Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stop the World


STOP THE WORLD

Lost in my soul,
locked far away,
is the little girl I once was.
What happened?
Where did she go?
Long flowing hair,
sparkling blue eyes,
wide glorious smile;
all have been replaced
with gloomy reflections of a tired shadow.
Everything to live for,
on the outside, the perfect life;
on the inside, war torn damage.
Stop the world,
let me get off,
I don't want this any more.
Hurting,
cut to the quick,
drowning in unnamed fear.
Look what's happening at the Lexington Arboretum: http://ping.fm/oYJ7N

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bearded Iris are starting to come up all across the Bluegrass: http://ping.fm/JNMwg

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Daffodils are spring up all over the Bluegrass: http://ping.fm/4Ccyt

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I've forgotten how to hope,
I've forgotten how to be
happy,
smile,
laugh.
I can't break free
from this constricting fear
that is consuming my life.
Panic descends
and rips everything I've ever known
from the even keel I seek.
Rapid breathing, speeding heart,
skin draped in a cold sheen,
threatening with an aura
of out of control thoughts.
I long for peace and quiet
from the chattering voices in my head ...
not good enough
get it over with
run and hide.
I long for the manic
to chase away this depression;
I long for relief,
long for calm
for stability
normalcy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Dream of My Past

(This non-fiction essay appears in the Spring 2010 Issue of New Southerner magazine)

I DREAM OF MY PAST


I didn’t grow up in the country, but I also didn’t grow up in a big city. My cozy hometown of Harrodsburg is basically a tourist town—the oldest settlement in Kentucky. My first memories are of the home we lived in on the outskirts of town, the last house in a row of 15 or so that faced the major highway running through our county. Highway 127 has its roots in several states, and it is still the easiest route to take when visiting our historic town.

My father is the son of a farmer, the baby in a brood of eight, although there were actually two babies because daddy has a twin sister; in total, five girls and three boys. I can remember my grandparents' farm down in Bohon, a tiny subsection of Mercer County, as the hub of activity for family get-togethers. Our family raised tobacco on this farm. I don’t remember much about it, although I have memories of hanging out in the tobacco fields during the summer and the stripping room in the winter.

The barns were one of my favorite attractions on the farm because there were so many things to see. There was hay to make nice cozy beds for catching a cat nap. There were stalls, doors and windows and all kinds of gadgets and gizmos. But I think the real appeal was being able to climb up into the rafters. Inching up into the hayloft by way of a rickety ladder, then shimming up a support post by notching bare toes in wooden knots, I would walk across the rafters with arms stretched wide, pretending to be an acrobat on a high wire. You can bet, I got my fair share of spankings and scoldings because of my antics in the barn, but at the time it was worth it to feel as one with the farm.

Granny was like most country farmwives. She kept a huge garden and canned and preserved food all during the growing season. Although I loved all the outbuildings on the farm, the root cellar was one place I was a little afraid of. Not only was it dark down under the ground, but the cold, musty air gave me an uncomfortable feeling and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. There was a light hanging from the ceiling, and you had to be all the way to the bottom of the steps to be able to pull the cotton string.

Bathed in the light of a single, bare light bulb, the fruits of Granny’s labor lay before you. Jar after glistening jar of green beans, corn, tomatoes and tomato juice, hominy, dill pickles, beet pickles and bread and butter pickles—all sat waiting for winter consumption. There were jellies, jams and preserves from blackberries, raspberries and gooseberries. Potatoes were gently layered in shallow wooden crates and covered with old newspaper for a long winter’s nap. Apples and pears were wrapped in butcher paper, which would turn their skins translucent and super sweet by mid-winter. Onion and garlic braids would hang from hooks, as well as herbs like sage, thyme and dill. Every nook and cranny of Granny’s root cellar would be stocked with essentials for the family to eat throughout the coming cold months.

The smoke house was another outbuilding on the farm I enjoyed. I don’t remember my grandparents curing meats in the smoke house—it was empty in the spring and early summer—but the lingering smell of the season's ham and bacon gave no doubt to what this building was used for.

The outbuildings on the farm were props for my overly active imagination. One of my greatest daydreams was of being a horse owner, and my grandparents' farm made the perfect backdrop for this fantasy. In my head, I had a stable full of pretty, prancing ponies, most of them emulating horses from my favorite television series, Fury. I thought Fury was the best horse in the world, and I wanted one just like him. While Granny’s flowerbeds were my horse corrals, the smoke house was my stable and the front yard was my race course.

I raced around the farm holding tightly to Fury’s reins and digging my knees into his pretend sides to make him gallop faster. In actuality I was astride a well-worn tobacco stick, clutching the top for the reins and trailing the bottom behind me. Round and round the house we would go, circling the huge oak tree in the front yard, flying past the persimmon tree and galloping along the peony ridge. Occasionally, I would tie a jump rope to my stick to use as reins or bridle, but this was not a necessity for my eager muse to work.

Oftentimes, I pretended to be crippled and would use two tobacco sticks to hobble around from one area of the farm to another. I liked to think I was famous for being an excellent horseback rider, even though I couldn’t walk without crutches. I have no idea where this fantasy came from, but on my grandparents' farm, no daydreams were off limits. I was always swooping in and saving the day at the last minute. I was the answer to everyone’s prayers—at least in my imagination.

Back before there was recycling, my grandparents burned all their garbage. Paper boxes, milk cartons, tin cans and all other kitchen waste that couldn’t be composted was put in the barrel and set on fire. I used to enjoy standing beside Granny or Granddaddy as they poked the embers in an old rusty barrel. I have a fear of fire now, but as I child I enjoyed watching the hungry flames devouring all the goodies with nothing else on its mind but total consumption.

Kitchen and garden waste was recycled in a compost heap near the garden. Granny kept an old galvanized bucket on her kitchen cabinet, and every vegetable peel, fruit seed, egg shell, coffee ground or leftover food scrap–with the exception of meat–was placed in the bucket and eventually emptied into the compost heap. Granny’s vegetables and flowers always grew huge and beautiful, and I think it was partly due to the fact that she tended her plants well and smothered them in compost.

Granddaddy loved to hunt and fish, and he kept the farm deep-freeze full of tasty meats. There were also hogs to slaughter in the fall for crispy bacon and tangy sausage. Chickens were an occasional meat treat, but most of the laying hens were just used for egg production.

How have we come so far from the family farm? Sadly, many children today think all their food comes from a grocery store. They don’t know vegetables grow in the dirt, chickens lay eggs and cows produce milk. Even a half century ago, most families were self-sufficient like my grandparents. Where did it all go wrong?

I long for the slower days of my past, the sparkling memories of my childhood. I want to recapture the life my grandparents knew so well, to provide for my family with the fruits of my labor. I crave a simpler pace, a slower time, when work was appreciated and dreams were nurtured. I dream of my past.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bobbi Dawn Rightmyer is a lifelong resident of historic Harrodsburg, Kentucky, where she lives with her husband and three grown daughters. She has been writing since the age of 11 and has been published in various publications since 1996.


Editor's Note: This essay was a finalist in the 2009 New Southerner Literary Contest.

I Dream of My Past





I'm so excited! The essay I wrote for New Southerner Magazine - I Dream of My Past - was published yesterday. This essay was a finalist in the 2009 Literary Contest. Click on the New Southerner link to read.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Crashes


SPRING CRASHES

Spring days should be
daffodils, budding trees and greening grass;
not twisted metal, glass and broken lives.

Spring days should be
the scent of freshly mowed grass and rain;
not burning rubber and oil.

Spring days should be
birds chirping and wind rustling the trees;
not sirens, screams and helicopters blades.

Spring days should be
warming breezes and sunshine kisses;
not weakening pulses and broken skin.

Spring days should be
the taste of sun and upcoming warmth;
not the taste of blood and death.
Spring time means - Asparagus: http://ping.fm/HJAeq

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Beast


THE BEAST

Beasts or beasties
what does it mean
to be a lowely creature?
Some beasts are brutes
like local yokels,
some are more barbaric,
and some can just be harmless rascals
clods that have no bite.
But the Prince of Darkness sends the air
of a cruel and hideous beast,
Satan, Diablo, Beelzebub just proper names
while fiend, imp and ogre appear more tame,
monster, hellion, fallen angel
they all paint the picture
of the Devil himself
the biggest beastie from hell.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Crocus herald in spring: http://ping.fm/3yq88

Tree of Life

(Photo by Brett Trafford)


TREE OF LIFE


Standing alone
in a wide, open field,
I feel at one with the universe.
Not beautiful, but pretty in my own right,
I have weathered many storms
and yet I remain myself.
Wisdom is not lacking,
but occasionally the self-esteem crumples.
Though many have climbed and crept,
weighing down my limbs,
I bear them all with strength and humility.

Shadows of Illusion


SHADOWS OF ILLUSION

Shadows are real

but not concrete.

Shadows reveal a side

not often shown to the world.

Shadows can lurk

and not be seen on cloudy days.

Shadows are optical illusions

tricking even the seasoned eye.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Anxiety Drowning


(Photo copyright Deviant Art)


ANXIETY DROWNING

Wide open spaces
room for all to roam,
if not for the overwhelming fear
crushing in on me.
Vast areas suddenly feel small
as the last drop of air
is sucked away,
leaving palpitations
a a sheen of cold sweat.
Insides shake and quake
as the id and super ego
all pray for the same ...
get away ...
run ...
to be done with it all.
Will no one help?
Doesn't anyone else feel
the anxiety and fear?
Deep breaths, repeated mantra
helpmehelpmehelpme,
give an illusion of self-composure
but pedaling like hell under the surface;
too many people,
Not enough air to breath,
drowning in plain sight.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Part #4 of building a backyard wildlife habitat: http://ping.fm/TSLiZ

Monday, March 1, 2010

Deerloaf


This is the recipe I've submitted for Kentucky Monthly's Recipe Contest:

Deerloaf

-one pound ground deerburger
-one envelope onion soup mix
-one fresh egg
-1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper; any color
-1/4 cup chopped onion
-1/2 ketsup, or 1/4 cup tomato paste with 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp sugar
-one cup dried stuffing mix or dried bread crumbs
-2 tsp fresh sage, chopped finely, or 1 tsp dried sage
-3 TBSP water
-salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, expect a few teaspoons of ketsup, and mix well – the water is added for moisture because deer meat is very lean and can dry out during cooking. Press mixture into a well oiled loaf pan and spread remaining ketsup on top. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 45 minutes. Remove foil from pan and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes. Allow loaf to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 6 generous servings.

This recipe is a new twist on the classic meatloaf recipe. It is best when using Kentucky fresh produce from local Farmer’s Markets. Deer meat is readily available during the fall hunting season.