Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sunken Journals

When I read old journals of mine, if I can get past all the angst and moaning, I find nuggets of lovely days.

But so many could be from someone else's life.

Today I read this one from an August twenty three years ago:

"We are up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, sitting in folding chairs overlooking Castle Rock Gorge. L is practicing guitar beside me. A black cloud is rolling overhead, but it has light on all sides, and is not interfering with the peace of this place, nor the singing of birds, nor the chirping of crickets. This is a still time. Often this afternoon I have longed to wander on and on, without strings, without destination. To see and drink this land."

It sounds like something we would do, and we used to go up the Virginia side of the Blue Ridge Parkway to Rock Castle Gorge fairly often when we were first married and living in Winston-Salem, but I can't recollect this day at all. It's like reading fiction.

Or this odd scrap, which says it was to be turned into a poem:

"Getting a Stick from Here to There"

First you pick a stick, a good thick stick,
broken from a pine to cross the stream
choked with yellow tulip poplar boats
and Frazier magnolia parchment scrolls.

There, on the magic island of stone and moss,
where the sun trickles down
on the alligator scaly weed,
and the wind blows fir smells
and cow smells alternately,
you find your lover a helpful stick,
and after sitting you return the way you came.

Then you play with a crayfish,
herding it with the stick,
catching it with frightened human hands,
straining and reaching round its back,
trying to tear its captor's flesh.
Mechanical toy, you gently put it back
and splashing your stick with glee
you sing a crayfish catcher song.

Now you follow the stream,
sun in the grass.
"This is a stick that says,
'I am a stick,'" she said.
One made, one found on the magic island,
and finally you lay them ,
side by side,
against a sunny bank.
When the trail grows narrow
and overgrown,
the stream is left behind.

I ever so vaguely recall that this was an afternoon at the Linville River, south of Grandfather Mountain on the Parkway, and I can even picture the bank where we left the sticks, the place where the trail narrows, but the notes go on to tell me it was in Virginia, again, over a hundred miles away at Round Meadow Creek. I wrote the notes while Laura was napping on a blanket in the grass. So I don't remember that October afternoon, twenty one years ago, at all.

Whose journals are these?
Photo of the Virginia Blue Ridge is from Allwork's Flickr photostream.


DebD said...

I just love living near such beautiful places. It's nice that you had such happy thoughts in your journal. Mine are so depressing I'm surprised my hubby didn't have me committed! ;)

Steve Emery said...

Debd - I got through my old journals pretty quickly, because mine were mostly depressed and introspective, too. I think I tended to journal the most when I was troubled - and it doesn't make good reading later... But there are isolated moments and memories that make me skim through the rest.

MLight said...

I remember playing guitar there - and the mid-afternoon sunlight. I (mis-)remember sitting on a blanket, though, not in a folding chair.