Walking up Laurel Fork Road

The creek paralleling Laurel Fork Road (take a few weeks ago)

The sun drops below the hills.
It’s time to leave the broad waters of Laurel Fork
and follow the sounds of rushing water 
paralleling the muddy dirt road lined with mountain laurel. 

Reaching Hereford Road,
the mare in the pasture looks up from her hay
and gaits over to the fence. 
I rub her head and she presses tight against my hand,

but only for moment as the first stars appear. 
I lengthen my stride, 
and pass the intersection with Dusty Trail. 
I start the steep climb,   

following hairpin curves out of the darken hollow.
where shadows of bare tree limbs
illuminated by a waxing gibbous moon,
slouch across the road like arthritic fingers.

my attempt to capture a moon shadow

The afternoon wind has somewhat settled,
yet I hear the squeak of a widow maker in the woods,
and a truck in the distance, 
grinding gears as it climbs Highway 58

Halfway up, the enchanting sound of water
Setting out on a journey propelled by gravity, 
That begins in the hillside springs, and destined, eventually, 
for the Gulf, disappears. 

Then the road levels and the canopy opens
Bright Sirius of Canis Major appear high overhead, 
the dog of the winter sky, jumping with joy,  
as he follows his master, Orion, into spring. 

To the west, just a tinge of red remains of the fading day.
Along the horizon, the lights of homes perched on hills,
appear to twinkle like stars 
when watched through the trees while walking.

Picking up my pace,
I pass the Primitive Baptist Church,
the old one room school,
Bear Creek Road and the cemeteries. 

A few minutes later, I’m home.
Opening the door, into the light and warmth,
my own dog, despite nursing a sore leg,
jumps with joy. jg 2-23-2021 

28 Replies to “Walking up Laurel Fork Road”

  1. This is beautiful, Jeff, so anchored in a unique moment and time. I loved “the dog of the winter sky, jumping with joy.” Your poetic nature is what makes your travel prose compelling. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thank you, Louise. In a way, when in the early evening, Orion and Canis Major are above me, I know winter is about done and as spring approaches, they’ll be moving toward the western horizon.

  2. I look forward to your Saturday musings, Your photos are always picturesque .
    I went to church yesterday and enjoyed our interim pastors message. Of course we miss you always.
    I wondered why your dog had a sore leg. We lost our beloved lab Tucker before xmas and it was a traumatic event for the whole family especially since he was Thomas’ pet.To make a long story short Jon and I plan to travel to Tenn. to pick up his charcoal lab puppy he will name Woodrow in late May. He can’t replace Tucker
    but he will be greatly loved by all.
    Would love to hear how your wife and daughter are doing. Til next time…
    Take care,

    1. This dog has had operations on her back legs, but if we go out more more than a mile or two, she gets sore (as she did the day before this walk). We’re all well. I am sorry to hear about Tucker and know that tie to Thomas made his death especially hard. I miss y’all. Tell Jim hi!

    1. You know, in the winter when there are no leaves, you can hear things from a far distance away. I love winter paddling, but was always amazed that it often wasn’t a quiet as you’d think because without leaves to buffer the sound, you could hear cars and trucks miles away.

  3. Lovely, descriptive poem, Jeff. Charles and I enjoy your Saturday morning musings and you Sunday sermons. I’ll be glad when we feel comfortable returning. It shouldn’t be long since we have had our second Covid shot. Meanwhile, we feel blessed that you are so resourceful in reaching us.

    1. Glad you were able to get both shots and hope to see you soon in church, but be sure to take care of yourself and others. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Good effort on the moonshadow. They are my favorite part of winters here – pure magic and essentially impossible to do justice with a photograph. Only poetry and music might suffice.

    “Did it take long to find me?
    I asked the faithful light.
    Did it take long to find me,
    And are you gonna stay the night?”

    1. Another thing in winter, especially where it is colder than here, is how at night with moonlight, the snow will appear to have diamonds on the surface. It seems to best be witnessed with the temperatures at or below zero.

  5. You’re a minister and a poet. What a combination. I have never thought about moon shadows. Now, I’m going to look for those.

  6. You painted quite a picture with your words, Jeff. Thank you. I felt like I was there with you. I also think your attempt at capturing a moon shadow turned out pretty good.

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