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Monday, 02 November 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-six, I finally have to admit
(as in the words of a clever song by Joel Mabus)
that “ the verdict is in and the jury agrees”
and I am “Hopelessly Midwestern.


[INVITATION: 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


Lyn - Beautifully written. Spectacularly photographed. _ Sandy

Thanks and thanks. I'm beginning to get the sense that people don't respond to poetry on line as much as to prose. In my books it's the opposite. Strange. Anyway I write far more prose than poetry.

Your sky photo is outstanding and the purple against the green leaves is beautiful.

I think our childhood home defines us no matter how many other areas we may live in. Mine was the beautiful Rockies in Colorado and I will always be hopelessly a mountain gal.

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