Thursday, August 20, 2015

an older post where the font went ghostly

Sometimes there’s a hum that hovers across and over this patch of land, like cicadas in August or the wheeze of a strange, busted harmonica a little boy might find chucked in with his toys, a mystery song waiting to happen, caught in holes between tin. But tonight the stillness separates and parses the air, like mist rising over a pond early in the morning. Just beyond the cow pasture the old log cabin has on its new face, its two chimneys stouter now and its windows immaculate and maybe even a little impenetrable. I miss its crumbling edges, the triangle of air at the bottom of the front left-hand window. And I am not sure I want the old stone wall around the little cemetery to be restored. I like the mossy moats that separate its stones. There is even talk of cutting down the cedar tree by the cemetery entrance. Its lopsided coniferous grace is a benediction to me, though, a familiar sentinel over the years, when I’ve come to pay my respects to Laura Sorrells Smith, born 1878, died 1905. Last time I was here I stacked a small cairn of stones from the pinewoods by her marker. History is palpable here, a prayer for continuity and awareness, a blessing into kin. The broken places show it best. Their shabby beauty needs the gentle tending that honors their splits and rifts, that lets their fractured beauty be seen by those who need their stories and their lonesome strength. I’ll miss them if they’re fixed. For now I don’t mind moving tousles of pinestraw away from the shapes of angels and the curves of my family name.



11 comments:

  1. A beautiful write, Laura. I'm sad about the mayor of New Orleans trying to destroy my family's history...all those amazing statues which have been a part of my entire life. My daddy's family came to South Louisiana in 1805 and we've been here since. I do not like change much at all. Blessings, xo

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    1. Marion, I need to know more about this....I can be kind of tunnel-visioned at times. I don't like that kind of change either. Blessings back to you.

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  2. Gentle, pensive observations well-composed. "The broken places show it best" is a line that will not leave me.

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    1. Thank you, Geo. I always appreciate your kind comments. This piece feels a little childlike and unfinished but I posted it anyway. When I was changing backgrounds and such recently here I noticed the font for it was all fouled up, so I deleted the old post and posted it freshly.

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  3. Lovely observations, Laura. I was recently in my family's cemetery, but it was established in the mid-1800s and before that they were on a hill and with pine markers and the names have faded. There is something human and civil about remembering...

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    1. Yes, there is. And there are so, so many whose families are in unmarked or barely marked places, especially in the South. I tend not to feel much concern for where and how I will be placed or marked after I die, but there is something really grounding and sacred about caring for remembrance and honoring those who have died. I think I want to be in the 'green' low-impact woodlands cemetery that the monastery owns. I've been to one ceremony there, and I kept thinking, this is how it should be. so in tune with the earth and so quietly unostentatious.

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  4. A beautiful post. I'm looking forward to reading more.

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    1. Thank you. I haven't been writing that much lately, but this past week has seen a few things start to happen. I appreciate your kind words.

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  5. Reading your above comment on this post being "childlike and unfinished,"I feel what a "writer" thing that is to say. This is beautiful and draws me to my own memories of sacred times on sacred ground. Being childlike and unfinished may be the most "writerly" and soulful thing to be. Thank you.

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  6. Reading your above comment on this post being "childlike and unfinished,"I feel what a "writer" thing that is to say. This is beautiful and draws me to my own memories of sacred times on sacred ground. Being childlike and unfinished may be the most "writerly" and soulful thing to be. Thank you.

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  7. Mari, thank you very much for your kind comment. I agree with you, and when I 'let' myself be that way, my writing feels so much more authentic, for lack of a better word. I keep being reminded of the beauty of this childlike quality these past couple of weeks teaching, and they have been moments that have brought me a lot of joy. I'm glad this piece was a reminder of sacred times and sacred ground for you---thanks for telling me that.

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Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at riverrun67@gmail.com or lksorrells@hotmail.com.