The Smell of Dirt

Farmal H Plowing (2)

There is nothing like fresh turned earth in Springtime

The beauty of long furrows stretching across green fields

Turned over by a three-bottom plow pulled by a Red Farmall tractor

Watching the grass disappear as shiny plow-points

dive deep under their roots

Giving earthworms a thrill ride as they blink in the light of day

Turning sod into mounds of shattered dirt and dangling roots

To bask in the sunshine drying slowly as the wind gently sips moisture

like water from a damp sponge lying on the washboard

But these are memories of days gone by… almost lost in time

Now, with no-till farming large planters twelve rows wide

Cross dry fields (previously sprayed with round-up to kill the green)

digging, fertilizing, planting and covering all in one fell swoop

In a few weeks the fields are green again full of new life

rising out of a graveyard of dead stubble and chemical residuals

Growing our food hoping the ppm in the soil doesn’t kill us

Photo: Dwight L. Roth (taken at Jimmy Dozier’s Plow Days – Rocky Mount, NC)

Today at d’Verse, Sarah asked us to consider the four elements, Fire Earth Water and Wind and choose one and write a poem about it. I chose the earth because I came from farming roots that go back generations.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Nature Rules

DSC_0986 (2)

Every year the weeds grow and flower producing an abundance of seeds that get scattered in many ways across the landscape. They are carried by wind, water, and  animals across vast areas. Even after forest fires new growth begins by the very next spring. We seem to think we have to take care of nature, but I believe we need to learn to survive with what nature decides to do!

Nature’s seeds flourish

Thousands wait for next big wind

Nature always wins

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

 

Shortness of Days

EER_0078 (2)

Fall brings coolness and shortness of days

Age brings awareness of life’s transient journey

I lose the invincible feeling of youth

replacing it with more time for contemplation

Lengthening shadows of night become clearer

now that I am counting time with a different clock

Reflecting on life changes // I wonder

“Will I be around in ten more years?”

“…or even next year?’

“What challenges will aging present?”

Covid-19 amplifies thoughts of life’s finality

Numbers of casualties rise and fall with the seasons

Questions of, “What if?” shadow my thoughts

Yet, life is to be lived rather than hidden away

So, until changes slow me down, I will press on

doing what makes me and others happy…

Using common sense, enjoying the blessings of life

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

The Climb… segments 8 & 9

image0019-2

Back home in Windy Gap, the sun was setting and George had not returned home. Since his wife had died three years earlier, he had live alone with his old hound dog, Blue. Like George, Old Blue had also seen his better years. He thought it best to leave old Blue at home for this trip.

Down at the end of the gravel lane, his neighbors the Clancy’s lived with their ten year old son Jim. Patrick and Nora were wonderful friends who looked out for George since his wife died. Nora took George hot meals from time to time and often invited him down to visit.

Patrick heard the roar of the old Dodge truck as George headed down the lane in the hours before sunup. George mentioned earlier that he was headed out hunting on Moonshine Ridge, hoping to come across the old buck that had eluded him the last several seasons.

George told Jim hunting stories and how he dreamed of getting one last trophy buck. Those who had seen the deer said it looked like he might have a rack with as many as fourteen points and weigh at least 200 pounds.

When Jim came in for supper that evening, he announced that George’s truck was not at the house and Old Blue was barking up a storm inside the house. With snow beginning to fall Patrick decided to go up and check on Old Blue and see if there was any sign that George might have returned home and left again.

*****

Patrick climbed up the steps to the porch and peered in the window. Nothing seemed disturbed as Old Blue jumped up at the window with a deep mournful wail. Jim found the key under the old crock on the porch and let himself in. Old Blue greeted him happily, jumping up on him trying to lick his face. Patrick left Old Blue run out in the yard to relive himself. He saw there was no water in Blue’s bucket and no food in his bowl. Very unusual for George not to tell anyone to feed Old Blue.

He went to the cupboard and took out the bag of dog food, pouring some into the food bowl. Blue eagerly gobbled it down crunching the hard bits between his teeth. Patrick added a little more and filled up his bucket from the old pitcher pump. Seeing the snow falling faster he had an uneasy feeling about what might have happened George in this extreme weather.

When George did not come home by 9:00 PM, Patrick knew something was wrong. He called the Sheriff’s office in River Bend, ten miles away. After telling the Sheriff what he knew about the situation, Sheriff Taylor said with the storm closing in, and with six inches already on the ground, there was no way they could send a search party into the mountain to look for George before morning. It would take four-wheeled-drive vehicles to make it back to Windy Gap. He told Patrick to meet him at the Sheriff’s office at 7:00 AM. They hoped George found shelter from the storm; otherwise, his chances of survival were very slim.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Earlier segments:  https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com/2021/08/18/the-climb-three-more-segments/

The Climb… segments 5-6-7

The Kill

EER_0595 (2)

I was watching a beautiful National Geographic show on the animals of Yellowstone. At one point two grizzly bears were fighting over the carcass of a dead elk at the edge of the river. As they pushed and shoved, the crows sitting on the limb nearby took advantage of the situation.

While the grizzlies fight

over who owns the carcass…

Crows will eat their fill

This is one of my early paintings, when I was just beginning to learn to paint several years ago.

Rooted in the Rocks

EER_0638 (2).JPG

Along the banks of the James River, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, we found this giant oak tree, standing seventy or more feet tall. It was obvious that over the years flood waters washed against the roots exposing them to the elements. The roots adapted by covering themselves with bark. But even more importantly, they embedded themselves between the layers of uplifted rock. As a result of these muscular roots, the tree has withstood the ravages of nature and still stands today!

Oak’s muscular roots

Flex against layers of stone

Branches reach the sky

*

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Posted on open link night at d’Verse Poets Pub

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

 

Harbinger of Things to Come

 

school doors at the end of the day! 001

There she was // big as life standing before us;
Pasted smile stretch under bright red lipstick.
What she said next was a clear harbinger
Of pending storms coming in with a rush.

“I know something about each one of you!”
“I plan to be around for a long time;
I don’t know about all the rest of you!”
Three bombshell statements from her and we knew…

Life under this school principal brought chains.
Vindictive // demanding //she made life hard;
We complained and fussed with no success;
Nothing remained the same // everything changed.

Half of us left // the rest weathered the storm;
She stayed a few years and then she was gone.

************************************************

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Survival

A cake just for me! 001

Changing principals was a very difficult transition for me during my 29 years teaching elementary school. One of my most loved principals died of cancer, followed by a principal who had just finished her Masters in Administration. It appeared to me that she was hired to clean house by the Central Office. She came in with an attitude, and after her first year most of our older teachers resigned. I finally crawled into my classroom hole and hibernated until she finally left for a year of study, and was replaced. The next principal was a really great administrator who supported us and was fair and balanced with everyone.

Snow Queen brings winter

Hibernate ‘till summer comes

Snow melts in sunshine

************

Relationships strain

An attitude adjustment

helped me through the heat

************

Today Merril, at d’Verse, asked us to write a Haibun sharing a transition we have experienced. Looking back, I am amazed I survived those years.

Join us at:  https://dversepoets.com

Photo of cake from my retirement party: Dwight L. Roth