Salvage

The decoy is a treasure. Its carved wooden shape, light as air. On the base is a hand painted scarlet letter. I recognize the script. For this reason, I pause. Some objects are worth the keep.

Father was a duck hunter, a truth we spent years debating ’round the Sunday table. I disagreed with his choice to hunt game. He defended the fact. Wild duck was one case.

“I’ve put food on the table.”

In silent protest, I’d refuse a forkful of roast duck.

“Excuse me from the table.”

As a child, he’d wake me at the just the right time. Before dawn, we’d ride to the slough, his Pointer a guard, on the back seat. The dog wears rubber boots, custom ordered from a hunting supply catalogue. Father protects the dog’s paws from damp ground.

At the slough, I am directed to a clearing on the bank. There is a view of the water. A thermos of cocoa warms my hands. Tucked within a paper bag: cheese sandwiches wrapped in wax paper.

“Be still,” he says. “Stay visible.”

When one is still in thought and body, one hears every whisper and notices every nuance. For instance, land and objects change in light. Bulrush reeds turn sage, to olive, to black.

To pass time, I weave tall grass into crowns, search for shapes and faces within clouds. I listen as wind rustles through the rush. When the ducks fly over the marsh, I plug my ears and rock.

At day’s end, father gathers the wooden decoys, tossing them into a gunny sack. In a separate one, he stacks the still warm bodies of duck.

I think ducks beautiful, their bodies smooth as velvet, feathers tiered and shimmering in light. Even dead, their faces remain calm.

As we drive home, a certain gravitas sets down between us. Music from the radio hangs in the balance. Country roads turn to city streets. In silence I find words for Sunday.

If Father were here today, I’d speak the same unwavering truth. Ann Patchett wrote it best, ” you have to be willing to accept not what you wanted to have happen, but what happens… By the time you get out of the marsh, you will have written a novel so devoid of ducks it will shock you.”

He’d nod toward the decoy on the sideboard. We’d agree to disagree. He’d hug me tighter, knowing we are more alike than different.

The decoy rests on the sideboard, freshened up, beneath two coats of ‘French Linen.’ ~ Annie Sloan

A beautiful quote from author Ann Patchett~

“…fiction writing is like duck hunting. You go to the right place at the right time with the right dog. You get into the water before dawn, wearing a little protective gear, then you stand behind some reeds and wait for the story to present itself…You choose the place and the day. You pick the gun and the dog. You have the desire to blow the duck apart for reasons that are entirely your own. But you have to be willing to accept not what you wanted to have happen, but what happens… By the time you get out of the marsh, you will have written a novel so devoid of ducks it will shock you.”

― Ann Patchett

Beauty surrounds us. It’s a found nest, tossed from the trunk of an old oak. It’s innocence and a lack of sophistication. It’s crocus shoots breaking through frosted hardpan or a child’s scribbled note. It’s a falling star and the crush of rose. It’s kisses and rain, the words of a poet.

It’s simple and magnificent as most true things are.

The succulent, dressed in a paper bag. The discarded nest, a home for moss covered bulbs. Titanium snow and Magenta blossoms. It’s birdsong at dawn and the scribbled note you framed. It’s the hive of memories you keep.

~I See Flowers And Smile

Silence

Sit in silence. Listen as a leaf rustles to the ground. Hear the Goldfinch trill from the sycamore. Feel, as a branch snaps deep within the heart of the forest. Breathe in rhythm with the tides. Again and again and again. This is how you heal.

~Little Miracles

There is a hush within the edges of time. If one listens, one can feel it.

It is early dawn and I am easy, not required to be anything people think I should be. There are no demands placed upon my time.  Within this pause, I imagine the gift of another day, open to whatever magic it may bring.

Silence is my church. It is where I do my deepest work.  As the stars lean in to listen, I spill my holiest thoughts. Morning shines like a beacon of hope.

I worship the margins of time. There is room to rest as the simplest of moments  begin and turn each day. It is where I find clarity.

 

A paragraph from a scene titled, Do Right. The setting is a  fictional locale – Ardua Pier- where things happen

Truth lies in a dream.

 

The dull blast of a horn signaled a ship entering port. He listened as waves lapped against the pylons. The high-pitched sound of a woman’s laughter rang from the neighbouring sugar factory.  From a warehouse loft, somewhere high above the hillside, a violin’s music serenaded the stars.

Life is ever-changing, he thought, like the sea: calm and smooth, violent and rough. He yearned for a moment between struggle and triumph, a respite.

The hum of a car’s finely tuned engine interrupted his thoughts. He shivered and turned. Shielding his eyes from the glare of headlights, he watched as Rummy’s Cadillac inched closer to the bridge on the pier.

It was over. The memory of tail lights lingered in his mind. She’s taunting me.

Roy lit a smoke and stared across the water.

Rain fell like tears and rolled over the pavement. The lonesome moan of a tug echoed in the distance. He felt his pulse pump like a bass line. As his forehead touched the rail, he closed his eyes in prayer.

How strange to bow down, he thought, a man who has only set foot in a church, once.

She’ll  return.

~ Everything and Nothing

 

I opened the door

You slipped in

The cleanse of a flash summer storm

In an over sized sweater

Fresh laundry off the line

The cut grass smell in air

A memory of a street name I barely remember

And You: the boy I loved.