River of Regret


Somewhere on Pioneer Trail, in a quiet and wooded place; somewhere between Mantua and Ravenna, is a spring. There, at the side of the road, is a face of rock, stained red beneath from the iron-rich water that flows from a thin metal pipe. Lush wildflowers grow there: black-eyed Susan, daisies, sweet peas.

Whenever she took Pioneer Trail to transport her grandchildren to or from the hundred-acre farm she shared with her husband, my grandmother would pull her white Mustang to the side of the road. My sisters and I would scoot off the red vinyl seats and emerge to pick flowers to fashion into jewelry or to take home to wrap in a vase of wet paper towels and foil. After we drank our fill of the water, icy and fresh and thick with minerals, my grandmother would take two or three plastic milk jugs from the trunk and fill them at the spring.

This was my introduction to bottled water.


Years ago, my grandmother collected butterflies. When she trapped one, she would put it in a jar with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol. When its fluttering had ceased, she would mount the butterfly upon a board and affix a neat label beneath.

Some would say that was cruel.

Some would drink from plastic water bottles.

I spent hours studying those butterflies: The blues and the yellows and the blacks of the wings; the intricate patterns only nature could design.

My grandmother took us on long walks in the woods of my grandparents' farm, pointing out wild mushrooms and fungus and ferns. She took us fishing for crayfish and minnows beneath the bridge that spanned the west branch of the Mahoning River. And whenever birds hit one of the kitchen windows, Grandma would pick it up and put it in a shoebox until it was able to fly again.

Today, on the rare occasion that life takes me down Pioneer Trail between Mantua and Ravenna, there's a sign beside that spring: “Do not take water from the roadside.”

That's OK: Water bottles line the grocery store shelves.

We no longer need those springs.

We don't need the wildflowers growing alongside.

We don't need naturalists in love with nature teaching the next generation the ways of the earth.

Somewhere on the road between Mantua and Ravenna, a spring flows quiet and undisturbed.

And empty water bottles ride the stream into a river of regret.

~end~

For the Scriptic.org prompt exchange this week, Andrea at http://www.andreamiles.com gave me this prompt: Regret.

I gave Barb Black at http://blackinkpad.blogspot.comthis prompt: The fault belongs to all of us.




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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: River of Regret

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

River of Regret


Somewhere on Pioneer Trail, in a quiet and wooded place; somewhere between Mantua and Ravenna, is a spring. There, at the side of the road, is a face of rock, stained red beneath from the iron-rich water that flows from a thin metal pipe. Lush wildflowers grow there: black-eyed Susan, daisies, sweet peas.

Whenever she took Pioneer Trail to transport her grandchildren to or from the hundred-acre farm she shared with her husband, my grandmother would pull her white Mustang to the side of the road. My sisters and I would scoot off the red vinyl seats and emerge to pick flowers to fashion into jewelry or to take home to wrap in a vase of wet paper towels and foil. After we drank our fill of the water, icy and fresh and thick with minerals, my grandmother would take two or three plastic milk jugs from the trunk and fill them at the spring.

This was my introduction to bottled water.


Years ago, my grandmother collected butterflies. When she trapped one, she would put it in a jar with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol. When its fluttering had ceased, she would mount the butterfly upon a board and affix a neat label beneath.

Some would say that was cruel.

Some would drink from plastic water bottles.

I spent hours studying those butterflies: The blues and the yellows and the blacks of the wings; the intricate patterns only nature could design.

My grandmother took us on long walks in the woods of my grandparents' farm, pointing out wild mushrooms and fungus and ferns. She took us fishing for crayfish and minnows beneath the bridge that spanned the west branch of the Mahoning River. And whenever birds hit one of the kitchen windows, Grandma would pick it up and put it in a shoebox until it was able to fly again.

Today, on the rare occasion that life takes me down Pioneer Trail between Mantua and Ravenna, there's a sign beside that spring: “Do not take water from the roadside.”

That's OK: Water bottles line the grocery store shelves.

We no longer need those springs.

We don't need the wildflowers growing alongside.

We don't need naturalists in love with nature teaching the next generation the ways of the earth.

Somewhere on the road between Mantua and Ravenna, a spring flows quiet and undisturbed.

And empty water bottles ride the stream into a river of regret.

~end~

For the Scriptic.org prompt exchange this week, Andrea at http://www.andreamiles.com gave me this prompt: Regret.

I gave Barb Black at http://blackinkpad.blogspot.comthis prompt: The fault belongs to all of us.




Labels: ,

2 Comments:

At February 6, 2013 at 1:00 PM , Blogger Elisabeth Kinsey said...

Wonderful memories paralleled with the sad truth of irony - waste. I live in SD where we don't have recycling and feel this deeply.

 
At February 7, 2013 at 7:12 AM , Blogger j umbaugh said...

Liked this a lot.. and the contrast of past and present.

 

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