home sense and the heart: on the passion flower and sounding it out


Our neighbor was my mama’s grandmother, and she sent Erin and me there, to our Mama Lois, and we ran to her house, bare feet slapping, alternating from the scorching black-top road to the thistled grasses lined with saw briar and honeysuckle-twined maypops and bitterweed.

We ran there for Dr. Pepper and Starbursts and wore her girdles, fur hats, gloves, and clip-on rhinestones. We were fancy there, high heeled, and we thought of Elvis in Hawaii. I sounded out romance novels, ears turned hot, the “b” sound – bulge, bosom.

Once, on the way home, I ran onto a tree stump where a green snake flipped in the air. There my heart changed, racing wild, though I knew not to be afraid. Once, on the wall of roses, a blue and red bug bit and shocked my arms numb. No day without a little blood, a little tobacco-spit rubbed into a sting. No day without discovery: a yellow jacket hole, unearthed glass, willowflies heaving in the shape of a barn. 

The country taught me to love the pounding, the fear of a spanking, the sound of blood rushing – ears in the bath water, a diesel-engine always backfiring through birdsong, that breathless second just before breaking the short side off the wishbone.
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amberhaines
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15 Comments

Boy Crazy
Reply October 6, 2009

Do you ever consider compiling your pieces into a collection ala Wendall Berry? Collections of essay on home, on faith, on love, etc? I can't even call this an essay, but the form keeps me from calling it a poem...whatever it is, it is beauty and I love coming here to read it. Over and over, in order to pull out all that is wrapped up in your words. Tell me you're compiling a book of sorts??

~love
Reply October 6, 2009

this makes me long to move our "little" family to the country.

Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience
Reply October 6, 2009

I like to come sit here.

brittney
Reply October 6, 2009

Mmm, this makes me miss my childhood.

Traci Little
Reply October 6, 2009

OH how I LOVE the way you write! You "captivate me" and "draw me into" your stories! And that is oh so very impressive for this "short attention-span" girl named Traci!

Happy Tuesday to you! Thanks for sharing your gift, and making me remember why I love being a "country girl at heart"!

Erin
Reply October 6, 2009

Oh yes!

Your Husband
Reply October 6, 2009

You do well with words. Really well. I echo Ann Voskamp who says she loves to come sit here. I also like to come sit here, even though I also get to sit with you there, which is grand.

Kelly
Reply October 6, 2009

Ditto Ann. Thanks for the invitation...

Jane Anne
Reply October 6, 2009

A day without discovery. That's beautiful. I long for that and yet sometimes, too often, I fail to strive for it.

Casee
Reply October 6, 2009

This is my favorite so far...puts me back...barefoot flippin cow patties to find earth worms, fishin in the frog pond, careful fingers pickn thick blackberries off the vines draping the barbed wire fence ...in God's country you can't help but be connected to what's real. much love to you and your sweet licorice words of life.

deb
Reply October 6, 2009

I know what to say this time...
More please.

Amy
Reply October 7, 2009

The interesting thing is that my experience was so different- yet, I can relate. Your writing does that: draws one in, and reminds them of their self. Excellent!

Jana
Reply October 7, 2009

Oh wow. I love all over what you just wrote.

To Think Is To Create
Reply October 7, 2009

Oh how excited I am to be moving south...my childhood was in the desert of AZ, very very different from this delicious short story.

I didn't learn how much I could connect with God through nature until I was much older and had already lost the spare time to run and giggle and lay looking up at the sky.

Come to think of it, I think I need to make some time for just that...

the scooper
Reply October 8, 2009

One of the yummiest posts ever...probably because these stories are so akin to some of my very own child-raised-in-the-rural-South memories. Makes me homesick.

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