Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday Musings, 08 August 2015

Good morning,

The house fills with the rumble of thunder and the fragrance of a light rain.  Soon lightening will slash the sky and the water will fall in magnificent sheaves, slashing the air, crashing on my deck.  I stand in the doorway and watch the blackness descend on the morning, mesmerized by the summer storm.  But the warm air flows into the house, and I close the door against its onslaught.

I have read the paper, searching for news, trying to understand the strange graphics employed by the local editors to denote their reaction to the Republican primary candidates.  I let my eyes wander down the obituaries, thinking my terrible thoughts about my own death and the loneliness which will permeate any words written about me.  Now I'm sitting at my secretary, with my crystal mug of coffee beside me, thinking about storms, thinking about houses in which I've lived and the sound of rain on their roofs.

Our house in Jasper, Arkansas had a flat roof on the porch above the garage.   My husband traveled, leaving me alone with the stares of the townfolks and their small-town southern wariness.  I'd sleep on the bed that we kept for visitors out on the screen porch.   In early spring, rain peppered the back of our house, dancing, wild.  Beneath our property, the Buffalo River rose in its banks as the season advanced.  I could hear the river cutting through the valley.  I listened to the urgent call of the birds and the rapid advance of small animals through the undergrowth.

When the night sounds settled, I'd rise and move to a rocking chair, with my journal beside me and pen in hand.  I'd scribble my terrible poetry and snippets of stories.  I'd stare through the gloom, through the tall cedars, straining to find the stars when the rain cleared.

In the morning, I'd drive to the mountain communities where my husband's friends lived.  I'd sit in the women's kitchens and listen to their talk of babies, gardens, quilting, and survival.  I'd walk around their yards and look at the rows of lettuce, standing over their stooped forms, gazing at little bugs and listening to their talk of organic treatment for aphids.  They didn't ask about me, about how I spent my time or what I had done before I came to Arkansas.  But they brewed herbal tea and brought me plates of fruit, and let me linger when I know they had chores lying undone.

My favorite couple lived in a house below the roadway.  Pat and Carole: Pat -- sparse, angular, dark, and intense; Carole -- soft, round, with flowing ginger hair and a wide bosom.  They opened their home to me every time I ventured out of Jasper, telling me that I could stay with them, showing me a trundle where I could sleep, letting me help make dinner.  I would watch the rain from their kitchen falling onto the mountain, while Carole moved around the house singing.  When we sat down at their table, they beamed at each other and me, bringing me into their love, including me.  I felt like their daughter, or their sister. In some ways, I felt like their pet, something curious that fascinated them.  I basked in the attention.

But even they didn't ask much about my life.  I rarely talked about myself to any of those folks, down in Arkansas.  I would stand at their windows, mesmerized by the rain, by the untamed vegetation of the mountain spring, while they chattered, and cooked, and folded laundry.  Their stories would engulf me, like the rise of the river over its rocky banks.  Their words wove themselves into my being.

Now the memories of their faces have faded.  But I still have their stories to sustain me, as I stand on my porch, in the rain, wondering what will become of me.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

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The Missouri Mugwump™

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I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.