Men, Prayer, Politics, Horses, Detroit
Seems now, in the fifth decade, if it is familiar in any way, I move toward it. I call it relapsing. When is that pivot point in one’s life where you slow down on the new and sniff out the known? I think I hit that point, strange as it may be. Those early childhood imprints, markers, visible again. Simplicity. Bucky. Protest. Questions, poetry and pride.
Early December 2016, I accepted a job in Ohio. O-hi-o. Fly over country. Flat. A place I drove through, never to. Strange.
I spent some time here, in the ‘shoulder seasons’ as I roamed south to north with horses, then north to south, with horses. Stayed in a flat place on the west side of the state, marked with tiled fields and borrow pits. Tidy yards, grain elevators and the orderly landscapes of Germanic roots. There was a reliable peace, a steadiness to life that gave me a farmers nod as I passed.
After six months navigating my new terrain, I took a four day weekend. Caught up with the details one puts aside when horses and job consume all waking and most sleeping hours.
Made up my mind to day trip, a respite. Top on my list was Yellow Springs. The locale had crisscrossed my path from afar for decades, being the academic root of one of my ex’s. The influence of a place I have never experienced in my life, through another who has, is profound. Something to pay attention to. Politics. Justice. Midwest bearings. Humility.
I did chores and worked horses early, cleaned up, let the dog out one last time and pointed the pickup West.
Fifty minutes later, I passed a dairy that had embraced agri-tourism decades ago. Jersey cows and jump tents for kids. O-hi-O.
Then…I drove under a banner stretched across the main road into Yellow Springs. It displayed one word;
K I N D N E S S
It was yellow. Of course.
I forgot everything else, smiled, exhaled and drove on in.
Parked at the top end of Main Street. Walked back through, stopping to smell the doorway of a bakery, note the hours of the bookstore and smile at a gentleman with a coffee in his hand and a destination in his eyes.
Took a hard right, back into an alley shop, a labyrinth of retail, consignment, new and who knew. Met my first friend in Yellow Springs: Flower was her name. Of course. She talked of Columbus and places there I had not found yet. We agreed to rendezvous, so she could show me my new home. A pretzel moment.
Two more blocks, the smell of bread reeled me in. Two loaves and out. A vege sandwich to go, a dress on sale from the South American importer closing shop back by the farmers market.
I had to find the College. And the stables.
Antioch was easy to find….and sad. Until I looked closer.
Resolved: it is ok to let the lawn go.
I found the stable, launched in the 60’s, now a therapeutic riding academy, a haven for children and horses. Then along Hyde Road, a whisper of hills in the distance.
Into Glen Helen. Haunted. A gift. A symphony, mid-summer.
Back to campus to find a trail of people carrying mops into a building. A row of aged camper vans, curtains drawn parked in front of an Admin building. A parking lot for 30 cars, held tight by four, dust covered and abandoned for the summer.
A young man in a white shirt and tie walked between buildings, carrying a recruitment poster, looking earnest.
I obeyed a STOP sign. Edited to read ‘STOP Trump – All Ways’.
Back into town, the prominent corner at the north end was commandeered by elderly with signs, carrying on a protest demanding peace, love and that word again, kindness. They waved. I waved. We knew each other. We all know each other, when the heart is just.
Exiting the far end of town, I pulled away, noting the bookend banner: K I N D N E S S.
For going on 25 years now I have carried a tattered rendering of the home I will build. I rediscover it often as I move, organise and move again. When I look at it, I see the views from each elevation. It is mountains, eastern mountains. Water can be heard, running full on. I add a touch to it and pack it away until the next reveal.
Years go by. Stops come and go. But never have I found the place where that rendering sits in real time.
Next week I shall travel through the Blue Ridge…looking.
Then, when time allows, perhaps I will venture back to Yellow Springs. A flirt, wondering if the wink will become a nod.
© 2017 Nancy Kotting All rights reserved Reproduction by Permission Only