Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Way It Was

Our neighbor's house this past Monday morning--it used to be the only house on the ridge, until we moved up here in 1975.

When we moved up on this ridge
It was so quiet that you could hear a truck coming
A mile or more away--
It was always trucks, no car would dare take on that rutted track--
And all of us would run
to the windows or out on the porch
To wait for it to come in view
And wonder who it was
And where they were going
And why

Might be the truck would turn into our road
we’d run to put on the coffee pot
add another log to the fire
We’d go out to meet them at the end of the walk
And go inside to talk and drink hot coffee
Until it was time for them to go

It might have started snowing
And they would laugh and gun their engine
the truck would slide off the road into the ditch
And we’d run to make more coffee
Add more potatoes to the stew
Get the sleeping bags and extra pillows ready

They would come back in the house
Stamping wet snow from wetter boots
Blaming each other for staying too long
And getting stuck in the drifting snow
But no one really cared
We’d make some popcorn and hot chocolate
And sit by the fire and tell stories

In the morning the snow would have stopped
And everything would be icy white
The tractor would be hard to start, but it always did and
We’d hitch up the blade
And plow the road, pull out the truck
They’d wave and drive up the snowy track
The sound of their truck muffled by cottony snow
We’d stand and listen as they wound their way
Across the ridge and down the hill
Until we couldn’t hear even a whisper

That they had ever been here at all

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