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LJI 10 Week 10: One-Foot Hike

This is my entry for Week 10 of Season 10 of therealljidol. This week's topic is "Take a Hike."

One-Foot Hike

Examine the small square before you:
burnt-brown leaves, mushed grass,
tiny spheres in pyramid piles. Imagine
yourself as your mother, botany student,
kneeling in the 1960s to catalogue
what she saw. Her brown bob, cat's eye
glasses, delicate fingers pulling
everything apart. Listing each one.

To understand her, you pull apart
her family's branches. Coal miners,
railroad men, strong women, raising
bumper crops of children. As though
knowing their names can bring
her back. You obsess over
ancestral qualities: curly hair,
blue eyes, a love of nature.
You wonder how much
she knew about them. Would she
have gawked at your discovery
of your Nana's half-sister? Could she
recite the litany of Hinkles, tracing
back from your great-grandfather?
Jonathan, Daniel, Abraham, Philip,
Christian (where the trail ends
in Frankfurt). Paging

through the family Bible, you despaired
at its blank pages. Until
you noticed the crinkled documents
she'd left for you, there.
Obituaries, a confirmation certificate,
documents of family data.
Pressed between the pages like leaves.

I was inspired this week by KFP's entry about a "one-foot hike" he did for Cub Scouts.

ETA: The voting page is now up!


( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 3rd, 2017 03:47 am (UTC)
Oh, I like your hike through history here! Beautifully done.
Mar. 3rd, 2017 11:06 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! For the first time, both KFP and I drew inspiration from the same idea, of the one-foot hike.
Mar. 3rd, 2017 12:18 pm (UTC)
Wow! This is brilliant.Loved what you did here. Kudos!
Mar. 3rd, 2017 12:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was inspired by my son, kfp_rawr's entry this week.
(no subject) - eternal_ot - Mar. 3rd, 2017 01:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 3rd, 2017 12:40 pm (UTC)
Family history stuff is indeed quite a journey!
Mar. 3rd, 2017 12:55 pm (UTC)
It is! And now I'm tracking down a female line, the wife of one of my father's ancestors, the Carters. Another trail leading back to Virginia, but so far, it just seems they hired indentured servants to farm their land.
Mar. 3rd, 2017 02:09 pm (UTC)
I really like the parallel you created in the first and last stanzas: the burnt-brown leaves being the obituaries, the mushed grass, a confirmation certificate, the tiny spheres, the family data...

No imagination needed... you are a version of your Mother!
Mar. 3rd, 2017 04:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That is a wonderful compliment. She had so much joy in her, and she taught me to appreciate the beauty of the natural world.
Mar. 3rd, 2017 04:36 pm (UTC)
I love how you connect botanical cataloging to genealogical exploration. The search is always fascinating, no matter what you're looking for.
Mar. 4th, 2017 12:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It is very fascinating! And a little frustrating when other researchers got things wrong and I have to figure it out.
Mar. 3rd, 2017 08:40 pm (UTC)
Aww, that's the best. Being influenced by your child ona piece's direction! I liked this and how you tied the two together with your last line. Hugs and peace~~~
Mar. 4th, 2017 12:11 pm (UTC)
Of course, he inspires me on a daily basis. <3
Mar. 3rd, 2017 09:28 pm (UTC)
I can't quite tell if the mother here is you, or your own mother, but I guess it doesn't matter-- the unleaving of things going backwards, the taking apart of history and detecting in reverse would be the same. You would just hope that trail of information in the family bible was there from some generation before you!
Mar. 4th, 2017 12:12 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you don't think it matters; I just liked this voice better than first person. If you wanted to know, in this poem, I was talking to myself. Hope that helps!
Mar. 3rd, 2017 10:24 pm (UTC)
I like how you used geneaology as a metaphor for hiking. My Wife's parents recently made photo albums for each of their children and grandchildren and gave it to them as gifts everyone was excited about getting to go through the photos.
Mar. 4th, 2017 12:13 pm (UTC)
That is very sweet! Make sure they label all the photos they have while they're able to do so! You can use a soft pencil on the backs of very old photos or an archival quality photo marker on more modern ones.
Mar. 4th, 2017 10:32 pm (UTC)
Very cool! I regret that many of our pages in our history are missing. Missing from the family bible due to scandals and such. Still, as I go to Germany next week, I hope I may catch a glimpse of my familial history.
Mar. 11th, 2017 02:08 pm (UTC)
Good luck! I will be interested to hear what you find. Are you going to Frankfurt, by any chance? That's where the trail runs cold for the Polish side of my family, although we found a death certificate online for my 2x great-grandfather, filed in Frankfurt, that gave his birthplace as a specific city in Poland.

Do you speak German?
Mar. 5th, 2017 03:15 am (UTC)
Mar. 11th, 2017 03:50 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - alycewilson - Mar. 11th, 2017 03:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnamongirl - Mar. 16th, 2017 03:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 5th, 2017 05:54 pm (UTC)
Awesome! Genealogy is fascinating. I think examining our past DOES help us understand who we are.
Mar. 11th, 2017 03:51 pm (UTC)
I've certainly found that it does.
Mar. 5th, 2017 05:57 pm (UTC)
A lovely look at family history.
Mar. 11th, 2017 04:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you! As you can tell, kind of my obsession of late.
Mar. 5th, 2017 07:28 pm (UTC)
Nice work here on tying your analogy together! With the added bonus of a "hike" or exploration! You really are mining deeply and the treasures your finding gleam!
Mar. 11th, 2017 04:00 pm (UTC)
Definitely! I wish I could share these findings with my Grandma Heritage, the genealogist. Something tells me she's smiling down on me, though.
Mar. 5th, 2017 10:32 pm (UTC)
This is so beautiful!

kfp_rawr's entry was the first time I ever heard if the one foot hike. Now I want to do one of my own. I love how you extended it to your family tree searches.

Love this!
Mar. 11th, 2017 04:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! He's a very creative little guy and has a unique way of looking at the world I find very inspiring. Once you start looking, it's amazing how much you can find right in front of you.
Mar. 5th, 2017 10:33 pm (UTC)
Great way of working this together with "one-foot hike," and very interesting on its own. I like the idea of the topic being a hike through your past.
Mar. 11th, 2017 04:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks! All credit, of course, to my boy for this idea!
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