The old man, weathered by living, satisfied with
his dogs and his life.
Settled down in the rocking chair on the front
porch of his cabin,
and considered the fields in front and
beyond to the hills that are older than time
was when time began.
Place is important and the land is a sweet and good
friend he thought &
We who have been blessed with the heart of
this sweet land
know these things in ways the strangers do not.
They do not know of the births and deaths
that came and went right here through the time
of the Manahoac and their merry ways and
a million moons before
Gideon Brown took hold of these hollows.
Then, we were black and white.
And then it was the grey
and the blue and then…..
the red of the blood of our sons, in
a scarlet flood to the sea.
It will never be over. Nothing is ever over. Things
just continue to be like a young doe leaping the
split rail fence by the river that is ever alive ever ever
flowing down to the Bay and onward in an endless but
changeless rhythm of change.
Where Jacob Jenkins was shot by that bluebelly
sniper was right there, near the old mill where the
new Yankees are hustling ahead with their idea
of progress, joined by the scalawags out for the
new prestiges of vanity. The old man is not fooled by
the fools who are fooling themselves.
And in time it will all be gone except...
Except for the ghosts of Dixie, praying in the darkest
of midnights, praying for that which is buried
beneath the sad detritus of what the new Yankees
call benevolent progress.
“Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, All is Vanity.”
But we are not a vanity, saith the Ghosts. Leave us alone
in this bit of graceful, soft earth among these hard and timeless hills.
— By David Floyd Stephens