repost Friday…..August is Waiting

dear friends, this is the 2nd posting on this blog on March 23rd,
and a fair warning, there is a fair amount of prose ahead
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tomatoes, holly creek 009

I’ve been watching mornings silently unfold on this lake and over these hills snuggy against the four a.m. chill in my faded yellow, Dale Hollow hoody, perched under the rooftop canopy of a 60 foot houseboat in our favorite cove, tied to the same worn, barkless trees for twelve years.

Even as nothing really changes here and as familiar as it always was, like a favorite childhood memory, this view never gets old. The huge expanse of water and trees and open sky is so absolutely still, it takes waking to a few of these silent mornings to be truly comfortable with what quiet really is.  

I pine the entire year for those moments, alone; being a very early riser has it’s benefits.

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The only sound is the occasional sipping of that first and always best tasting morning cup of coffee, brewed in a dented, blue and white speckled enamel, campstyle percolator pot. That old coffee pot has been stared at anxiously for the blup, blup, blup of coffee to bubble up in the little glass dome for decades. Woefully small considering the number of empty cups that need filling when everyone finally wakes up, not surprisingly, not a single one of us would ever suggest buying a new one.  

No, we all like things just the way they are….and just the way they’ve always been.

My wife has been accompanying her parents, her brother and invited friends on this trip every summer since she can remember and she just turned fifty this year. No, we’re not exactly roughing it but there’s certainly nothing fancy about the accomodations on these old houseboats that were built sometime in the ’70’s.

It’s…well, let’s just call it close knit family style cozy.

Five small bedrooms, a bare bones, corner kitchen, dining table for 8 connected to an open living room, a bathroom with a tiny shower, a small t.v. with a dvd player and all the entertainment, food and drinks you’ve remembered to pack.

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Planning is paramount; there are no grocery stores, no towns actually for miles, no cellphone or internet service either, only the C.B. marine radio to the Dale Hollow harbor where we rent the boat, connects us to civilization.

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We are in one of thousands of inlets and
coves of natural, steeply sloped,
shoreline that contains 27,000
acres of water, surrounded
by 24,000 square miles of
mostly untouched,
undeveloped land.

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from WIKI: Dale Hollow Reservior  
Dale, or Lily Dale, no longer
exists. The community was one of
those flooded to create Dale Hollow
Lake, yet its name endures in the
choice of the lake’s name.

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Dale Hollow Dam and Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938 and the River and Harbor Act of 1946. The project was completed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1943, making the lake the oldest artificial lake in Kentucky.[1] Hydroelectric power generating units were added in 1948, 1949 and 1953. The project was designed by the Corps of Engineers and built under their supervision by private contractors. The hydroelectric generators of Dale Hollow Dam are used to supply power to the surrounding countryside. The dam, powerplant and reservoir are currently operated by the Nashville District of the Corps.

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This isn’t everyone’s ideal vacation but I was hooked, lined and sinkered the very first time I was invited. I fit in immediately. It helped that I knew how to waterski because we always rent a small powerboat and a giant rubber tube too. If you’re a waterskier like most of us, there isn’t a sight more beautiful than still water.

Water still as ‘glass’ is why this is
the cove we return to, year after year.

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It’s a good half hour from one of the many choppy,
well traveled thoroughfares that connect
the larger lakes,by midday choppy is
perfect for a bumpy tube ride.

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We explore, we hike, we spot wildlife, we float around, we read and write, play games, sing songs and play guitar, sunbathe and at sundown everyone joins in to cook dinner then watch a movie or two before retiring, usually before midnight.

March is the month I always find myself daydreaming of Holly
Creek. I imagine it all again and again on these cruel cold days, feel the warm clean air on my skin, hear the clear water gently slapping the sides of the houseboat, taste the quiet 4am coffee and remember the good natured small talk and giggles with my family. I love knowing these 10 days are already crossed off the work calendar.

It’s important having something to look forward to.

August is waiting, it always is.

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and is it just me, or has this summer just flown by….?

because August is here and it is time for our trip. Cbear, Scout and i leave tomorrow morning for 10 gloriuos days on the lake, the houseboat and on our annual vacation we so look forward to, every year.

a few things have changed since i wrote this 2 years ago, we are all a little older and it’s time to celebrate a milestone: Scout’s dad turns 80 and her mom 77, during this trip. and by the grace of the Goddess, i hope i am, we all are as healthy and active as they are, when we reach that age.

we are renting a larger, more modern houseboat too. age finally caught up with the old ones, giving us too much trouble last year and there are more bedrooms and facilities, for the many people that will be visiting this trip. musician friends will be arriving in shifts, and they are rehearsing favorite songs that will be performed for the birthday celebrations.

cell towers were installed last year, so we are connected: maybe both a blessing and a curse because there is still this part of me that longs to just unconnect from the world for awhile. i will be writing of course but not posting, and the connection will allow me to continue reading all your inspiring poetry, so a blessing there.

we come home on the 19th of July and i’ll resume my normal 3 times a week posting of this poetry of mine. and maybe i’m becoming a little more comfortable in this new habit, spending nearly every waking hour thinking, reading or writing this poetry but i will never forget why i can do this now…this thing i love so much, this second skin i’ve grown, this new way these eyes see the world and writing these words i didn’t even know i had.

between my original family at 20 Lines, my new friends at d’verse poets pub, and all of you new friends and old, there is a circle of inspiration among us. i feel it when i read your poetry, see it in your wonderful comments and encouragemnet and i think all of us, deserve a thank you for all the gifts we are giving each other.

what an incredible community this is at WordPress…yes, connectivity, a blessing that i can remain conncted to all of you, who have done so much for me. i won’t tell you how many poets i follow now, that the list on my sidebar is only partial, that some days i can keep up and read all your new posts and some days i fall behind. know that i’ll get there, i might be late a little late but i’ll get there.

and that goes as well for my many new friends, who i so appreciate. it is my habit to acknowledge your follow, get to know you through your work, say hi….i might be a little late but i should get caught up very soon.

thank you all so very much for all the love and encouragement you have given me, know it will never be taken for granted and that i will always remember, why, i’m writing this poetry of mine…because of all of you.

thank you all so very much.

what i recall

dear friends…
i wrote this in the car, coming home from our
trip to our farm 2 weeks ago. i’ve been holding it
back because, well, there is a lot to digest here,
a lot of words and a lot of details you don’t know
because i haven’t written about them, except in
metaphors. if you choose to read this, and i will
understand if you don’t, just know that there is
healing and reconciliation, of so much of the
tragedy that is my childhood and family history.

there are no metaphors in this writing, everything
written here is true. there is also a larger message
about how we live now, versus how our parents did just
a few decades ago, a message that’s close to my heart.
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the farm 016
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and driving down the simple gravel road, our recent visit done,
slowly…past the tall rows of corn standing their sentry post
this once random parcel of land, hidden amidst 1000’s of acres
that felt like Home to me the minute the white clapboard house
suddenly appeared in the surprise clearing, over ten years ago

…and I recall what i heard then,
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the easy after dinner conversations
and commitment, a family reciting
its oral history to their children.

the southern rooted melancholy
of the music, this east coast boy
never could appreciate until now.
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and as we took one last last look
down the gravel road road towards
the house, before driving to Chicago

both our hearts so tethered to this farm
Scout with her memories and me with mine
so we sang in harmony to our favorite road trip song
Patty Loveless singin’ ’You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive’

‘But the times, they got hard and tobacco wasn’t selling
And old grandad knew what he’d do to survive
He went and dug for Harlan coal
And sent the money back to grandma
But he never left Harlan alive’

that Scout could get this shy one to sing…
that this scared kid, did manage to escape Brooklyn alive
that no other house I owned, spoke Home like this farm
that it’s just all too much to absorb sometimes

i recall what I heard listening to Carl
a retiree now, still living in the next farm over
in the brightest moonlight he could ever remember
stroll his field, just to hear the snap of the corn grow

i recall Aunt Shirley, who’s not even my blood
on the phone that afternoon, ask which I wanted
should she make apple or peach cobbler for dessert
and then apologizing, ‘‘cause the edges they were burnt.’

that this family has so folded me into their clan
that an orphan with no family of his own…now does
that it’s all been done without a single word about it
that it’s all just too much to absorb sometimes

i recall what i heard listening to Bob, Scout’s gentle father
sharing his childhood memories, working his own daddy’s fields
at 12, hitching horses to a wagon to glean the left over corn
and milking the cows everyday at 4, so his family could survive

i recall what I heard Sue, married 50 years to her beloved Bob
say on the phone last year driving home from the lawyers…
smiling, ‘Well the papers are all signed, it’s finally complete.
We called you first, ’cause we know how much you love the farm’

that none of the many siblings showed any interest
that Scout, her brother and I, were gifted this farm we treasure
that this poor Brooklyn boy, might breathe his last breath here
that it’s all…just really too much to absorb some days
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and i recall what I heard last night, when I walked the clearing
a bird I didn’t recognize was singing his melodic night calling
i just had to stop this walking, to listen to his every pretty note
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and I thanked the universe
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from my very core..
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that I was there
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108
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