Life in the Holler…Once upon a Time…I’m like the old house standing there in the shadows at the edge of the woods. Time has taken it’s toll, left it’s mark. No one pays its much mind anymore. Now I’m a seasoned person, weathered by time. But “there was a time”. When I was a kid a lot of times I would hear old folks say “once upon a time” or “back when” or “there was a time”. I would listen intensity to what they were saying & try to harvest the wisdom that was there. Of course they were referring to yesterday, days gone by. I find myself saying that a lot today & I reminisce & wander back to different times. Young’ins today don’t see the value in it. Come set a spell & we’ll walk thru the holler a bit. “There once was a time” I walked pathless woods just to see what I could see. Seeking guidance, solitude for pondering remedies for life. I walked the creek searching for flints, hoping to visualize, to see remnants of a time long since gone. I plowed the fields, fell the timber & huened the beams. Stacked hay high in the barn loft. I still do these things but only in memory while setting on the porch. “There was a time” I walked from one end of the holler to the other looking for that lost pony. I was glad to find her & she was glad also as we walked back to the barn together with a new bond. I climbed to the top of the ridge just for some mistletoe for my wife. Helped a neighbor rise a barn. Now mind is falling down but I’m too proud. I stood at the forge & beat hot iron into hinges for the gates & barn doors, that sag now with time & drag the ground. I hear the ring of that anvil, feel the heat from the fire & the hammer vibrate in my hand now only while I stand & stare into the ashes of that old forge. “Once upon a time” there was fences & livestock in the pastures. Now only deer, turkey, cayotes & other wildlife roam the meadows. Honeysuckle & morning glories have taken the fences for their own. Critters with masked faces & white stripes down their backs & varments live in the barn now, stealing eggs & helping themselves to the cat food. “Yesterday” baby goats sucked from bottles I held in my hands. Ponies pushed & nudged for treats in my pockets. Pulled the handkerchief from my pocket & ran off. Dogs pointed as birds took to wing. Red shinning eyes watched from the tree tops in the lamp glow. All fond stories to tell from the rocker now if only someone would want to listen. “Yesterday” there was the sound of drums calling from a place far away from the holler. Things I didn’t want to know of or see. Friendships forged in fire & than gone forever, fair wells said. Memories not mentioned on the porch, but while alone in the silence pondered, still visited, faded with time but not gone. The strengths you have today were forged & hammered out yesterday. So are the aches & pains. “Yesterday” on bent knee I folded my hands & asked for guidance. I still do, somethings don’t have to change. Time is priceless & we don’t know how much of it we are given, some had so very little. Use it wisely, be kind. “In days gone by” the song of the whippoorwill echoed thru the holler, It still does, maybe its not about yesterday but a new dawning in the holler…Lame Turtle.