Sunday, January 15, 2006

From the Cave: Phonecall to Agnes

Agnes Phone-call

That’s going downhill. Dancing about in the glass. Going to a wake. How much more salt can they get on my shoes? Who’s pavement is this anyway? I’ll take the woods put my house in there. Shake my rattle plant the moose grass. Roll in my foundation stones, standing on the line and ready, squared, measured for the pit, dug in the grounds of the poplars whistling through the Balanese throats.

Mucky out. Move along…this space is taken, these roses grow, the birches on the lanes, those old ones near the back, my old friends, they’re all gone. The Bingo players, the square square dancers, the harbour rats, but they only called each other that. The serene sunsets and sunrises on that grand water, that roar, the haunting power of the earth, the mysteries of the tides, the timely gulls, the crotchety crows, the scratch of claws upon those rocks, the porcupine’s quill, the bobcat’s mark, the buck’s own trails back to the roots.

The seedlings spread, the maples weep, the owl’s head turns, his fluff and downy coat feathering of the draft of the neap, on the turn return to his own island, perhaps for the apples we took, from the wizened pioneer tree. I shed fenders and rusted away on the ground. The memories I kept the agreeable alders for the classic presence where they rightfully belong. A village not lost, not nearly yet. For what I could not cut I left for you.

If we shared the same trail through the forest of the world, would I see your footsteps from season to season, would I see or follow the old roads or the new. There are no old roads left to explore other than the ones in my own back yard. That would be the road. It used to be, in the silence of spring, along the rise, a house a lot older than 1928, near where a cherry tree grew, the peepers in the dew, the distant voice of a traveller could come ten kilometre and pass with the flash of a lantern, disappearing far into the quiet night. The veranda on the screen door would squeak its way open and closed like the turn of a shawl on the breezes of a squall. When the house grew darker than the sky of dusk. Holy water on the windows and on myself, before the first claps would echo from Grand Anse, where the sea grasses would whip, the ocean would roar the Chaleurs of spring and summer would fall the rain would come. It came and it went, the sun would dry away a century of work upon that hill. Where the family could join for roast veal or legs of lamb.

Everyone arrived virtually in state. The flags of the news and events of each town, would carry the talking of fifty people into the hours of the night, especially during cards. The creak would be all the Uncles and Albert out enjoying the summer evenings on the porch, collecting beer bottles and squirreling them away. Sparkly rocks, micas, quartzs, a whole pantry full of the latest batches of fresh preserved venisons, pates, and winter vegetables. Fresh eggs at every breakfast, hens hanging on for decades, beef cattle that came and went, Belgians in the paddocks, and on special occasions, a few old wagons. Trail riding before the Dumaresque’s barn burnt down. Basking on the tops of hay racks. Ski-doo trails to beat the band, and a little sugar shack for every point of the compass.

Not much work up there, but land on Miscou is still cheap. Lameque still has a few crabs. That whole coast has a nice charming air in the warmer months. There were not always coyotes. Neighbours used to move barns around to help each other out. They used to be cow people. They enjoyed working in Quebec when they could building houses that are still there. Some things don’t change much. Especially Guy Forest’s truck. There’s too much old Chev to go Japanese sometimes. Especially free Pontiacs.

No comments: