Like Mud…Almost

She had no idea, not a clue, although there were plenty of signs that something was amiss. For instance, why were things so difficult? Why did it take forever to get anything rolling? Why was there so much opposition to every move she made, every breath she took? 

“But it’s always been this way,” she would say when I nettled her. And she’d dismiss me like a fleeting thought. 

She was constantly examining the issues. “There’s got to be a way out of this,” she’d say. And when she’d say something like this I would perk up, like a deer hearing a sudden noise–all alert, listening, at the ready for action. Forever the optimist, I’d think, “maybe this time, she’s seeing the light–almost”. But always, always, she’d be overcome with opposition, points of contention, small though they were, but the pure volume, millions of them, held her back.

“I’m stuck here,” she said one day. “It’s like I’m moving through mud.” 

“That’s it, yes, you are exactly right–almost.” 

It took a pandemic before she noticed. Everything s-l-o-w-e-d down. The world ground to a halt. Don’t go out, stay at home, if you do go out, wash your hands, and for Pete’s sake, wear a fucking mask–cover your nose and mouth. No, no, don’t wear it on your chin.  That’s right pull that damn thing up over the parts of your face that breathe air in and breathe air out. 

She had time to notice, finally. It was like moving through mud. Actually it was quicksand. And the day she opened her eyes, she saw exactly where she was–in a pit of quicksand–sinking slowly. She reached forth her hand, globs of goo falling, plopping into the sand around her. And being the best of the best, golden light that I am, I reached forth too and pulled her out and set her free.

“Boy am I glad that’s over,” she said, shaking granules from herself, casting off everything that wasn’t purely, authentically her. 

© Glenda Kotchish

September 19, 2020

Virginia Piedmont

I’m in the piedmont but it feels like the mountains today. On the wooden fence, the honeysuckle is blooming still, ready for a deer tall enough to reach it and eat it for a snack. They will be by later–the deer–sometimes a herd of six or seven, sometimes just three–a doe and her two fawns. The fawns are losing their spots now and the doe’s coat is growing darker. Mid-September, the perfect time of the year here in Virginia. 

June and Waylin, the hound dogs are out. They are city dogs and have been kept inside all summer, on a leash for walks in the suburbs. A copperhead almost bit Waylin, in their backyard, up close and personal. Maybe the snakes are gone now and the hounds are allowed outside. The snake man was coming to treat the yard–whatever that means. It’s a jungle back there–a woodland tangle of growth–tall pines, a few hardwoods and lots of scrub brush. On my side of the fence, someone has clear out things but it wants to come back, ivy winding itself up the oat trees, Virginia Creeper smothering the shrubs. 

The dogs are barking now. Mountain hound dogs wouldn’t be making such a racket. If Waylin and June were mountain dogs, they’d be a little less frisky. They would be lazying around, napping under the porch, until the hunt is on–that is and then Katie bar the door. Mountain dogs would grab the snake and shake it good. I’ve seen two of hounds, one on each end, stretching a snake between them–in the country. 

But I’m in the Piedmont, in the suburbs of the city, old suburbs–almost forgotten, with creeks and lakes feeding into the river–sections of land that can’t be developed any further, perfect for the deer, rabbits, and squirrels. Here, garages are not attached, kitchens have not been updated with their shiny, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Bathrooms are small and closets hold a reasonable number of clothes. Perfect, or perfect enough if you can’t live in the mountains. Here I pretend on a cool September day, with the warm sun on my shoulders and the quiet of the outdoors, pretend that I’m up on the Blue Ridge. 

© Glenda Kotchish

September 16, 2020