aging southern belle

by Elouise


aging southern belle
matriarch of the river
beckons me homeward

* * * * *

Summer 2009
the day of my father’s memorial service
three cars full of family members drive out to the old house
at the end of the road
our first home in the Deep South
birthplace of Sister #4

three generations are left–
three of four sisters, three of four husbands
plus children and grandchildren
we park and walk around the house
to the front yard overlooking the river
a stunning view

the stately, regal water oak still
reigns in the front yard
towering over everything and everybody
though it’s missing a few branches and
the old cannon ball that sat at its feet
the tree is as magnificent as ever

an open-air playground and hunting ground for
gray squirrels, flying squirrels, song birds, woodpeckers, insects, spiders, ants, predators
home to bird nests, Spanish moss, squirrel holes
home base for hide and seek and
sisters racing madly to and from the neighbor’s water oak
shade for rest, iced tea and lemonade

I miss favorite landmarks including the giant holly
with its girl-sized interior cavern just right for hiding and make-believe
the mimosa tree with its fragrant pink fluff balls
and tree branches just the right height and size for climbing and jumping
the small goldfish pond bordered by pansies–
a small bird bath in the middle

I miss my parents
especially Mother, gone since 1999
and Diane, Sister #3, gone since 2006
the weight of generations shifts with a jolt
“Ready or not, here I come!”
We turn to go home, ready or not.

Haiku written 19 April 2014
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 22 April 2014