|Appalachian native flame azalea|
At the top of the long grade,
through the rhododendrons and flame azalea
abloom in a bower,
I arrive at Grandmother’s side, yet once more.
“Depend on me,” she has been calling,
from many miles away.
I step nearer. Tears fall.
Not another soul appears, here where crowds have been.
I circumambulate Her, dragons in the air,
Star magnolias blooming.
I am here, I am here with Her.
At my little campsite, not a soul.
I fill my bottles with icy water and eat my lunch.
Not a soul but a big brown beetle in the bath.
I travel on to the church of the Lady,
Our Lady of the Hills,
and am blessed with the talk of the gardener,
the magenta blooms of rhododendron so high,
encircling the bell tower, chiming on “one.”
Inside, quiet, lights and candles, and it’s Spring!
On the kneeling pads, at the pulpit,
lily-of-the-valley, iris, rhododendron, phlox.
Our Lady’s church blooming inside and out.
She gives me Her shy glance, holding the child,
and She is saying, “from pain blooms love.”
And finally here, by my son’s bones
mockingbirds raucous with things to say twitter all around.
I leave Bridgid’s cross, an offering to the trees.
My toes revel in the sweetness of wild strawberries.
The cattle are out on the sacred mound,
under the apple tree,
new calves scampering to be with their moms.
Sweet the sun burns the scent into my being.
The flame azalea, bent by winter’s fierce storms,
reaches out to me in all shades of opening.
“Keep growing, Annelinde!”, they call.
“There is still more.”
May 25, 2011
Every year, I return to Grandmother Mountain, near Blowing Rock, where I remember my son. This poem is in my chapbook, "This Most Huge Yes."
|St. Mary of the Hills|