The following writings are a series of writing called Writing Towards Home. I began these writings many years ago as an exercise for a class I was taking on poetry, with my favorite poet/teacher, Georgia Heard.
These are rough drafts and always in the process of revision and editing.
Home is the playground provided by the natural brook running through our
property. It is the green/gray moss that pads my bare feet as I squat and
watch for speckled native brook trout about to tug on my line. Other times it
is the coolness of the cold water spinning like a whirlpool wrapping itself
around my ankles as I bend to catch a fish by its hind legs. It’s about
damming it up and letting the water rise into a pool deep enough to dunk
my long curly hair or float aimlessly on an inner tube kicking my feet and
sliding my fingers through the water. On hot humid days we shared our
“spa” with our friends and neighbors. Our imaginations run wild with ideas for a water game to keep us cool and entertained.
In early spring ice clung to the edges of the brook like fragile brittle glass sitting on the edge of the shelf. The water was too cold for bare feet but just right for kid sized waders . April signaled my brother and I to grab our fishing poles and a can of worms and stand in the brook with hopes of catching sweet pink trout that we would gut, roll in cornbread, and fry in a cast iron skillet for dinner. Later in the spring my dad would begin his ritual of planting a vegetable garden. My brother and I dammed the brook close to the garden and waited for the yearly spawning of suckers coming up stream. We’d capture them in our nets and use them as fertilizer for the corn and pumpkins growing in the garden.
The brook was where my first wildflower lessons with my dad began. In the early spring yellow trout lilies bloomed along the banks of the brook. Among the decaying tree branches and leaves jack-in-the-pulpits, scarlet trillium, blood roots, and lady slippers graced and framed the swollen banks of the brook. Bright green skunk cabbage illuminated the stark brown ground beneath our feet. The beauty of the colorful flowers and the cool, crisp, clean water seemed to be in direct contrast to the boundaries of the woodlands.
The brook was also a home to many unusual “pets”. Endless water striders gliding over the water’s surface, crayfish lying beneath slippery rocks, and an occasional water snake sneaking around the water’s edge. By far my favorites were the frogs and pollywogs that made our brook their home. Mr. Croaker, my very large bullfrog, was a playmate and confident until a large rain storm carried him away.
The brook has been home - place of wonder, imagination, play, and life lessons for all seasons. It has become part of me.