Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Never too old for imagination

  A stream of consciousness : my imagination

  History is always on my mind. I set my imagination up nearly wherever I go. When I get real quiet-like, and stare off into space, especially on a long car ride, you can bet I'm on a high imagination kick. I drive past that parking garage downtown and I'm imagining my ancestor's old blacksmith shop that used to be on that very piece of land: the musty dark shadowy shop, the air filled with sparks and powder, light sifting in through the cracks in the roof. The Mulry blacksmith shop.
  Then there was the time we went for a canoe ride on the White River around Strawtown. Strawtown is barely a split second on SR 37, but back in the 1800s it was a bustling river town, a hot spot for trade with the Indians.  My own ancestor was killed there in the infamous "Strawtown Massacre." So of course I was imagining myself in a dugout canoe, rowing up the river with my beaverpelts piled high, ready to make a big sale with the settlers. I imagined the river bustling with boats, and old Shintapper diggin his paddle in the river hard tryin to get away. He was, after all, the old swindler who caused that massacre. http://www.cemeteries-madison-co-in.com/stonycreek_twp.htm
  My favorite, though, is imagining myself in a dense wood, its floor teeming with bramble and berry bushes, standing outside a rough log cabin. There's a large garden, overflowing with good things to eat, especially after I swapped some good seeds with the ladies in church. I imagine myself having a conversation with my ancestor Almira. She was a daughter of some of the first pioneers in Indiana, married "a farmer boy, son of a poor widow." She canned up gallon upon gallon of blackberry preserves right out of the forest. This log cabin has only one window, and its glass was hard to come by. Little fingers smudge its panes, and inside the fire crackles and pops, a hearty stew bubbling away above it. The spider sits in the coals, and cornpone waits to be made.  People are always stoppin' by, swappin' stories and tall tales, superstitions and songs.
  Then I snap back to reality. My daughter is calling my name, my dogs are barking, my canoe runs into a rock. But then I look back towards the trees, and my dream is back again.

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