Mississippi Dreaming

I dream of ancient oak trees,
trunks wider than
yours and my arms out-stretched,
branches towering above us
hosting a chorus of bird calls
that sail along the thick, Southern breeze.

I dream of springs bubbling up
and flowing along
the forest floor,
banks matted with fallen leaves,
flowing into creeks,
then streams,
then into rivers bound for the gulf.

I dream of the black bear
returning once again
to nibble on berries
nestled in blackberry bramble,
of the fallen fruit of the wild persimmon,
sleeping in the the shade,
belly swollen with foods foraged,
grasses neatly hugging its body.

I dream of passionflower vines
crawling up and in between
trunks and branches,
budding into
a dramatic display
of purple petals and whiskers,
withering to ripen into
tart and tangy fruit
the size of a hen’s egg.

I dream of sitting with you
on the front porch
sipping muscadine wine
as the fireflies begin to glow;
at dusk, frogs bellow to beckon
the moon’s nightly appearance.

I dream of digging my hands
into the soil again
to pull up sweet potatoes,
to pull up peanuts,
the sweet smell
of sassafras root tea
simmering on the stove for me
after a hard days work.

I dream of the tender shoots of Spring,
when the Winter-like slumber in the South
will melt, thawing our memories
and we will awaken
healed from our past
and emboldened by the tenderness of the land
that has held us for so long.

What has separated us
from this goodness?
And, when will this
be no more?

I dream of all these things
because of Beauty
what I have come to know of her —
well, she will accept no less
from me
than to dream of this
true wealth,
of this love that patiently waits
for us to remember.

*Being back in Mississippi has all kinds of emotions stirring within me. So, I have spent much of this week walking through parks and my family’s land. There is so much to say about this landscape and finding the right words is a task. I only hope to bring the longing of the land to the surface…its desire to be admired, connected with, and honored once again.

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