"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The View From There

source: Solar Farm University of Tennessee

It was a dead end street, in a small Illinois town.
Remarkable only for its ability to be so emphatically unremarkable.
I was skeptical, at five-years-old, of living in a town founded by people
whose imagination led them to name a town after a valley of coal.
And yet, that curved street end became the place I discovered I was alive.
A quiet inward child, I made friends with the large transformer
who towered behind the metal fence beside our house, sitting in a field of wild violets
that for the fence, I could only ever look at and never quite reach.
I would scramble up our small apple tree,
losing afternoons between its blossoms,
dreaming of where my life would take me, long after this town was behind me. 
It wasn't hard to imagine in the future something grander or more refined.
My mama did the best she could to fix it up nice.
Converting the old tire that had grown into the backyard into a sandbox,
until the stray neighborhood cats took it for their box too...
Mama, never daunted,
used what the good Lord had given,
planting tulips there instead with the free fertilizer the cats left behind.
My sense of self growing alongside
those bright red and cheery yellow heads nodding in the breeze,
guarded by a fortress of abandoned rubber.
My brother and I created alternate universes,
making them come alive in the nooks and crannies of that old house. 
That was, until my darling doll's hair caught fire. 
Turns out yarn haired dolls shouldn't be kept on top of hot water heaters. 
I hadn't known.  There was so much at five that I had yet to learn.
After that, we were told to find somewhere else to play.
That was alright. 
It was becoming hard to dream up new worlds
for the smell of burnt plastic and yarn still hanging about the place.
Then there was the time one of us accidentally broke the thermostat off the wall. 
The temperature inside the house rising and rising to near 100 degrees while the snow fell softly outside.
Mama called Daddy home from the live Nativity scene our church was putting on.
When they had picked my daddy to play Joseph? Well. I could have burst with pride. 
Now, as we sat, stripped down to our undies, waiting for the man who owned the house to come,
I realized that honor of my Daddy's really just smelled like the live donkey they had brought in to gather around the manger.
But still, there was magic to be found when you paid attention.
If you laid real quiet and the wind was just right,
you could hear the roar of the lions at the neighborhood zoo from our driveway. 
We could only go on Tuesday, when the admission was free. 
That was alright, because one dollar bought you a big bag of peanuts
for you to share with Kathy Sh-Boom,
the old elephant that resided there. 
She had been born in the wilds of India,
the adventure and mysticism still woven into her old trunk that she extended happily,
nuzzling my palm as I cracked the peanuts.
One for her,
one for me,
as I wondered...
how it was that we had both ended up in this place.

{Linking with Ann for #whereILivedWednesday, and Heather for Just Write}


  1. So lovely. Reminds me of my childhood days, also dreaming of grander and more wonderful things for the future
    I've missed your words!

    1. hi doll face! isn't it funny... to be living those days that we spent so much time dreaming and planning out?

  2. I love this, Tara Belle. Especially the elephant part. Charleigh ran up to me, today, yelling: "Mama! Mama! I found a Ranny book! You LOVE Ranny!" I thought: what in the world. Raggedy Ann, as it turns out. Was she your yarn-haired doll? So much love to you, Pretty Mama. You always know when and how to share.

    1. I love me some raggedy ann! no - mine wasn't {thankfully - I would have been more upset about it if it had been}, but a doll along those lines. the late 80's early 90's loved the yarn hair I think :) all my love right back to ya. xo

  3. Lovely piece about a place where dreams were far grander than reality.

    1. yes. aren't they always? but looking back, you tend to see the magic that was right there at your feet. oh, to know that then :)

  4. Love this. Makes me wonder: how do any of us end up where are?

    1. it really is something isn't it? and if we weren't there... would we have ended up HERE? love how interconnected it all is.

  5. I can tell that your Mama and I would get along well.
    Love this.

  6. Tara this is beautiful. I really enjoyed it.

  7. It's a meme double-header! We both wrote about metal towers, and I'm so glad you house didn't burn down like groovygreenliving's! Beautiful words, Tara.