During my childhood fear was not
something I gave thought too; had
I… my adventures at Poole’s Pond
would never have taken place.
Old man Poole dug out the pond for
his cow’s, surrounded by pine trees,
Kudzu and filled with muddy water.
To me it was a swimming hole that
was deep with still stagnant water
under the hot Alabama sun. I lay in
the tall grass among the Kudzu after
hanging my overalls on the stump of
an old rotten pine.
I would squint my eyes pretending that
the clouds were angels looking down on
me, protecting me. Hidden from view by
the Honeysuckle lined road no one could
see a naked sun baked six year old.
I would beat the russet colored water with
a stick carefully watching the ripples rise
and fall. I watched as the water snakes
raced toward the red clay bank as cooling
themselves had ended with my arrival.
I would dress and run down the dusty old road,
bare feet, and wet braids; shadows would be
falling across the side of Burleson Mountain
behind our little Clapboard shack. Sometimes
I would linger a bit too long taking in the
mellow scent of the apple orchard.
It is scenes like this that I play over and over
in my mind, times when the world was new and I
could slip away to my favorite place. Thoughts
of the past tugs at my soul when I think of the
angel clouds and the warmth of the old swimming
When that little girl runs barefoot across my mind,
braids bouncing, kicking up red dust hurrying home
to her daddy, my heart fills joy. It is then that
I hear that deep southern voice stilled so very long
ago, “Hon, you stay away from that Pond”.
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