The Republic of Texas
I woke up that first morning contemplating my next move in this new place. I didn’t know anything about the area. Was there a trading post, other settlers? If there were others, they would most likely be along the river, probably further southwest. It was an uncertain time in the territory. The both of us traveling a distance on one horse was risky but we had no choice. We needed tools, basic supplies, a mule and a wagon. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 10
A New Leaf
I left Tennessee toward the middle of February, halfway thinking about following my old friend Crockett to Texas to see what was happening there. The Colonel had lost his appetite for Washington politics, according to a man who came into the shop one day saying he had read about it in a copy of the Alabama Watchman. I suspect Davy simply tired of having his honor trampled by the likes of Andrew Jackson, and opted for more worthy pursuits. For whatever reason, most likely adventure, he went to Texas. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 9
Upon my return, I noticed something peculiar in CB’s behavior. He seemed preoccupied, on edge, not at all himself. At first I thought it had to do with me personally, something I had done, or said. It nagged at me that he could be holding me accountable for the death of Louis, finding himself somehow caught in the middle, between the Friedel loss and my part in it. He had become close with the Friedel family, visiting their farm often, tending a full blown romance with Isabel. Or, I surmised, perhaps he was simply ill at ease with me, not knowing how to address my loss. He had expected me to return with my wife and baby, my family. It could be that my bereavement was more than he was sophisticated enough to process, not as acclimated in the white man’s ways as I had thought. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 8
Sitting on the old front porch swing, Julianne waits for the arrival of the unfamiliar, for the seventy-year-old-woman who gave her life. Gently pushing the toes of her left foot against the floor in rhythm with the suspended motion, Julianne is struck with the profound comfort of her own immobility. In the midst of the constant procession of life, I wait here, she thought. Had always waited, it seemed to her now, while her environment ripened around her, touching her, sustaining her, as the patterns of living changed routinely, yet predictably, through the years. Continue reading The Family
Crockett rode up one morning wanting to know if I’d be interested in doing some exploring, a little surveying in the territory northwest, almost halfway to the Mississippi, and thought I might want to look around there, perhaps laying claim to a homestead for myself. I had been splitting logs close to the boat’s mooring when he rode up behind me. Everyone else was over at the Wilkes place. I was glad it had worked out that way. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 4
Heaven is deep in a wooded glen
Still damp from an early rain,
Where Harmony hangs sweet
In the pungent pine,
And its presence knows my name.
Way back there in birthing bed
alone again she’d weep.
Year after year, new flesh, new bone,
pushed out like temporal teeth.
Ripped from its sockets by the roots,
life gasped and screamed for air,
then quieted down in perfect peace
to rich maternal fare.
Grandmother soil, warm and fertile,
the perfect garden spot.
She was Eve in efflorescence:
Black-eyed Susans, Blazing Stars,
Snow-drops, Spring Beauties,
Ragweed and Clover.
She was Eden, perennially pregnant.
Wildflowers, we speckle the landscape,
earth’s laughter, we nourish and flavor the land.
Spawned one by one in darkened rooms,
loosed as fledglings from cradling hands:
we explore, we discover,
we dance, we sing,
Last night the dogwood bloomed,
splattering white all over the woods.
What magic transpired while I soundly slept,
to lighten their previous mood?
Give me the wine that frees the mind,
the nectar sipped by Eve.
Just let me taste one sparkling drop
to counteract this sleep.
Let Inspiration’s sweetest juice
remove this misty veil,
so I can see the mystery
Eden could not conceal.
Once, a poetic woman
found the heartbeat of God
beneath a blade of grass.
She simply pulled the leaves apart
and felt the ancient pulse.
When she pressed her palm against the living earth,
and felt the power pounding,
she surely was compelled
To lay her body down.
Breast to breast,
heart to heart,
Words are garments
which clothe my thoughts,
like fabric woven from threads.
They can be worn loosely, letting my spirit breathe,
or, bound so tightly, the thoughts are never free.
A few thoughts, essentially unspeakable,
I must wrap warmly in dark, heavy wool,
dressing them carefully for discretion’s sake-
But the majority can be draped in transparent lace,
and exposed to the world.