Months To Years Winter 2019 Months To Years Winter 2019 - Page 42

medicine from the cupboard, eased enough so backyard with a cigarette to look at the sky. Pull that the rattling and wheezing diminished, then the edges of her housecoat closer together, hold she would pull out the cards, because she still them with one fist, and hold the other hand with needed to watch; neither one of us could rest yet. the cigarette away from her body, the smoke We would play two-handed Euchre. Or double curling up into darkness, disappearing. After such solitaire. a break, she returned with a smile or a tilt of her eyebrow, a question about whether the breathing I continue on Stanton’s Trail, heading south. For had improved. She never fretted in front of me, much of this walk, I’ve followed a narrow trail remained calm and positive. through the forest, but now, as the trees begin to open around me, I anticipate the old logging The wide swath of the old logging road provides road, which should appear shortly, another left a chance to determine where I stand in relation fork ahead. to Patterson Gap Road, the road off which the Cove and Son House Studios are located, set A loud crackle sounds from the underbrush across apart from the larger Hambidge complex on the shallow ravine, and I turn in a circle, expecting the north side of Betty’s Creek and Betty’s Creek to see a bear, raising my cottage keychain cow Road. When I walked and even before that, drove bell. Instead, I see a tall, thin tree a couple the length of Patterson Gap Road, I missed the hundred yards away tilt and then fall, landing entrance to Jean’s Trail. As I study the map, a with a low, raspy crash and the ruffle of dried map revised just two months earlier, I see that leaves. I have never seen a tree fall in the middle I should be able to walk across Patterson Gap of the woods. I think about the old sound riddle; if Road from the logging road and head directly a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around into Jean’s Trail. No jags right or left. Yet when to hear it, does it make a sound? But you are here, I reach the pavement and look ahead, a dense my brain reminds me. You have listened. You have area of brush greets me. I refuse to accept heard. defeat, and I peer into the spaces between branches, searching for a marker. According to A wimpy, neophyte hiker, I’m afraid of confronting the map, Jean’s Trail doesn’t have a color marker a snake, or a bear, or a character from James associated with it. But I see, there in the brush, a Dickey’s Deliverance on the trail, yet my bit of orange fluorescent tape. exuberance trumps my novice-hiker status. I take such pleasure in hearing the wind flick at the That’s where I pick up Jean’s Trail. edges of the dead leaves, lifting them, allowing them to scrape against fallen trunks. As a silent, I cross the road and head into the brush, and grateful observer, I’m thankful for both silence almost immediately, I can hear the water. Just and sound. For the proof of existence, with all its those few feet in from the road. The pouring, existential possibilities. rushing force of water, falling from a distance. I just stand and listen. And then, I take a few steps I don’t know how my mother’s level of anxiety and I see the white froth in movement, behind the fluctuated when she watched me breathe through bushes. I try to work my iPhone camera to capture the night, but she never smoked in the house this first small fall for my family. It appears that during my asthma attacks. For intense attacks, Jean’s Trail heads back north, following both the ones which she woke my father, she might take road and the creek, eventually transporting me a break from watching me and go into the to Son House Studio, leaving me with just a brief 42