>the leavings

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On the way to a small family reunion in the mountains between the east and west divide, my father shared his stories. I rode shotgun. Stage coaches once clipped along this very valley, did I know, my father asked. Any steep inclines or sharp turns were suspect for hidden stage coach robbers. The man who sat next to the driver carried a gun, making him the first target should the stage coach be robbed.
I tell you this and hope you feel the bumps in the road, feel the sway and the heat of the stage coach.
Actually we were traveling in my father’s van to a reunion in which he would represent the last of his generation.
We drove through Sun River’s valley. Nowadays we speak of landing sites when we think of river boats and water. I wanted to think, instead, of canoes and rowboats, ripples and sloshing water. He spoke instead of having recently learned that whereever boat met shore in the river’s valley, people from the late 1800’s referred to those spots as the leavings.
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About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit and YB Poetry Journal. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

8 responses to “>the leavings

  1. >What beautiful country. I was in Montana once in the middle of February, in the middle of a wicked snowstorm. We had to stay in a motel outside of a small town because the road was a whiteout. One day I would love to travel through in the spring, summer or fall. I like the big sky! Sometimes we have too many trees here to see the sky…

  2. >How beautiful. That thistle must be all over the west. On my last big hike, I saw a horse eating the prickly thing. Ouch.

  3. >The last of his generation…I trust you hold much of his knowledge, as mentioned in this post. Those people and their words, however long gone, still claim much of the space within us.

  4. >hi kerry,do you remember which town? i especially like autumn here- the light is softer, the temperatures are mild. but most of the time, we can expect some sort of snow storm any month except maybe july or august. however, if we scroll back to the early july posts i did, there are photos of a road trip across some tundra. that particular road was closed two days after we drove across it because of a snow storm. hi kass,oh ouch! a cattle rancher friend of mine was telling me that if his cattle eat too much of it, they get seriously sick. at the time, i thought "what animal would even think to eat it"…hi marylinn,your comments give me so much more to consider. this was on my mind, this trip- that my generation was receiving the baton of all that knowledge (and…were we worthy? were we ready?) and yet, i see in my own kids and their cousins that a sense of who we are and all the stories we've shared over the decades have reached into this new generation afterall. that must mean my generation may hold much of that knowledge afterall. you said it so beautifully.

  5. >Wherever boat met shore, a spot for leaving. I love that concept, that piece of information your father shared, and you've shared with us.

  6. >hi annie,oh it's good to hear you like the notion of leavings. living *out west* we grew up on stories of pioneers coming out here, but so little was mentioned about those going back.

  7. >Beautiful story…I especially like the shot of the windy gravel road, and how it suddenly disappears in the distance.

  8. >I used to hang onto my grandmothers words to find out what her life was like when she lived through two world wars. she said: "Don't look back, look forward. And eat your food."Not sharing what she thought was not worth revisiting made me feel like I was robbed of something important. How to find balance…

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