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Tuesday, 23 June 2009


By Lyn Burnstine of The Lynamber Times

Stanley Kuniz wrote “I have walked through many lives, some of them my own.”
I, too, have walked through many lives–and many landscapes.
My childhood’s dual landscapes were the open fields – some flat, some gently undulating,
and the deciduous forests of southern Illinois.
Later, I got to know the open, flattened cornfields of central Illinois
where once stood vast reaches of waving prairie grasses.

I have adjusted to other landscapes:
live oaks draped with Spanish moss;
smelly crushed-oyster-shell side streets;
busy roadways; wild, rock-bound ocean shore;
suburban neighborhoods echoing with sounds of vigorous life; apartments full of noisy early-risers;
woods studded with the evergreens rare to my native landscape;
the blasphemous racket of motors and machines;
even a town that smelled of soybeans
and of the corn syrup that has made us fat.

Little did I know, in my childhood,
that the quiet, peaceful existence that translated then as boredom and loneliness,
was settling into the very synapses of my brain for all time,
a sense of place defining me as surely as did a genetic heritage, religious upbringing,
and family customs.

Little did I know that I would forever mourn the whippoorwill,
the bobwhite,
the hazelnuts in their prickly burrs alongside isolated country roads,
the tall, rustling corn,
the open sky, the far horizons in every direction, the blessed silence.

I have a deep love for my adopted landscape–
the beautiful Hudson Valley.
But at seventy-four, I finally have to admit
(as in the words of a clever song by Joel Magus)
that “ the verdict is in and the jury agrees”
and I am “Hopelessly Midwestern.”

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Thomas Wolfe had it wrong when he proclaimed "You can't go home again." In a sense, you never leave it no matter how far away you roam. Perhaps I should say, it never leaves you.

Lovely and well written. I think we remain forever the child of those early landscapes.

Way back in June when I posted this, I didn't notice the typo. Since I quoted someone's song lyrics, I feel that I should at least get his name right. My mind knew his name is Joel Mabus; my fingers evidently didn't! Sorry, Joel!

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