Saturday, October 8, 2011

Magical morels and the mystical midwest... May 2009

I know, you're thinking, "I can't believe she just referred to flyover country as mystical." But it kind of is.

For instance, the morels are calling me.  (Not really, if I was really hearing mushrooms, without TAKING mushrooms, I'd call my doctor.)  But this is morel season.  You never know where you are going to find the little buggers and I haven't been out hunting in a long time.  I need to go, if only for the walk in the woods.

Springtime here is glorious.  It makes me rapturous, unlike my staid, pragmatic heritage.  I stick my nose in a spray of lilacs and go gaga with the sheer wonder of it.  There are so many questions.  What makes it smell like that and why does my brain approve so?

There are many country roads to travel down and many interesting people who are out and about taking advantage of the burst of nature.

On your voyages, you wonder about the ancestors.  There's a secret grotto someplace near.  It's down a one-mile walk, past a ghost town and there are names from the 1700's carved into the rock.

Our local church tends a hidden graveyard.  It's down the road apace, off on a gravel road, then a dirt path that ends with the old, old stones in a grass-covered clearing surrounded by forest.  I don't think there's even kin left of the people buried there.

You can tell by looking at some sections that entire families perished close in time to each other and I think it must have been an outbreak of some long-gone illness.  I volunteered to place little flags there on memorial day some years back.  It's humbling.

We are hardy stock.  There are three months of the year that are difficult even in these modern times.  When I see the ancient stones I wonder how it must have been for those folks.  Did they make it to spring and think it was a good year because they only lost one toe to frostbite?

My niece and I took a walk tonight after supper.  This weekend, at my cousin's shower, a long-time elder of the community commented that she didn't know what the world was coming to when people here were locking up their houses.  As a child, the community was a world of open doors.

But tonight, on the walk, I couldn't help but smile and notice that all of the houses in the "addition" had their front doors open and the welcoming lights on inside.  I like this area.  People are contrary and friendly.  They think, they labor, they argue and they love.  There really is something special about the midwest.

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