Garden Road - May 26, 2015 This week, I will discuss a much overdue subject that might seem all too familiar to many readers—bullying. Through high school I bordered on skeletal, 6 feet, 130 pounds. I also inherited tremor familial, which is a condition that causes my hands and head to shake, which led to an anxiety disorder that caused sleep and waking to become equally hellish. I got picked on, sometimes to the point of no longer wishing to live. I was only one of many. May 26, 2015, 08:34
Garden Road - May 19, 2015 When I was young, my family raised chickens. My mother gathered eggs in the morning. She watered the birds from a hydrant beside an old outhouse. A line of elms grew behind the chicken house. Rain drained from its sloped roof, forming a long rut at their bases. Matter fell from the shingles, leaving white specks in the water.
When it stormed, the wind bellowed over the canopy of the grove. The chickens isolated themselves to this small territory, never wandering far from their shelter, covered in shadow in the evening by two grain bins. Between mowings with the brush cutter, the grass covered their heads as they pecked at the last specks of oats and seed, through narrow repetitive paths they had worn around black-eyed Susans. At some point we either butchered them or simply did not replace members of the brood, which were easy targets for predators. The chicken house sat empty, paint peeled away, and after we moved, it was torn down and its boards buried. May 18, 2015, 08:59
Garden Road - May 12, 2015 After a dry season, the rain has returned. It has not been a normal spring. Not like two years ago when there was a foot of snow, no grape hyacinth eyes through drifts, but still peculiar. The other night, driving home after my birthday supper, lightning forked from cloud to cloud far above Anthony Street. I hurried my family from Durango to house. Wes asked if we were going to die, but in an oddly resigned way. Thunder relayed static from the power that always surrounds us, a bass guitar for the better portion of an hour. In California they’ve had no such luck, with no snow pack and sunken reservoirs—'voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.'
We have moved on to Mother’s Day, past the first day of school for the firstborn, all those faces smiling, waiting for the bus to come. The blades of naked lady flowers, shaded in morning by our home, wait to bloom in the next photograph, which will be for kindergarten in August. May 11, 2015, 09:05
Garden Road - May 5, 2015 Another birthday will have passed for me by the time this newspaper hits the stands. These milestones have become incrementally less monumental as years go by. In the bright haze of youth, a birthday was a gathering, a cake, and an added digit you could count on only two hands. The candles lit only my face. My grandparents would visit our white farmhouse as the land greened, returning from death. I felt honored, but not humbled.
Adult life has taught me that I only deserve love if I earn it, and to love others even if they don’t deserve it (I learned the second half of that lesson in childhood, and the caveat has been added through experience).
The world grows wider as we grow older. There is less we can control—the illusion of control slips away. The sleepovers and fishing trips brought friends into the small world of the country, where cattle outnumber people, but now every moment must be crowded out by the next moment. Some unseen momentum pushes us onward. Nothing pushes back. It is a one-way trip, where we have located every fish in the pond, but the light skimming off a dragonfly suspended above the water no longer blinds us to what came before, and what is ahead. May 4, 2015, 09:10
Garden Road - April 28, 2015 When my family lived on the farm that bordered the Missouri State Line, with our house situated across the hill from Jack and Linda Couchman’s, my brother Grant asked our mother to drop us off at the railroad tracks that curve through Sewal. From Cedar Road, we walked back to the farm, hunting for mushrooms along the sides of the track, which wound back a few miles to form the west border of our timber. Then it was another mile through multi-flower rose bushes east to the house. We carried paper sacks for handfuls of mushrooms, and wore chaps to get past the thorns.
I used my ‘mushroom stick’ to brush away May apples and undergrowth to expose the smaller morels. It was a cattle prod that my dad once cut from a willow sapling. He always kept one in his pickup truck. Apr 27, 2015, 09:02