Barefoot Memories of a Hillbilly

Thunder, Nature's Alarm Clock

Though the official start of spring is a couple days past, the rumble of thunder we had over the weekend went a long way towards waking the spring life. Thunder, nature's alarm clock. The daffodils are rousing from their slumber, dressed in their yellow nightgowns, heads still bowed over and heavy with sleep. Along the walk to school this morning, it was easy to see the forsythia yawning and stretching out their yellowed limbs, reaching towards the sky. There's nothing that wakes Spring like the bugling of a thunderstorm. It's not too bad out this morning, my eyes quickly adjust to the weakened darkness, and even as I climb the first hill the distant glow of a fresh washed morning it starting to clear the bleary sleep away and promises to be a beautiful clear-sky morning.

Mom said Pap was in a fizz to get out and check the garden ground this morning to see if the wind and sunshine from yesterday was strong enough to dry up some of Saturday's storms. It's almost as if the world suddenly woke from its winter nap and the air is full of anticipation and activity. It's un-telling (untelling is a hillbilly word that means just what it sounds like it means) which day I'll top the hill coming home to find the furrowed rows of a well planned garden waiting below. Pap has already cut down some dead poles from the woods and snaked them in to be used as a wall around the tobacco bed that has already been burned and just waiting for the ash to be cut into the ground. Mom says the ash is good for the ground, and helps to loosen the soil, but the real reason tobacco beds are burned is that the heat from the fire helps to sterilize the soil from blights and disease that live in the soil. Each year after the seeds are sewn in the bed, a couple feet from one end of the bed is left empty for Mom to sew seeds for tomato plants, peppers or even sweet potato "slips' to be transplanted to the garden after danger of frost passes.

There's only a couple houses along the first mile to school, and soon they too will have gardens laid out not far from their tater patches that have been out a week or two. Town (proper) takes up the last mile of the trip. The morning goings on seldom change, with the same houses showing lights burning inside the same windows, the same people out readying to head out to work or school, and there's a safeness and security in this sameness. "Good mornings" are exchanged with the few folks out stirring. Ahead I see Mr Hacker heading out in his old truck to his parents home place where he's got cattle to feed and milk before he shows up later to teach my morning History class. I can hear the music from the chimes playing out from the clock and bell tower on campus. Behind campus is the motorized sound of equipment from the dairy shed running. The trip is finally over, one daffodil and garden at a time. People are starting to file in for chapel and after that, the day will be just one more thought and memory tucked away to be woken for review in the Spring of another year.

I wear shoes now, but sometimes I have barefoot memories.

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