The paths of past footsteps
have become overgrown with
the passage of each season.
The woodpile stands abandon from
the once energetic woodcutter.
Perennial gardens are left unattended
and deprived of the loving care
of its previous owner.
The dirt driveway once eroded
by the daily travel of your Chevy Pick Up
is now the breeding grounds for
a community of thriving weeds.
Your children are left with
remnants of the past
and echoes of your footsteps.
Symbols remain scattered through
your once private domain.
A cup hanging on a stake in the garden,
unused since the last time you needed it
to quench your thirst, after tilling the soil
around the strawberry bed.
A woodcutting bench lies next to
a fallen tree that was intended for
next year’s wood supply.
The red and black mackinaw and cap
hang on hook inside the back door,
waiting for the hunter to stalk
the autumn woods.
It is in the silence of the woods
from which tall tales and stories
vibrate from familiar sites.
The Indians who are buried underneath
the large hemlock tree,
wisdom of Bathroom Billy,
farmer’s who created the pastures
and who’s fine workmanship created
the rock walls that frame their masterpiece.
Isolated walls covered with aging moss and lichen
symbolize the life of a man,
my dad, who once possessed the same feeling,
and love, like those before him, for nature,
the land, and the ancestors before him.
Your land, your sacred possession is a
testament to your children who once sat
and listened to the sounds of the distant brook,
or deer walking cautiously as subtle breezes,
or listening to private legends and tales.
You are now silent as those moments
Stored away forever in our memories.
Thankfully, we have inherited his wisdom
but it is the Indians of long ago, Bathroom Billy,
and the farmers who have inherited his footsteps,
his gentle manner, and made the legend of the land
It is now,
in the cool crisp November air,
the first anniversary of his death,
that I believe you have come to rest inside
a storybook, that you so carefully “wrote”
for us over the years.
You are now a part of the cast of characters
that comes alive in my thoughts and gives me
pride in my past and hope towards my future
and stories that will go on….
Now God keeps you wrapped in love for eternity.
Nancy Prouty March