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
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
God did not live in Eden,
he only came to visit.
He enjoyed the fragrance of life
pulsating from the paradise,
and claimed it –
for he was God, the Imperialist.
The man and the woman were, in truth,
Children of the Earth;
germinating, they had erupted from her fertile source,
the way of all life in the garden.
Serpentina, the Magnificent, the Queen of Eden,
tilled the soil, and knew Earth intimately.
God, the Missionary, forthrightly
converted the children.
He laid down the law of the land:
“Ask no questions,” he said,
defining the mind’s curiosity as sin.
But Serpentina, the Wisdom in Eden, was a thorn in the
heel of the intruder,
for when she appealed to Eve’s intuition,
Enlightenment came to the daughter.
with unpardonable independence.
In Eve’s defense, there was no guilt.
There was no crime, and Adam never fell.
In fact, they stood and questioned God,
who promptly convicted them.
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
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: farmers, herders, builders, teachers, healers.
we explore, we discover,
we dance, we sing,
This old house squats around me, over me
Like a brooding mother hen,
Her wings spreading out, to gather me close,
To confine me to her sagging, cozy bosom.
This old house speaks to me, privately,
Like a jealous old lover,
Resenting the chiming doorbell,
The ringing telephone,
Their rude presumptuousness.
Nestling down around me,
Her creaking old body embraces my fears,
And I snuggle deeper into her womb. Anita Stubbs
Because you are
I’m fully conscious of unconditional love.
Because you are, I know the texture
of being the center of.
Your awareness of my being,
is not shared by anyone,
not by mother, sisters, father, brother,
not by husband, not by sons.
A daughter’s love, unique and pure,
cares as no one can.
As I am, you are.
as you are, I am. Anita Stubbs