I found the wild azaleas growing pink as cheeks hot-flushed in fever from a cold. I drew the water for my mother’s drink and placed the petals in a vase of gold. I saw her shaking hands turn pale and dry and move along the rim of china vase, and then extend just as in days gone by to mine. No one can fill my mother’s place. Please do not bring to me your roses red nor wipe away my tears that fall in sheets to cover her new cemetery bed. In Heaven she now walks on golden streets while I go down a dark and dusty trail, in search of pink azaleas for my pail.
Spring is beginning to appear in lovely shades of yellow, pink, purple, white, red, green and a blend of many other shades — all spread out nicely under rays of gold and skies of blue. The tiny, blue flowers are up, a nice surprise of spring. Where have they been all winter? Lying dormant, deep under ground?
Many worthwhile stories are being written and I am writing none of them.
Cedars and pines
at the edge of the lawn
on breezy days when the sun shines,
look brighter in the hour just after dawn.
There is a glow
from trunk up to treetop–
they really put on quite a show
in spring. Their displays never ever stop.
STOP at the intersection
of North Cliff and North Main . . .
from there the mountains rise
into blue to graying sky
on an afternoon in spring.
Breezes shake tree limbs
gently like hand-held
cardboard fans cooling
faces of church go-ers
on hot days in Arkansas’ past.
Hens and roosters — wild violets at Banner Mountain Homeplace
as warm as sun on robin’s breast
as soft as yarn in blackbird’s nest
as cool as breezes when they blow
as white as gentle flakes of snow
as tasty as sunflower seeds
or nasty as tough bitterweeds––
polecat babies in black and white,
who stir a stink in dark of night
tornado winds that scalp the hills
and crack the eggs of whippoorwills––
a “fraidy hole”––a cellar deep
where even greenish frogs can creep
a rain surprise in hasty splash
that brings forth thunder with a flash
newborn kittens in loft of hay
song of sparrow at end of day––
dogwood blossoms in Arkansas,
a welcome time chock-full of awe.
As I remember Banner Mountain in the springtime, I think of how the apple blossoms and plum blossoms greeted me as I returned from school. I might not have noticed the fresh blooms in the orchard as I left the house to walk up the trail to the Banner School. But always on my return, the orchard welcomed me back home from a day of “readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic” and playing with my friends.
Yvonne & Freeda Baker
Yvonne and I at the homeplace, standing between the daffodils and the lilac bush. With two years difference in our ages, we were inseparable. Mama said that when I started to school that Yvonne was very lonely. She’d go outside and call for our dog, named Rusty. “Here, Rust! Here, Rust!” In a couple of years, though, Yvonne joined me on the walk to school. As time went by, Rust met his fate although I don’t recall when or how he died. Another dog named Fuzzy came into our lives, and he was allowed to go with us to school. He waited around for us until school was out and he hurried along as we headed back home. At the close of school for the summer when certificates were given to those completing the eighth grade, Fuzzy received a certificate, too. I don’t know how much Fuzzy learned but he was well-behaved and friendly to all.
The lilacs, the daffodils, and the orchard’s pink and white blooms were such a pleasant sight–the memory of which I still cherish from long-ago spring-times on Banner Mountain. ~~Freeda Baker Nichols