Monday, March 27, 2017

rooted in the mountains

Lucinda Oakley Ogle, my friend

my friend Lucinda lived life fully awake:
rooted in family and honoring the elders’ words
and how they did their best with their lives,
rooted in nature and honoring flowers and fruits,
and how the bear can be trouble in the family,
rooted in the past and the stories that need to be remembered,
rooted in the present and knowing you with love and presence,

Lucinda was a gem,
tumbled all about in mountain realities
where food and resource limited what could be,
the teachers sent into the Smokies 
by the sorority Pi Beta Phi
a literal godsend to her,
as who she was started to realize who she could be,

the gem revealed and sparkling,
like one of her beloved flowers in the spring,

I loved to visit her at her home with my students:
a place rooted in the earth, on the border of the national park,
her yard a garden for the plants she loved so much,
many trees, shrubs, and flowers named on little plaques,
each at home and telling you its story,
including the rare Franklinia tree,
 a favorite for U.T. students to visit,
a simple comfortable home of wood, of logs, wedded to the earth,
built by Lucinda and Earnest, her beloved husband,

on the concrete patio just outside her kitchen
she would welcome us,
regale us with stories,
and give the kids gingerbread men, telling us:
“Eat the head first: then it won’t suffer.”

on the patio her bird feeders called to her feathered friends,
sometimes bears answered, and her indignance
could have her out the kitchen door with a broom,
shooing them away,

a Taoist meditation I use
advises that those who get close to the Tao
“in their dwelling they love the earth,”

Lucinda loved the earth,
and rooted herself in the best,
after her death, her daughter sold the house for a million dollars,
the new owners did not love the earth
and destroyed house, yard, and garden,
they built one ugly condomenium,
seemed to have plans for more,
and today the place is a blight,

now Lucinda’s harmony is within those of us who knew her
and not in the part of the earth where her home once lived a rooted fullness.

by Henry H. Walker

March 24, ‘17

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