Friday, October 28, 2011

Rich Mountain in the Ouachitas

What do you see from your front doorstep?

Right now I see trees with the most gorgeous golden, red, yellow, and orange leaves.  This afternoon I told my husband we should go for a drive just to see the wonderful foliage that the Ozark Mountains has to offer right now.  While trying to decide which direction we should drive -north, east, south, west - we decided that our own driveway had the prettiest trees we could see anywhere.  So... we stayed home... maybe tomorrow we'll go for that drive.

The Ozark Mountains are where my home is now, but I grew up in a small town in a surrounded on all sides by the Ouachita Mountains.  From the front doorstep of my childhood, this was (almost) my view.
The photograph used as a reference for this painting was taken from neighbor's doorstep just a few miles away from where I grew up.
Those two peaks of Rich Mountain bring back a flood of memories and make me stop to sigh a little.  Instead of a lake and dock, from my doorstep there would have been a front yard, a dirt road, the neighbor's garden, a pasture or two, then the very same mountain peaks in the background.


   I am from a red-clay road

rolling with dust after each passing car
            from a long bed of irises 
purple, white, yellow, and maroon
from two cars out front 
one with 4 doors, one with a bed, two humps, and a tailgate
            from a front porch with a dachshund named Noodles lying on the step, a
screen door that slams, and a panoramic view of the Ouachita Mountains.

   I am from tassel-topped corn stalks, thorny blackberry vines, and staked tomato plants
                        bringing the flavors of summer
            from a formica kitchen table
                        surrounded by six chairs and a stool
            from little glass Pepsi bottles, black angus beef,
and homemade ice cream hand-cranked by strong brothers
            from sit-down dinners, lingering while the food settles,
                        and sisters washing dishes by hand.

   I am from Curtis Ray 
                        “Handy as a pocket on a shirt”
            from Gladys Adelle
                        “Busy hands are happy hands”
            from trotline catfish
dangling off Grandpa’s stringer
            from quilts and afghans
                        labors of love from Grandma’s worn hands.

   I am from Ben Franklin’s, Piggly Wiggly,
                        and a fifteen-cent Tastee Freeze cone with a curlicue on top
            from a picture window, an attic fan, an antenna on the roof for
a black-and-white television
from football games on Friday nights, cartoons on Saturday mornings, and church
twice on Sundays
            from  pot luck suppers, “Count Your Many Blessings,” pass the offering plate,
in Jesus’ name, Amen.

   I am from a place that is real
            from a time that has past
            from bonds that endure
   I am from home.

No comments:

Post a Comment