House at the Edge of a Wooded Path

photo(77)When I pass by wooded paths,

Or see old farm equipment covered in kudzu and brambles,

I think of my father.

I remember him on tractors or in old cars,

Lincolns mostly, classics he collected from the forties.

Dad post op

Or Suburbans, (his cars were always green,) and pickup trucks.

I see him jungle-cruising down grassy paths

Toward destinations of his making.

Clearings in space, fields of alfalfa or newly planted trees.

Hundreds of trees he and my mother planted together,

Six to twelve inch twigs now tower over

The house they built.

Built their dream house

Of Cedar and glass,

Windows stained and leaded,

And barn wood walls towering thirty feet high.

A labor of love

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Of their stress and wringing of hands

Love poured into each corner,

A cupola reached by a library ladder lit with

Library lights.

Filled with music from a baby grand player piano

No one else has room for now.

Mom and Dad '75

Housing personalities larger than life,

Greek man at his stove, popping popcorn

Wearing a fez, white boxers and

A holstered gun.

Heartache and illness,

Death too soon and

Lingering sorrow.

So many thanks unspoken,

Regrets and pain.

We cannot know the purpose of it.

Or of my mother’s life beyond his.

Creaming her face every night,

And before her feet hit the ground, putting on lipstick.

Caregiving all her life,

Serving an angelic purpose.

Now our legacy is

Of strangers dwelling within that house,

The spirits of those we love, no longer

Inhabiting but with us wherever we go.

It is but a shell,

And the grassy paths lead to nowhere.

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12 thoughts on “House at the Edge of a Wooded Path

    • I know, me too. We try to live in the here and now but memory is so strong and I keep thinking its for a reason. If we don’t entertain the memories, extend them a little bit, won’t they get lost? There was something about seeing a shaded grassy path that initiated a sensory sweep. I don’t want to forget how it made me feel.

  1. Susie, this was beautiful…..however it made me very emotional, but that’s okay. I am not over my brother which has been three years this February let alone my Dad which will be this April. But the prose that you used about your Mom and Dad and the love that shinned through, it was familiar, warm. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. I loved the little details about each of your parents. Like your dad, “Greek man,” popping popcorn at the stove in his fez and boxers with a hostered gun.” Something that combines humor, innocence, and a touch of darkness (the gun). Or your mom creaming her face every night (which one of us can’t relate) and putting on her lipstick before her feet hit the ground (this I do not do but I nonetheless find it so sweet). I think there were a lot of things “wrong” with Fifties parenting, but you know, there were a lot of things “right” about it too. For all of their frailities and flaws, I respected both of my parents and the sacrifices they made for me in a way that I don’t see a lot of kids today doing. We knew where we stood with our parents. We knew better than to push them into insanity day in and day out with our unending wants and needs and we weren’t offended when they offered us advice–we understood that they were the only people in the entire world who loved us unconditionally and had our best interests at heart.

  3. What a beautifully written tribute. I felt what you were writing and loved the pictures. You truly are unfolding as a writer. I love you, aunt von

  4. Sounds like you had a wonderful life with your parents Suzie. It must be such an awesome feeling. I believe in Fairy tales now and love them.
    I love taking pictures of old houses and wondering who lived in them and what kind of home was made there. That was a beautiful thing to read and sure makes you think about how things are, for lots of families…. XXOO

  5. Beautiful prose! Such a gift, just as parents are our gifts to us! Thank you for the reminder for those of us who are still lucky enough to be able to call our parents, send a card, or just a simple ‘thinking of you’ nudge.

  6. We never truly get over our parents, they are part of us…you dont have to be over anything if you dont want to…I miss my gram every day…little things always remind me of her…like a cup of Tea…a simple thing I have every day and it still has the power to make me stop and relive watching her show me how to make the perfect cup xo!

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