The Cusp

the cusp

“a point of transition between two different states”…

i feel it in myself
along with the first falling leaves
from the sycamores and poplars…
and the desiccated brown umbels
of Queen Anne’s lace

i hear it in the shrill cicada song
as it’s tireless droning
runs through my head…
and in the plop of acorns as they begin to hit the ground

i see it in the shrunken creek beds
that lie lazy and shallow…
and in the trees and grass
that have lost all their luster

i hear it in the rustle of corn stalks
once emerald green,
now parched and thirsty across
a rain-starved land

for everything has a season…
a time to be on the cusp…
a point of transition
from one state to the next

and i felt it
as it began
with the drifting down
of that first, tired, rusted leaf…

Written by: Sylvia L. Mattingly
September 6, 2019

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Crooked Creek Rd.

Recently my youngest daughter and I took a drive down Crooked Creek Rd. The road winds along sticking pretty close to the creek by the same name. I’m sure I bored Allison silly with all my stories about things that had taken place here or there along the way back when this was a gravel road. It’s funny how things change in reality versus in our memories. I was shocked to see the small wood and iron bridge pictured here.

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Photo by Allison Puckett

In my mind this bridge was huge, its sides were at least three stories high and the length over the creek surely could hold as many as four cars. Crossing this bridge and hearing the rumble of the wooden planks was the thing I looked forward to as a child when we’d make the trip from Gee to Mt. Eden. The trip seemed long. It wasn’t. The bridge seemed gigantic. It isn’t.

I wonder about another memory I have. Once a bakery truck wrecked on this bridge and strew doughnuts all over the road! It was an amazing sight. Such a tragic waste. Did it really happen? Now I wonder, but I can see it all in my mind.

“I believe that without memories there is no life and that our memories should be of happy times.” Lee Radziwill

Birthplace

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Our House on Crooked Creek

When I was little I was fond of saying that I was “born on Crooked Creek,” much to my mother’s chagrin. She told me that it didn’t sound right, so I reconstructed the sentence and started saying I was “born down on Crooked Creek.” but I didn’t notice Mom’s expression improving.

When I was in second grade, we moved to town, the metropolis of Taylorsville, KY, population something like 650, and that’s when I thought I had figured out the problem. There I learned that most of my new friends had been born in a hospital, not at home, as I had. For some reason I was sure that my Mom was embarrassed about not giving birth to my older brother and me in a proper environment. I didn’t know why she was so worried about that when there were other, more important, differences to be concerned about. I decided to keep very quiet about our not having a bathroom or running water back there in Anderson County.

One day, not long after moving, someone from the First Baptist Church visited to invite us to worship services. I knew a lot about church, having already been baptized and all, and I knew this visitor was very important to my Mom, so I was on my best behavior. I was pretty nervous, wanting to impress this man wearing a suit and neck-tie on a weekday, so that my Mom would be proud. Finally he turned his attention to me and asked that perfunctory question people ask of children, how old was I? For some reason, instead of answering with one simple word, I felt the need to blurt out, accurately I might add, that I was born eight years ago down “on Crooked Creek Road.” 

Mom always worried about what people would think, but it was a long time before I learned that her embarrassment had nothing to do with giving birth at home, but rather in a creek or on the road.

 

My Mom (Minnie)
My Mom