the sawmill


Songs sing through the radio or through the chimes hanging outside my bedroom window, and tell me there will always be things I will never know. It’s not possible to take it all in. Not in one lifetime. Last week, driving my same daily route to my day job, I drove past the elementary school in the old part of town. For how long now has the new addition been being built next to the original one-hundred-year old brick school building? The blue-tarped chain link fence keeps us from watching, but I found if I parked in the Road Closed to Through Traffic portion of the neighborhood I could watch the scaffolded brick mason methodically add a thick layer of brick to the plywood exterior. Since that day when I was late for work because I stopped to watch the mason, I have been moving through my world once again reminded we live in a world of many layers.

This photo was taken near Judith Gap, Montana en route between Montana’s two biggest cities. Both cities were enjoying regular spring weather, nothing that would cause a weather alert to flash across your smart phone. Neither city was aware that there was a weather disturbance halfway between them. But we were aware a front was building as we packed for the return home. Could we get through Judith Gap and its dinosauric wind farm before the front did?

If you were to drive through Judith Gap, you’d wonder just as we do why that town is where it is. And there is (there was) a small lumber mill there. Not a tree in sight beyond the few hardy cottonwoods that homesteaders planted in the early 1900s. Why the town, why the lumber mill in the middle of a high prairie? But on a windless day you can see all four corners of that world. And each corner is pinned down by a set of forest-laden mountains. It’s just that you are never aware of the mountains when you pass through this town. Until you see the sawmill.


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website:

4 responses to “the sawmill

  1. Mary MacGowan

    The beauty of your writing and ideas breaks my heart wide open every time I read you.

    Isn’t there an old saying or rhyme about the see and the saw? Or am I thinking about the fly and the flue? See the sawmill got me going!

  2. how soft the morning, to wake to this, sighing

  3. This teaches me, that through words a person can squeeze a quart into a pint pot, in fact the universe perhaps. Wonderful.

  4. Finding the right spot, to peek through the shrouded fence or see through the rarely-thinning veil – you do know where to look. And how to tell us what you’ve found. Recognizing that this is bound to that is a skill akin to conjuring. You bring the pieces together so we become aware, if even for a moment, of the whole. xo

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