Mile after mile of gravel roads.
So much of my childhood spent on those rutted paths going somewhere, coming home.
So much stone swallowed by the earth.
The “shiny” negative space in this photo imitates the leaves. That’s why I love this one.
This photo wasn’t from this fall. We had a dry summer and it seemed that the leaves were dull and boring compared to other years. I did enjoy one beautiful weekend in Connecticut with a group of friends from my hometown. We stayed at my daughter’s home for a long weekend, and the weather was perfect. We visited wineries and Newport and the beach and the casino and an apple festival. The leaves in CT were at their peak and surprised us all along Rte. 2 south of Hartford. We had a wonderful time, but it was over before I knew it. And I don’t think I thanked them enough for coming.
My mother, Irene Fischer Meylor, poses for my father on their honeymoon in 1949. She had turned 19 just a month earlier. I found this curled negative in my Dad’s files, and had it printed.
Dad said some days were better than others.
On those days he’d see Mom walk
into the bedroom with his folded clothes
or pass by the living room with a dust cloth.
He’d smell bread baking
or coffee brewing in the kitchen.
Just a glimpse or a whiff.
Just enough, he said.
Once, he said, when he drove uptown
for the mail, he fell asleep, slumped
behind the wheel in a parking lot.
He woke to rapping on his window.
“Jerry, wake up. You’re late. It’s time!”
She looked right at him, he said.
And then she was gone.
At Dad’s funeral, my brother tells us his dream.
He’s sitting in a bar with Dad having a drink.
And Mom walks in. She tells Dad to get home.
And he follows her out the door.
That’s it. That’s the dream, Ken says.
On better days,
I can still hear Dad singing.
It’s just enough.
Every summer when I visit Marcus,
the last thing I do is walk in the field of sunflowers
south of town.
It reminds me of my comings and goings
and how life goes on.
The grasshoppers will be jumping,
and the dew will drench my sneakers.
I’ll track mud back to the rented car,
and that little bit of Iowa
will travel across the country
I used to dream a lot of flying.
Not flying, really.
Soaring. Lifting right off the ground.
I could do it whenever I wanted.
Just slip free of the earth
and look down from on high.
Maybe it’s because I grew up here,
where the sky is wide
and there’s a lot of room to soar.
Or maybe it’s because
I never really felt
The wind was always
to come along.
who grew up on a farm
in the Midwest
knows barbed wire.
Scooting under, climbing
over fences meant
more than once by the sharp,
twisted knots meant
to keep cattle and children
First, obviously, one is not a photograph. It is a painting, called “The Gleaners” by Millet, of women collecting the remaining wheat after harvest. It was painted around the 1850s.
Second, I didn’t take the photo. It was taken by my grandfather, and shows my family picking ears of corn that were left behind after corn picking. They, too, are gleaning. It is the 1950s.
In memory, the painting was on our porch wall.
I’m struck by the similarities of the two images almost 100 years apart.
And how women bend at the waist.
And how the earth provides.