The water still flows in the same direction as it always has to converge with another creek to the east just in the valley below. They combine with each other to make something more, complimenting each other perfectly. The wonderful scent wafts up the hillside through the trees on the breeze and it embraces me before it goes on its way leaving a small smile behind for me and countless memories. I watch the emerald waves flow across the cornfield that’s end cannot been seen from where I stand as the sweet smelling breeze flows through its stalks. How many times have I stood here in this exact spot to gaze upon this sight? Would anyone else see what I see? From this direction my childhood has not changed, but the constant of the flowing waters and the soft waft of the gentle wind over the endless fields and horizon remind me that everything changes and change is truly the only constant. All I have to do is turn around to remind myself of the march of time, to know how swiftly things can change, to see the things that will never be again. To know for certain of the things that are gone. How well we forget how time marches on, sometimes snatching the things we held dear in seconds, never to be seen again. We often overlook that we are only visitors in this space in time. The years have not dulled my memories and I stand here and let them flow around me like the soft sweet breeze.
Here on this hillside where I was raised memories are at play and if I turn quickly enough I might catch a glimpse in my peripheral of a dark haired freckled faced tomboy running barefoot through the green grass and trees of home. Hints of combined laughter tickle the gentle breeze and sweet scents of what was make me smile. But here almost no path remains, here all that was, is nearly gone. Only the faintest of reminders that we were ever here can be seen and only if you know what to look for and soon those too will be gone, repossessed by the slow, steady march of time. Little by little the years will reclaim it, the trees growing over the trails of our feet until no one will know that we were there at all. But for a glimmer of time it was mine, mine to safely grow on and learn from and share. Here I was sheltered and cherished, lovingly and patiently tended like the flora that grew here under my Mother’s careful watch in this southern soil. Here I found my courage, my strength and my direction. And here I found my reason to leave.
I know he is there even though he has made no sound, I always feel him near. He wraps his arms around my shoulders and I lay my head back against his chest cocooned in his embrace, we watch the morning sun sparkle on the cornfield. I can feel the strong beat of his heart in time with mine as we stand silent atop this Appalachian foothill. Thirty years together lay sheltered and secure in his embrace, always my quiet, soft place to fall. He was once a stranger at my parents door, an answer to a prayer, a gypsy soul seeking his own safe harbor; he was to be my future, and my past. He is my something more, my compliment, my now and forever.
In no time at all there will be nothing left that will remind anyone that we were once here, that once a family and children roamed this southern hill side. Will another little dark haired girl play here and run laughing up this green grassy hill? Will she find a long buried treasure left by me and wonder where it came from? Will it make her smile? Will she too dream of a stranger with eyes the blue green color of the sea and wait for him to find her? I hope she finds herself here too, her peace, her happiness as I have. Will she be able to follow the unseen path that I left for her, the path that will be taken over by time? Will it matter that our path will leave no trail? Who unknown left these things for me to find? How many have walked here before me and the only remnant that is left is the bright shining eyes the color of the sea or the freckles that splash across a fair complexion passed down from somewhere unknown, blown across the waves to land here from so long ago. There will only be echoes of our having been here, echoes of the things we leave behind.