I sat by by the Kanawha River the other morning. I rolled down the window and was enjoying the morning sun as danced on the water. It’s my time to enjoy life and absorb a few minutes of peaceful contemplation. The ducks are swimming around playing follow the leader as a sleepy butterfly flexes it’s wings. A long lonely cry breaks the silence as the mourning dove announced its presence. I looked around and saw only one. It’s mate was nowhere to be found. Again it cries out with a heart-wrenching tone. Soon it hobbled into view cocking it’s head from side to side and straining to listen for a reply. The other life on the river becomes quiet and still as the next call echoes. I began to feel the desperation of the lonely mourning dove searching for its true love. Then I heard it. The reply came from the other shore. The little dove perks up as does a vertical take-off as it flies towards true love. Faith never gives up. Faith calls out expecting the answer regardless of the current circumstances. And when the answer comes, faith responds without hesitation.
What is it that we love about very old things? I like nothing more than stumbling upon an old well weathered piece of wood or a rusty hunk of iron. Last night I talked about God’s perspective of time and how time carries us along as it flows. Tonight I’m thinking about our perspective. As time pulls us ever closer towards a destiny we cannot see clearly we can only measure the progress by looking back. Those things were once shiny and new now serve as landmarks. The old rusted trucks, crumbling stone and this old barn are like anchors that help us navigate the raging river of time. It’s even better if there’s a personal connection with the object. I have to wonder if anyone ever passes this barn and relives a special moment? Was there a first kiss that happened here? Was this the place where a spark grew into true love and then into a family? Was this the place where a parent answered a child’s important questions about life’s mysteries while doing the daily chores? Did a grandparent tell stories about when the parent was a kid? Do these stories still echo across the river of time? Yes. I think that they do. These very old things are the sentinels of memories that are still being made today.
I stood in the mists and listened, and I heard the echoes.
The echoes spoke to me and here is what they those echoes said.
Once there was a house and the house was a home.
Once there was friendswho would gather.
Once there was laughing.
Once there was a song.
Once there was dancing.
Once there was the smell of dinner cooking over an open flame.
Once there were games played on the lawn.
Once there was a warm bed and quietly spoken conversation by candlelight.
Once there was a sadness and a warm embrace to lessen the scars on a wounded soul.
Once there was work to be done and rest to be enjoyed.
Once there was love and love grew into life. And life was good.
The echoes fade away but love lives on.
Poetry by Lloyd A Dempsey II
The Feature image for this post is the Old Mason-Drennan house. Sadly, it’s a historic site that is quickly succumbing to the effects of time.
As I look at site I think about all the different stories that would have played out at the old resort. In the early Twentieth Century this was a destination for people who would travel from far away. I wonder how many family lines got started at the dances and social gatherings that were held there? That question was the inspiration for my poem. As the old inn fades away do the memories live on like an echo in time?
As the weather in the Northern hemisphere warms up people in Appalachia generally gather around a camp fire and tell ghost stories. But such stories don’t always have to be scary. After all, it’s just a story… isn’t it?