The Road Outside My Door

Today I drive fast
through the cold, overcast morning.
I’ve traveled this highway many times
know the blind curve
before Hansen’s driveway
and watch for draft horses
pulling the cultivator
as I approach Krueger’s.

Spring fields
are just beginning to show
a chartreuse sheen
but I have seen them palest yellow
burnished gold
lavish green
and a dozen shades from white to grey
beneath the snow,
or glistening deep, black in the rain
or so dry that dust clouds
follow tractors down the rows.
Dutch Crick runs parallel on the west
Some years it swells from spring rains
so the waters push up out of their banks
and over the fields
impatient to reach the valley’s end
like me.

Along the side of the road
I have seen dead deer, cats, coons
possums, fox, birds
and one live dog
who now makes his home with me.
Today turkey vultures gather,
like congress,
shoulder to shoulder
in a nearby field
greedy to get all they can,
like congress.

In January, bald eagles light
in the oak trees at the edge of the road
across from Sandman’s farm;
I’ve counted as many as seven.
Wild turkeys dot the side-hills in spring
too many to count
so we have hunting seasons for them.

There are mornings
when the ground fog nestles in the valley
and I drive up and out
into the dazzling sun of a different day.
In fall when the leaves turn
brown, yellow, orange
of oak, birch, maple
and I smell the wood smoke
rising from farmhouse chimneys
I count these days precious.

Coming home in the afternoons
waiting behind the school bus
I wave to the children
who wave to me
through the back window.
Butch drives the bus
haltingly
through the valley
depositing each child
at his rightful place
along the road.

At night warm light
from each farmhouse along the way
punctuates the dark
marks a home, a family, a circle of souls
that call to me;
yet, there have been winter nights
when the full moon
has shown so brightly on the snow
I have turned off my headlights
and driven through the valley
drawn out to 
solitude.

As I race down Highway 162
from between its lines
tucked and twisted through the hills
I recall the thousand faces
this road has shown me
through different times and seasons
and I slow down to look
for it will never be just this way again.

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Grandma’s Kitchen

Grandma’s kitchen
was not tidy or spotless
the linoleum was worn
and the cabinets had seen better days

but Grandma’s kitchen
smelled of Heaven-
of fresh baked bread
and safety
and story books
with happy endings.

Grandma’s kitchen
always held some special treasure:
shining jars of red currant jelly
iridescent blue feathers
a speckled stone,
or even a cardboard box
full of kittens.

But best of all in
Grandma’s kitchen
was Grandma and Grandpa

This was written in response to a prompt from Karin over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.  She asked us to try just writing, nomaterwhat, for seven minutes.  The take whatever we have from that and work with it.  This is a technique for helping get through writers’ block.  Click on the link and check out what others have written.

Friday 55

I miss you most on Fridays
when the weekend promises
us redemption, or escape –
whichever we are
more in need of
 
I miss you most on Fridays
when I sit down to write
in the early-morning dark of fall
with coffee, doughnuts
and not much to say
 
I miss you most on Fridays,
like today