Sunday, June 24, 2012

During that summer which may never have been at all

I took Ivan the Terrier for a walk to the old Mill dam this morning.

Photo copyright Borepatch.  Click to enbiggify.

Afternoon would be too hot.  Most of June was delightfully not-at-all-like-June-in-Georgia, but now we're back to, well, about what you'd expect.  He's not a young dog, and a black dog in the hot Georgia sun is just not right.

This park, at the Roswell Mill didn't exist when we lived here the first time.  The town dropped some serious money into the trails, making this one of the nicest places to walk in the area.  The trails go up and down Vickery Creek, down almost all the way to the Chattahooche where there are more great trails along the river.

Photo copyright Borepatch

I've always liked to walk, and a dog is a good reason to get out.  In Maine Jack and I saw otters; there were beavers in a pond in Massachusetts.  We had a heron hang out in our back yard here in our first house, a decade ago (as we like to joke, at our "house in Georgia").  I'd terraced the backyard hill with dry stacked stone, and put in a waterfall and a pond.  The heron was helping himself to our fish.

#1 Son would get mad at this, and let Ivan the Terrier out to chase the heron off.  Ivan didn't chase this one - he's twelve years old now, and the bird was on the other side of the river.  Besides, he wasn't after our fish.

A quiet morning walk doesn't just carry you across the local landscape, it takes you across the landscape of memory, to places long past which we can only visit in our dreams.  Jack has been gone these twenty years now, but I still hear his deep throated bark, outraged at the swimming otter's insolence.  #1 Son hasn't been eight years old for ever and ever, but I still hear his child's voice rising with outrage that the bird is back at the pond.  I hear the frustration in the voice of young #2 Son, asking where the beaver is, knowing he is about to be delighted when he finally catches a glimpse of it.

Ivan the Terrier loves these walks.  The chance to sniff around, to catch new smells and sights from a place that's not his yard keeps him mentally sharp.  The walk through old but cherished memories is good for me, too.  Even if the path is crowded with Jack and some small children.

Photo copyright Borepatch
The past is never dead. It's not even past.
- William Faulkner


Lissa said...

The wide picture would make a dandy top bar for a blog.

Drew in SC said...


Been following your blog for a couple of weeks now, paging back through old posts as well.

Though I now live in SC, most of my family lives in Georgia and has since around 1830. There is a piece of creek bottom and a small ridge in Paulding County where my grandfather took me fishing as a child, and walking past the old mill foundation, and the old swimming hole, now appropriated to irrigate the Bentwater golf course. This is where I walk when I need to remember my story.

My great-grandfather harvested cotton and corn there, and so on back through the decades, as did the Etowah and Cherokee before them, of whose arrowheads my cousin David has pulled hundreds from the soil.

Sherman's Army marched over that land, and still other relatives bled for it, and the sweat and the blood and the rain and the snow all blend together to create the past, which-- as Faulkner so correctly said--we are living now. The two are inseparable. Only fools and liberals proclaim the end of history.

It is imperative that a man know his past. It is best when he can commune with its legacy by way of the land.

Drew, in SC

Theresa said...
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