Odin Roark, click here
to update your web pages on AuthorsDen.
We all need our recalls resurrected from time to time. It’s the only way they can “be” again... of course with a modicum of levity, via some prosetry. (Image by dijangodurango)
It’s Only Fair…Really
by Odin Roark
Words sound their echoes from long ago
when the year’s final harvest offered rooted stew for remembering.
Yet, today, to enjoy, it requires the pulling of tangled tendrils,
strands clinging tenaciously earthward,
the synapsis of remembrance
struggling a determined gasp through the aging curse.
My patriarchal grandfather,
disintegrating yet further with every pull,
tugged up the final resistance that day.
In his basket of potatoes, beets, turnips and a soft bed of kale,
he laid the parsnip gently down, as if it might be the least he could do,
tugging it from nature’s care as he did.
His arthritic hands pushed the disturbed soil back into place
as if creating a burial of sorts. That’s what I thought as a child.
When I asked him why he was so careful with the return of the uprooted soil,
he said, “Just returning the earth’s soul for another beginning…another seasonal lifetime.”
Like his words, there was something bucolic about his Cherokee hair,
sometimes pastoral in its ponytail, sometimes left to mix with his work,
his sweat—even his tears. I remember.
It was as dark as calligrapher’s ink, shiny as black agate.
And when there came a gust, like the mane of a wild steed,
it would dance with the wind, stirring my sense of… what?
That’s how it was that last day of summer,
when he stood erect; his sweaty skin a dark mirror
beside the fire-red oak and yellow leaf birches of summer’s end.
He sighed and blinked droplets of toil from his dust-weathered eyes
upon the supper about to be prepared.
This was many years back.
Walking beside creaking knees bent forward as we strolled in silence,
save the chanting of a quiet prayer of thanks he always left the garden with,
the shaman like sage, my grandfather, whose stories became my dreams at night,
held my hand and we walked.
I remember the permanence of his impact,
we were stepping quietly
and he bent wearily down and picked up a rotten peach.
Inside, a crazed worm squirmed in panic,
the sticky amber juice of the fruit seeming to trap it.
‘Course I was a kid. What did I know about suffering?
But he did something I never forgot. He gently fingered the creature loose,
bending his grating knees to carefully return the worm to the earth.
He whispered, “fair is fair.”
Grandfather visits my loneliness—knows my dreams.
He visits often. We make root-stew, his favorite.
Sometimes we watch the robins during early morning as they feast on worms.
“Actuality is very short,” he cautions. We nod, I know not what he means.
“It’s only fair, really” we say together. “It’s only fair.”
Suddenly, there’s meaning… I think.
Want to review or comment on this
Click here to login!
Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!
|Reviewed by Edward Phillips
|A classic tale. I would erase the last two words.|
|Reviewed by Mr. Ed
|Really enjoyed this. Brought back many fond memories of long ago when I loved helping my wise old grandmother in her garden.|
|Reviewed by Ronald Hull
|So that's where you get your storytelling soul from… It's inherited from your grandfather, a man very close to the earth. This one is so touching and real for me. It brings a tear to the eye.
I remember my grandfathers well and learned from their experience. Both were farmers, but one was more a former factory worker and chauffeur turned farmer, while the other always remained a hunter, woodsman and fisherman from his early beginnings on a log cabin homestead.