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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CHAPTER 1 - "Little Pieces"

From my book entitled "A Quest for Country"

Excerpt from CHAPTER 1
"Little Pieces"


Scattered among the young loblolly pines, the coarse blades of the Bahia grass grew much taller than expected. As we approached, I noticed the worn, rusted cattle gate, which no long stood proud and strong, but gracefully weakened as if the course of time itself had eased it into its own period of retirement. The metal was now a faded shade of rusted brown, a far cry from the bold fire engine red that once protected these proud acres. Securing these symmetrical metal doors was no longer the sliding metal claps, or even a hefty chain --- it was now a purple lead line. Yes, a simple soft rope with a rather feminine twist now issued the pronouncement of border protection onto this land. What a stark contrast I pondered as I walked closer, but at least this makes accessing the land that much easier. I was relieved as I slowly and easily untied the simple rope and pressed onward onto to the remainder of this impromptu adventure.

The land was slightly rolling and mysteriously quiet. As now an intruder both in the legal & natural sense, I felt a bit of adrenaline begin to flow, but that was mild compared to my heightened awareness for potential encounters. The grass was relatively tall, nearly 18" in most areas, but still plenty high enough to obscure the deadliest reptile or native predator. There is something very instinctual about our human ability to reattain lost hunting & defensive skills when placed into the proper environments. For a moment, I allowed myself to lose track of all time, everything outside of those broken gates, my life was now here on the inside of this arena, and I had to become a seamless part of its rank-and-file.

As much as I relish in these challenges, I regret having to be responsible for others who want to accompany my quests. Constantly having to ensure that someone else doesn't misstep their path, touch the wrong plant, nor endanger their own life is not something I enjoy. However, empathy runs deep in my blood. As the stress begins to mount, I carry it upon my shoulders in silence like an assumed layer of guilt.

Stomping through the young pines, and mild underbrush we continue to traverse this intriguing and beautiful landscape. I see with a vision of what is not here, not what is. The pines, gone. The underbrush, gone. The thick tall grass, gone. All that remains are the glorious and proud hardwood trees, the mighty southern oaks. I noticed in the distance a nice simple cattle pond, as I fumble with my parcel map. I cling to this folded white paper which offers me a little reprieve both in the legal sense if I get caught for trespassing and also a good indicator of where I might be in this dense humid habitat.

I press onward, trying to orientate the map with my steps and attempting to align the invisible lines of demarcation that segment each parcel of land. This property is now divided into a multitude of various sized lots ranging from 2.2 acres up to 7.95 --- the one that has my eye is the 4.75 acre piece right in the middle with its own small pond. We continue to walk upon this old road, a dense ridge line some might say, between all of the simple farmland. It is strange to imagine now this once large proud pasture is about to become nothing more than individual country homesteads. Never again in history will this property be as it once was. Like a sea overtaking a sand castle, the evidence of its existence will forever change and this book will sadly be closed, forever.

I wish that I contained the resources in my own purse to keep all of the land intact, simply flowing as one continual landmass in lieu of the broken pieces. These little pieces of land that eventually will become its destiny saddens me for a moment. I think about someone trying to place dividers in a running stream or a stony brook, each person claiming their own portion to themselves. All of them damning the history of their steps while conveniently damming the flow of the water itself. This would never be allowed, but with land it is all different and fair game for the developers.

I get lost in my thoughts, forgetting about the serene surroundings and time, even my companion who I figured by this point is in this as much as I am, and therefore has about as much chance of leaving this place unharmed. "Yes, but so much work is still needed to be done to make this even usable", I proclaim. Trying to convince myself that it is not worth the investment to live in this glorious place, while I am truly only projecting my own frustration & discouragement for not believing it could ever be mine to own.

By this time, I could sense a growth of silent frustration beginning to mount so I casually made some quick measurements in my head and with nearby landmarks relative to the plot map. We trekked out the path from which we entered in near silence. I had nothing else to discuss, nothing left to ponder. Resealing the past at least for now, I gently retied the purple rope as we exited the gates. I knew in my soul that these little pieces of land will bring joy to a less emotional family one day, but never more than they once meant wholly complete to nature herself.

As I touched the old gate, I spoke in silence and tried to feel the energy of this place. Perhaps, I will return. Perhaps, this land is still quietly speaking to my soul. Perhaps one of these little pieces will be a large part of my life one day.

We drove away and moment faded.

1 comment:

Lindylou said...

As always amazingly written, and perfect chapter for your book, which will be published. Where is the photo for this chapter? I know you have one.