A Walk Along the Old Tracks
By Robert Kinsley
When I was young they had already been
abandoned for years
overgrown with sumac and sour apple,
the iron scrapped, the wood long
gone for other things.
In summer my father would send us along them
to fetch the cows from the back pasture,
a long walk to a far off place it seemed
for boys so young. Lost again for a moment
in that simple place,
I fling apples from a stick and look for snakes
in the gullies. There is
a music to the past, the sweet tones
of perfect octaves
even though we know it was never so.
My father had to sell the farm in that near perfect time
and once old Al Shott killed a six foot rattler on the tracks.
"And when the trolley was running" he said, "you could jump
her as she went by and ride all the way to Cleveland,
and oh," he said, "what a time you could have there."
Daniel went to work on his summer research project in the late morning, so after Adam played tennis with my dad, the rest of us had a late lunch, then went to pick apples at Homestead Farm after a stop at Michael's to get Adam a sketchbook for his photography class. We drove out a different way and got a bit lost -- practically to the county line and Sugarloaf Mountain -- but it was gorgeous out and some of the trees were showing early signs of fall, so it was a great day for a drive anyway.
We went to visit the animals at Homestead -- goats, pigs, chickens, and an older calf at this time of year -- before walking to the orchard behind the flower garden, which is full of bees, butterflies, and bright yellow finches. It smelled very good, though most of our favorite apples aren't ripe yet and the Empires looked like the worms got to them before we did. We looked at the peppers and squash and got some apple cider and eggplant in the farm store before we went to retrieve Daniel.
He took this photo of a finch in the flowers...
...and this one of me with messy hair!
The angle of my photo of the finch, taken with the little Nikon, isn't as interesting.
We didn't pick a lot of apples, just enough for a pie and some Rosh Hashanah food.
But we did go visit the chickens, some of whom were sitting on eggs...
...and the goats, for whom the store sells food to let kids feed them...
...and the piggies, who are just adorable.
We didn't watch much of the college football going on this weekend -- the two big local games are tomorrow, when Maryland plays Navy in Baltimore's Crab Bowl Classic, then Virginia Tech plays Boise State at FedEx Field, but we'll miss them both visiting my in-laws in Pennsylvania. We did watch the end of the Tulsa-East Carolina game, though, which interested me only because my second cousin Josie is a freshman at the latter...100 points scored, undecided till the final seconds!
Have a good Labor Day or a good Monday depending on where you are!