TRIP REPORTS - what have you been down to? > Stories - have a cave related tale to tell??

Remembrance 2

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Kenilworth:
Slipping easily through the wires.
I remember Ray. Shot off his arm climbing over and could smash green apples with the hand that was left- later blew off his own head on purpose and my grandpa says he really died of carpal tunnel. For the first time in health I can feel that my strongest days are behind me and I know I used up my joints and bones in paying the bills. It is only a little too late that I have understood my real duties, and I remember the poem, “Nothing is simple, not even simplicity. Thus, throwing out the mail, I exchange the simplicity of duty for the complexity of guilt.” I have a friend who says he doesn’t feel guilt (he says too that words cannot hurt anything or anyone). These are popular opinions, and conscience and dignity die away.

Here at the base of the hill are many locust and sassafras trees, and all the sassafras are standing dead. They are full of holes from woodpeckers and have roosts and nests in their hollows of birds and squirrels. I remember that at home my wife painted a little canvas of a dead sassafras before I cut it for kindling. Do our joy in looking at the tree, and the painting of it, atone for my removing it from the cycles of its community? Higher up are poplars, planted by Mead Paper after a clear-cut more than 20 years ago. I remember that even as a child, before I really cared about anything except myself, I wept at the logging of these hills and that my weeping was not only for what I had lost.

Hope cannot survive without a great deal of patience, and I walk just above the lower margin of the poplars and look at the rocky washes with something approaching a calm. Headed west, looking to the right, to the top of the dolomite bench, and on down, into the branch. I do not know, now, who owns this land, has the legal deed. No one knows it as well as my brother and I, but we have never said aloud that it is ours in any sense. It is ours. It is not ours. It cannot be ours because we do not want it, to have. But we love it and so it is ours. I feel in every hollow the ghosts of our comings and goings, at every bend I remember things we said, that in the cool entrance to this little cave we rested and talked about the time when Wanda took a bunch of us boys somewhere and we ended up throwing gravel at each other when the car got a flat under the big quarry conveyor at Pine Gap, and somebody got barbecue sauce on Rook Newport’s white suit and he didn’t know whether to fight or cry. I remember the time that I came here alone, in the cold, to dig, but didn’t get very far because I spent more time drinking tea and pissing in the snow. It is cold today too. The land seems to be waiting for something. The sky is taking a breath, about to talk, it seems. It seems like it might snow. The wind starts to blow and I know that this land has always been waiting for something.

I have come within the clatter of the quarry, I turn, drop to the level of the branch, back toward the car. Again I pass the entrance by, because though we went back later, together, and dug with patience into our hopes, I have mostly come here to remember. The winds stirs the high branches and damps the voices of the birds and the gravel pit. All sound diminishes in the swirl of the wind until there is no sound at all. I glide in silence, removed from all time, from memories, hatreds, claims. I start, turn to my left and look westward, upstream. Suddenly I remember a time a millennium ago, when the midsummer sun fed only faintly through a weighty canopy. Even then a small part of the dolomite knob lay bare here, an island in the virgin mould. The wind, I remember, moved the chestnuts and oaks and sycamores then. Panic. From where I searched up the ancient stream I remembered the duck, flying centered over the water. It made a single low searching scream, full of all the portent of eternity, and stretching through eternity to December, in the waste of what is now called Ohio.

Fulk:
Kenilwoth – I can't work out whether you're serious or taking the piss.

But hey, I never 'got' philosophy, being a simple sort of a cove. Anyway, whatever you're trying to say – good luck. Just because I don't understand doesn't mean it ain't valid.

SamT:
Lovely piece of writing Kenilworth...

mch:
I don't agree with a lot of what you post, Kenilworth, but that is a particularly beautiful piece of work combining lyrical description and emotion. Well done!

Chocolate fireguard:

--- Quote from: SamT on December 18, 2016, 09:07:21 am ---Lovely piece of writing Kenilworth...

--- End quote ---
And certainly not a load of pretentious tosh.

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