Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rock Bottom or Bedrock

Hitting a rocky bottom, I cut my knees, bruised my arms, banged my head then cried in my father's arms.

I was only six.

When the bleeding stopped we walked back over that rocky land, kicking stones till they hurt our toes, almost laughing, almost crying. "Don't let those rocks hurt you, Tizzy. Every time you fall pick yourself up and start walking."

How did he know that I'd hit rock bottom again and again?

I needed to talk to him recently.  I wanted to show him, that in spite of all of my scars from falling, I could still laugh, but our father didn't hear me. I cried longer and louder than usual and even threw a rock towards heaven. In the wind I thought I heard a voice, "Close." I wanted to laugh, but I couldn't. 

Days passed, I ached, but couldn't laugh.

Friends led me home to Miami. We placed flowers on the
MHS Class of 65 friends.
cemetery, and knots welled up inside as I tried to suppress the tears. We drove by the farm breathing in the fresh spring air, absorbing the energy of the land, the grass, and the flowing streams.

As last we drove to the land where I grew up.  The skies were gray as Jack and I walked through the tall grasses, our eyes following the tree lines of the old golf course. I kicked
the brown rocks on the gravel road, my eyes scanned the horizon for memories. It was all gone--Eagle Picher, the mountainous chat pile of my childhood; the clubhouse burned to the ground; the golf course turned back to nature, giving home to chirping birds, and critters hiding in the holes. 

"I'm missing something," I told my husband, "but I don't know what."

Back in the car we drove. Little by little I regained my
bearings, off the highways onto graveled roads, following fence rows lined with honeysuckle, sliding through winding S curves.  From Narcissa to Galena, I searched.

Then I saw it, something that had been right before my eyes all along.  The rocks that lined the old town of Galena. The reddish orange, gray and brown speckled rocks that were dug from the earth that became the bedrock for churches, fences, cemeteries, homes, lives, and filling
stations that lined the old Route 66 and Route 69.  The rocks that my father pulled from the land and used to build a fence; the rocks that my grandfather and great grandfather cut through to mine the lead and zinc.  Those rocks were the "bedrocks that build character" as my mother often told me.

At the Tri-State Landmark I jumped out of the pickup and like a child kicked the gravel, climbed up over the bar ditch searching, digging, and kicking for just the right rock. "Here," my husband said, "Here's a good one." I kicked it just to make sure. "Yes, that's it." Then my foot gave way on the slippery embankment, and I landed on bedrock. Stunned and dirty I looked around and began to laugh. "Thanks Dad, I needed that"

While laughing I realized that my parents were always there for me.  They were my bedrock.  Now my husband is my bedrock.  He catches me when I fall. 

**For pictures of the mineral Galena rock (not my childhood memories of the rocks that built fences) check out this website Galena rock

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