Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Once upon a Gourd

When I was a young man of no more than 6 or 7 years, I found the spring.

Nestled in a nook on the northern perch of my Pawpaw's farm, just beneath several old and tired willow trees, it sputtered its way up from the rock and dirt and pooled in the cool afternoon sun. Green ferns bowed their limbs over the crystal clear water. Glistening rocks glimmered with approval at its lip.

I would often make my way through the back pasture, up and over the old wooden fence, and spirit myself away through the corn. I would hover around the edge of the woods until I saw the moss begin creeping over the boulders. The small footpath that led me into the heart of the forest had carried far more little feet than my own.

When the honeysuckle & wild blackberries gave way to shadow and pine needles, I always knew I was getting close. You see, my Pawpaw had taken me to the little spring many times before. And many times before that, he'd taken my Mother.

The gourd hung solemnly and still from a hewed limb, just within the reach of tiny prying fingers such as my own.

With one knee in the soft earth and with one arm outstretched, that gourd swallowed enough sweet water to quench any thirst.

It's one of my fondest memories.

PawPaw passed away in the spring of 1983. The spring dried up the following summer. Several years later, Nannie sold that farm and moved closer to town.

I suppose that gourd is still there, though. Hanging patiently from that limb. Hidden in shadow and beneath pine needles, beyond the honeysuckle & blackberries. Perhaps just out of view of the footpath. Maybe it's simply waiting. On what... well, that's up to you.

Once upon a gourd, indeed.

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