They don't walk with me, but rather around me. Protectively.
Because we aren't the only ones out walking.
In the absence of conversation, the ridge is a wonderous place, falling away to the shadowy woods on either side. The only sounds are the birds and the crunching of my feet on the shorn path.
Suddenly, I hear a huffing and puffing, and I see the white of her tail as she bounds, crashing into the woods.
I've disturbed her vigil over her newly born fawn. She stomps and snorts in the valley trying to draw me, the predator, away from her babe.
My quest, however, is to satiate the spirit, not the belly.
He sits patiently for his portrait, the wide angle lens almost touching him.
I passed a thicket, covered in the most beautiful butterflies of which I had never seen before. I counted at least thirty. As I stepped closer to capture their image, they flitted into the sky in thirty different directions. Red confetti. Floating up instead of down.
Pondering all that is, lost in my thoughts of the Peeps overhead. I came upon the pond which erupted at my passing. I think I may have jumped as hard as the frogs who were now safely nestled in the plant growth under the water, leaving no trace but the occasional ripple of an airbubble.
In around or about 1825, a baby boy was born to slave parents. Their names are lost to history. But their son was called Abraham.
Abraham was a clever boy. His owners seem to have been "progressive" in that Abe was allowed to marry and keep his own earned money from odd jobs. He must have worked very hard, scrimped and saved, and eventually managed to buy his own freedom and that of his beloved wife Margaret. Since slaves were not legally allowed to marry, they had to wait until after abolition in 1866 to appear before the clerk in Franklin County and declare that they were common law husband and wife. Abe signed his name to the paper that recognized their union, and Margaret made her mark.
They built a homestead. He cleared the land with his own hands, planted his crops, and an orchard.
And filled the cellar that would see them through the winter.
He drove the wagon roads that criss-crossed the Kentucky hills,
to take his corn to market to sell.
He kept the walls that protected his livelihood.
Margaret visited the well every morning. It was a good, deep well that was meticulously dug and laid with creek-rock.
(note: this well has been the source of many a heart palpitation for me, which is why my mister, his brothers and our boy did this...)
(well done, men!)
Abe and Margaret had many children. But things were much harder then.
There were no antibiotics to be had.
Tuberculosis was an epidemic.
Only one of their children survived to adulthood. (We've counted 13 graves in this yard. The smallest few are no more than 2 feet long.)
Abe and Margaret eventually moved on, and are buried elsewhere. Perhaps it was too hard to eke out a living off the wild land. Perhaps it was just too painful to have the constant reminder of the loss of their beloved children so close by, each cold stone a broken life.
As the forest steps in to re-claim it's own, I just wanted to take a minute to stop and honor the struggles of Abe and Margaret. The hopes and dreams, the loves and the losses of a family that history could forget as easily as it did their parents.
(note: Abe and Margaret's place sits about a mile and a half back into the property of Mister's sister and her husband. It is lovingly preserved.)
(borrowed the Tom Dempsey photo. Just to make it VERY CLEAR, this is NOT MY SHOT! I could NEVER get such an awesome shot)
...to Mt. Adams for my cousin's wedding. "L the flower girl" and I will fly into Portland tomorrow and hang with said cousin's sisters (also my cousins!). I'm SO excited! I love Portland, and I REALLY love my cousins. And when one of those cousins happens to be 6 months pregnant, well, let the belly rubbing begin. It's on.
Friday we all head to The Flying L up on Mt. Adams for the festivities. All I can say is that it is so appropriate that the side of a mountain should be where he takes his bride.
I won't get all mushy about how much I adore this guy, or how I remember lying next to him when he was teensy tiny so he wouldn't cry (I'm like 3 years older than him). Maybe when I come home, but not now.
Okay, it's been so long since I've posted a post, that I had forgotten what my last post was! Pretty sad, huh?
A couple of family crisis(s) later, and I'm almost ready to be back in the swing of things. And when I am the FIRST thing I will do is profusely thank Jessica for deeming me worthy of the Brilliante Weblog award (like 3 weeks ago!). I swear, I feel just like Sally Fields! Really. It was a seriously touching present when I was feeling a little blue.
But now, I'm going to leave a few pics from our trip out west last summer. See, we rented this 12 passenger van, and packed it with two families. For a month. Well, the men-folk bailed after about 2 weeks. They had to actually PAY for the trip, and begrudgingly, they returned to work. So for 2 of the weeks, it was Mama & Mama, and 5 kids. I can never quite convey how enlightening, bonding, self-aware-ing, an experience it was.
The van (aka our home) at zion
sequoia (the only place where we actually got bear "huffed." we knew it was coming, as the ranger had gone into great detail of how they were "pacing the ridgeline, watching our every move, waiting for us to make a mistake." Needless to say, we were EXTREMELY careful not to provide that opening.)
yosemite (maybe one day I'll post the story of how our two 6 year old girls got washed away down a water chute, and how the two boys thought it looked like fun and jumped in after them. not one of my best days)
crater lake. Now, a pretty substantial chunk of my family lives in Oregon, and it truly is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I particularly loved being able to share it with my wonderful friend and her children.
Ahhh...it's nice to daydream of a simpler time. When there was nothing to worry about other than where to pup your tent, and guarding your children from bears and mountain lions. (yes, I was a bit compulsive about "what to do" rules. yes, I was mocked incessantly. but for the record, Raike just received the "Outdoorsman Award" from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife in part because he is so wildlife-savvy. So HA!)
Whilst we were at the Museum of Play, we visited their hugely popular butterfly exhibit. Picture a massive room with one entire wall of windows. Visitors are armed with a laminated page depicting each variety of butterfly so you can identify them. This photo is of the Emerging Room, where all the chrysalis are kept (by variety!). Probably not a great shot since I had to shoot through the glass, but you get the idea.
So, we're home from paradise. And Tracy is doing a YELLOW WEEK over at prickly pear bloom. WHEW! I needed something to get me back into the swing of being home! I missed yesterday, so you get a two-fer.
Okay, not my shot. Jeremy took it as my sister-in-law and I took Lily on her first ever Octopus ride. Brilliant!
Real life carnival. On Nantucket. On a bluff overlooking the sea. Fantastic.