Saturday, July 22, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle


It must be the deepest cold of winter. You choose
the rock you want to cut, and tie a piece of
old-fashioned clothesline around the exact line you
want the stone to split. Then you set the line afire
and the stone cracks in the cold air. Tap it with a
hammer and the stone splits apart. My friend tells
me this story as she talks of her life with a stonemason,
crafter of walls and gardens and fountains. It's easy,
she says.

Sometimes I feel as though I must split myself--cut into
the core of me and divide into two or even four pieces,
so that I can be among all those people and places I love.
The lands call to me, each with their own song.

The beauty of the Southwest, with it's mountains and
canyons and vast pineforests has settled deep into my
heart. My life is there, the man who has loved me all
these years; one of my children--a son and his children.
But the drought in the West parches me, in body and soul.

When we moved there the first time, back in the 70's, it
was only for a little while. I was eager to return sixteen
years ago. I didn't reckon on the rain. I miss it terribly,
didn't know how I would miss the colors of deciduous trees,
the softness of the air, the land that is my blood and bones.
The land shaped me as I grew in my mother's womb.
The great rivers are the arteries that formed me; the wheat
and corn my mother ate grew me tall.

I was born in Ohio--just up the road from where Tecumseh,
the great Indian leader, was born on the night of a shooting star.
As a child I read about him, fascinated by the fact that he
probably roamed the same lands that I did, looking for
arrowheads in the freshly plowed fields. Found one when
I was grown, in the hills of southern Uh-hi-ya, as the Indians
and old-timers called it--a beautifully crafted ebony spear point.

I have a daughter here in the Midwest, and two grandsons. My
parents and my ancestors are buried here. This place of my roots
calls to me stronger each day. How can I divide myself?

It's not easy.

- mimi


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