Lisa Bondurant

My photo
I spend my time raising kids, gathering eggs, cutting wood, scoping out trees for tapping, making syrup in the last days of winter, watching my garden NOT grow in the summer, writing, wishing that there were more hours on the clock for sleeping.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Blond Bomb Shell

  She is a blond bombshell and there is nothing on this earth that she wants more then to be a mother. So strong is this desire that before the wee hours of the morning, before even the sun has broken clear of the timberline on the eastern mountains, she moves quietly past her sleeping roommates, climbs to the second story and escapes through a cracked window.

   Racing silently across the frosted grass, she slips into the tangled deadwood of the old rose bush. Once there she settles down onto the thick bed of dead leaves and waits. So quietly she waits, unmoving in the dim light. Waiting and listening to her friends as they awaken. Waiting as the light grows brighter. Prepared to defend her location for hours and at all cost.

   I find her there every morning, glaring out at me with a look on her face that warns me to keep my distance. I promise to keep my distance, for now. Off I go to do my chores, wondering all the while... why the rose bush and not the solid warm walls of the house.
 Perhaps it is her wild ancestors whispering to her from another time and half a hemisphere away. Her ancestors lived in the steamy tangled jungles of South America.

  She is an Americauna hen,with golden yellow plumage, a cross of an Anacauna jungle fowl raised by jungle tribes for their lovely blue eggs. Blondie as she is known, lays a blue green egg, just a pale tint of the whisper from her family to the south. She guards her family jewel, hissing at me when ever I get to close or another hen drops by to see her.

  I let her stay there setting on her hopes and dreams, feeling bad about what I must eventually do. I wait untill all the other hens have gone back to the coop for the night and the darkness has swallowed the mountain. Quickly I grab her and pull her from her thorny nest.

"Sorry Blondie", I say softly as she tucks beneath my arm. "Mr. Fox will eat you if I leave you out all night"

 I scoop up the egg and hold it up to the moonlight as we walk back to the hen house. The egg almost glows and I wonder if somewhere deep below the roll of the southern hemisphere, if another deeper blue egg glows as brightly or hold as much hope for a little hen, as this one.
  I set Blondie into the golden light of the hen house and make her a promise.
 " Maybe in the spring Blondie, I'll let you hatch them all".

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cowboy Coffee, Morning Fires

Whether summer or winter the morning would start the same every day. 
First the thumping of an axe as my father chopped kindling and the bang 
of the cook stove lids as he fired up the old Martha Washington cook stove. 
Soon the smell of wood smoke and warm currents of air drifted up the 
stairs to awaken everyone in the house.

The first order of business, after the fire was lit, was the
 making of his cowboy coffee. A large speckle ware coffee pot that held
 at least a gallon, was set over an open burner. Orange flames jumping 
against its blackened bottom and my father would add more dry oak 
wood. The water need to roll with boil, as he said.
Soon as the water was rolling up and small droplets jumped and 
spattered across the now hot iron of the stove top, my father would 
flip back the pots round lid.

“One, two, three, four, five, six,” he would count, adding heaping 
scoops of ground coffee to the bubbling water. I think he counted
 for the benefit of his young daughter who watched closely, trying
 to learn the exact science of this wonderful morning brew that
 everyone in the house drank, even ones perhaps too little.

“Now” he would nod to me and I knew it was my turn.
“One thousand one, one thousand two…” and I would count for exactly
 15 seconds. On 15 he pulled the coffee quickly off the hot burner and 
back to the cooler back of the stove.

“Now get the egg shells”, he ordered. Yes eggs shells to trap the

 grounds at the bottom of the pot and I would hand him shells saved
 from yesterday’s breakfast. Into the pot they went and he would smile.
“Won’t be long now,” he would say. I would fetch the mugs and wait 
with him as we watched the time tick slowly out another five minutes
 on the old Seth Thomas clock above the stove. This was a precise
 art that could not be hurried.  Sweet smells teased our noses and
 made our mouths water. The second hand swept past 12.

Finally it was time; he would pour the black, strong liquid into the
 mugs. Only two thirds full, then the milk, swirling like the currents of 
the early spring floods, brown and dangerous.
Heaping spoons of sugar, a quick stir and a cup so full it always 
spilled on the way to our lips.

For  just a moment hesitation was best, just as the mug reached your
 waiting tongue and warm, sweet , coffee flavored steam condensed on 
your lip and nose and stirred your mind to awaken fully.

He would raise his eye brows and then wink.
“Good stuff,” he would tell me.
“Good stuff,” I would agree.
"Now lets feed them horses," he would say as he headed for the door.
"Yep, horses," I would run after him. After all I now had lots of energy.

At least three more times,the old speckled pot would be filled before
 the day burned out.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Giants of Another Ocean

Where blue green waters swirl and slow to deep, cold pools of liquid crystal, giants of another ocean lie. Huge boulders of sandstone, cast from sands of a prehistoric ocean that once owned this land where mountains now rule. So huge are these giants, that no powers on this Earth seem able to budge them, even fractions of an inch.

The most raging floods sent down from the highest peaks above, have smothered over the boulders, snarling and tugging at them in great brown currents like lions trying to bring down the beast. But when the floods give up and move on, the giants are still and unmoved. Like the lions, the floods will try again.

On quiet days you can swim the cold waters and bob beneath the shadowed over hangs and run your hands across the petrified ripples left from waves of that ancient ocean. How many times had my father swam me out to tread above the tugging depths, and darting rainbow trout, to see the past? And now how many times have I? Each time I am lost for words, but not for thoughts. How deep was this ocean? How far did it stretch? What creatures swam its chilly depths? How can an ocean have been where mountains now live?

When I swim back across the waters to the warm sandy beach, I am left with the feeling that I have encountered magic of a sort. Magic that let me reach back to touch another time, another place. I think that I can hear the waves. I whirl around to search this world, but only find the sky and wind .Beneath my feet on the wet, sandy beach, I see ripples formed and can only wonder if these will someday be giants of another ocean yet to be.