I was six years old when I first
heard her speak. Not old enough to understand, but able to
perceive a presence... an unseen
being, an awareness of a thing or being that wanted to speak, if
only I were able to hear.
We stood at the grave of a six year old
child, my Grandmother and I. Born July 4, 1868...
died 1874, it read. Her name was Mary. The little house
over the grave and the picket fence surrounding it showed the
years of neglect and nature's
pounding, yet stood like a gallant soldier protecting his post.
Here, deep in
the woods, a lonely forgotten family cemetery, and it held the
body of a six year old girl. I didnĎt know children died!
Thatís when I heard it. Or felt it.
Was it just curiosity about the girl; same age as me? Or was it
the land speaking to me? Were there untold stories here? Did
anyone else know or care about this little girl? I felt an
affinity with her. I wanted to know her. Why did she die?
Could I die too? Do children really die?
I have heard the land speak many times
since that day. It speaks of news of Appomattox and soldiers
and musket balls falling in a heap. It tells me of an Indian
girl and a white manís son who loved and laughed and could never
understand the breach of fear and hate that separated their
Down an old saw mill road deep in the
woods, a huge rock dam stands; each rock removed from the
cleared fields a hundred years ago or more. A beautiful English
rose blooms serendipitously. Oh, the stories that rose could
tell. A beautiful young girl leaving
her family and homeland forever, carefully clutches the rose
bush her mother gave her as she boards the ship with her new
husband to go to a new land.
A chimney of hand made brick stands as a
silent and lone reminder of a frontier home and the family that
struggled to survive there. Under a near-by grove of trees are
up-right rocks covered with moss marking the graves of the young
children who didnít survive.
can hear the land speak. It has much to say. It only needs an
ear... it is only silent when there is
no one to hear.