Steve Meador is the author of Throwing Percy from the Cherry Tree, a poetry book that was an entrant for a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. He is widely published in online and print journals. He has been a real estate broker since the early 1980s and currently lives and practices in the Tampa, FL, area.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who will take a walk with me? We will follow a fence line about two miles. The terrain is rough and diverse, with patches of thicket, soft sand, stubble and stone. At the end there is a stream, narrow enough to jump over. We will make the easy leap, turn right, continue along the bank. Within a hundred yards it converges with another stream; the result is a larger run which quickly widens to about fifteen feet.  It won’t be long, less than five minutes distance, at our brisk pace, before we hear the water tumbling over a small fall. It is by no means a roar or sound of significant turbulence, more of an active splashing, like a child in a tub. The falls has maybe a fifteen inch drop. Once there, the air will be full of a faint iron and sulfur odor. The aroma may not be appealing, to some, but it is where we will soak our feet. The cool will shrink the heat from our skin and the fatigue within. The magic of the minerals will refresh our bodies. There will be a surprising vigor wicked into us. We will feel younger. We will feel young.

While here, the only talk can be that of past times, of things that made each of us happy in those times. There can be no discussion of tarnish; a tainted tongue is turned to stone.  As the talk continues you might want to swish your warm fingers in the cool bubbles, play with the sand in the shallow. Some may wish to skip stones across the slick and calm that is downstream. Others may search for fossils. Even the leaf that floats by will become something; perhaps it will be the Argonauts returning home, the canoe of Lewis and Clark or the Monitor seeking the Merrimac. The mind grows young when that kind of conversation jingles in the air. It is contagious and easily caught. Soon, everyone hangs above this denominator, for a short time, in a cycle where memory begets imagination which begets deeper memory. No person is excluded from the transformation. Very little sun shoots through the canopy overhanging the falls, so, it darkens quickly when the sun moves to late afternoon. With reluctance we’ll prepare to leave. Our shoes lighter, our legs stronger, on the silent walk back. Ponce de Leon died before he could find this. We will gather on the path and agree that this will be our secret, this place.

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