Sunday, 9 June 2013

Seventeen Days In Virginia.

 An Appalachian visit to my sister, her daughter, and their red dog.

Some days we drove,
my mother and sister and I,
skirting the Blue Ridges,
layers of smokey blue that rode away into the horizon like a tide.
Through rolling hills of green that fold back and forth onto themselves
as far as my eye could see.

Miles and miles of trees that thronged with birds,
red birds, blue birds, yellow, brown.
Birds as unfamiliar to me as the very air here.
And overhead, birds of prey wheel and cry like falling stars from some ancient tale we never knew.

On the way, we sang songs to our small travelling companion,
our little stalwart passenger whose bright presence was our totem, our lucky charm.

We delved into caves,
great endless milky caverns where we stood enthralled
listened to the rocks as they sang to us
a deep melancholy song,
a song we could not decipher,
a story as old as the earth itself.

And I could not help but dwell in my mind,
ponder, on what these lands were like
when smoke rose in the distance,
when the earth ran with blood
and your sons marched away over the mountains,
those boys of yours, tenderhearted, naive, awash with bravado and terror.
Marched away and did not come home.

Everything I saw was new, yet so familiar, like a memory, or a deep knowledge I had forgotten, that now stirs with something like hope.
The unfamiliar birdsong, 
the clamouring, legendary brood II cicadas, heard with disbelief in the place Jefferson heard them, 
fireflies in my bedroom, 
the scent of skunk that greets us on the doorstep in the morning, 
the kindness of strangers,
but most of all, those mountains.
I will hold on to those.

It is morning now, and today I will be returning to my home,
back to my dearlings and my sea, my heart sore and yearning for them now.
Though how I will say goodbye to my sister, and to this other tiny dearling who has a hold on my heart,
and to the red dog, I do not know. for they are leaving this place too,
beginning a new part of their story when they join her husband in Mexico.  

And it's true also, I find myself heartbroken to be leaving these mountains,
these blue endless, mysterious mountains that are not mine, yet somehow have a hold on me,
have burrowed under my skin a desire to come back.

And I thought my heart was already full.


Kerry O'Gorman said...

Some places grip onto your soul and the memories created there; smells, sounds, sights will always be planted in you.
That's how I feel about your homeland. Some things come back to me that draw me away in a dream and I'm there again.
I've been to these smoky mountains too and thought of my Great Grandfather who fought there.
It's a beautiful part of the world indeed!

Cait O'Connor said...

John Denver's Blue Ridge mountains and canyons I often wondered how they looked. Magical pics.

affectioknit said...

Wow...that sounds like such a nice visit!

~Have a lovely day!

Lisa said...

What a beautiful, haunting place. It sounds like you have some lovely memories to cherish!
have a great week

Sadhbh @ Where Wishes Come From said...

How wonderful. Your descriptions and images. Makes me yearn to travel again. Hope to see you soon back in this part of the world xx

HeatherMavis said...

I'm new here.
Your memories of Virginia recorded here stirred my heart. I lived there ; went to college, Liberty University in Lynchburg,Va. Then after my husband and I were married we lived for awhile in the Shenandoah Valley. We've lived in New Hampshire and Connecticut since then, beautiful places too, especially in New Hampshire.We tend to take these beauties in our lives for granted , but when seen through the eyes of one like you we can appreciate them anew. Thank you
It's my dream to see Ireland someday. Then like you I'll be glad to go home but my heart will ache for Ireland.

Mary Esther Judy said...

Hello lovely Milkmoon with all your beautiful blog entries... always refreshing and wonderful. I've nominated you for a One Lovely Blog Award and hope you will accept. Here's my link:
Thank you, thank you!

Mom said...

I love the mountains of Virginia. Thank you for making them come alive in my memory.

Rebecca S. said...

Really lovely post.
I've often thought our landscape here is very like the blue landscape of Virginia, and that first photo is proof of it.
Mexico will be a whole new world again for your sister!

Ciara Brehony said...

Thank you for all these lovely comments, and welcome to the new faces here!

gz said...

beautiful places, memories to cherish when you return to your new home

Acornmoon said...

You have captured so many feelings about this special visit, both in words and images.

Slamet Riyadi said...

A pleasant trip: meet the mountains, trees, water, cave, silence, and away from the noise of the city.

I like the cave photo, so beautiful

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