Interesting that between is the subject of this week’s contest, considering this is such a central image on my blog. It is also an amazing comment on a year’s worth of blogging.
Why? Because I have learned so much about myself in this safe space. Neither here nor there, not sure who’s reading and who’s not. Not caring. This blog has no limits, it is the outer galaxy of between.
With that said I am posting one of the rural Iowa images that I have used before here as the feature photo. This is looking north of the farm that I lived on until I moved away at 18 to go to college. The clump of trees on the right was the grove of pines and heavy undergrowth that protected the farm buildings and house from the prevailing (and unnerving) winds of the plains. It was also a great place to hide in and play.
And I’ll include a poem that I’ve posted here before, called “Directions,” which was first published in May 2006 in Plainsongs, a literary journal published by Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska.
Turn left off the gravel road,
park halfway down a rutted lane
near an “eroding eyesore” that dares
to whisper a family once lived here.
Find the remains of a farmhouse,
barn and silo surrounded by acres of corn
and soybeans. In the silence, only the wind
will rush out to see who’s come home.
Walk around a bit. One side of the barn
sinks among pigweeds and cockleburs.
In the house, where a piano once stood,
the oaken floorboards have been stripped.
It’s hard to believe, but a wooden swing
still creaks on the crumbling front porch.
Gray-white slats dangle at odd angles
from rusty chains like sturdy bones.
Go ahead, sit down. Slide across
scarred boards. Shift weight to center
and push off against cracked cement
as the corroded links shriek in protest.
Be still as the wind touches your face,
like a blind man recalling your name.
Like a holy man feeling around
for a soul to raise from the dead.
Don’t be scared. Listen to pines murmur
in the grove, rows of cornstalks whisper
down green tunnels. Soon, you’ll hear
your name echo across the barnyard.
Go now. Back to a crowded kitchen table,
slamming doors, a yard light on all night,
the scent of four o’clocks in the garden.
Close your eyes. Inhale. Exhale.