cheap sermons" (p. 172).

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