Tag Archives: Country Road

Chapter 17: Foreshadowing

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–The Milkweed will push through to grow tall, fragrant, and beautiful, to call the Monarch.–

The disc cushioning my lumbar 4 and 5 vertebrae has been bulging capriciously since I was 12 years old.  It was then that I experienced my first unexpected spine-twisting spasms that paralyzed me sitting in my church pew.  A bulging disc means a frequently aching back, with locked joints and tense muscles.  The pain is always different depending on which way the disc is bulging and, more importantly, which area of the spinal nerves the disc is irritating.  While it becomes difficult and painful to bend, I somehow always manage to dry my feet after a shower, to shimmy on my socks, to tie my shoes, and to drive to work, even if I do have to lie occasionally on the floor during the mayor’s staff meeting. Continue reading

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Coming Home

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I stopped to watch the pulsing airport beacon–my desert lighthouse–as I walked in the snow today on Rabbit Lane.  White.  Green.  White.  Green.  “See that beacon?” I asked Hannah (8), whose gloved hand held mine while we gazed.  “It’s like a lighthouse showing the way for ships in trouble to make for shore.  Long before Hannah was born, I gazed out the window with Erin, then 5, as the old beacon bulbs swept slow arcs around the sky, lighting up the clouded underbelly of the sky.  I imagined sailing ships rocking precariously amidst tumultuous waves, the sailors shouting commands and wondering how to obtain the shore in one piece.  I also imagined their frightened families at home, wondering if they would ever see their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons again.  With this troubled image in mind, I wrote this one-verse song about these sailors, nearly lost in the storms, coming home at last.  (Read more about this beacon in Chapter 4: Desert Lighthouse on the Rabbit Lane: Memoir page of this blog.)

Coming Home

Chapter 14: No Trespassing

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–A butterfly graces equally the idyllic mountain meadow and the urban flower box.–

On a cedar fence post near Rabbit Lane an old sign announces “No Trespassing.”  The letters were burned or carved into the worn and weathered plank.  The sign has been cracked by the black head of a rusting iron nail driven into the cedar post.  The sign has long ago lost any intimidating aspect, and it now resembles the endearing smile of a gap-toothed old man. Continue reading

Come Walk with Me

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It was obvious to me that my daughter, Laura, was feeling emotional distress. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?” I asked.  “Nothing,” she replied, in typical hold-it-in fashion.  I put my arm around her and said, “Come walk with me on Rabbit Lane.”  We walked, she talked and cried, and I listened and did my best to buoy her up.  We have taken many walks on Rabbit Lane since.  Rabbit Lane has become more to me than an unremarkable little dirt country road.  It has become for me a place of contemplation, enlightenment, and healing.  I wrote this poem not only to remember the occasion of that walk with Laura, and of many other special walks with my family, but also as an invitation to you, my fellow travelers, to come walk with me down Rabbit Lane, as it were, in our respective journeys to understand, to grow, and to be the best men and women we can be.

COME WALK WITH ME

Come walk with me,
my child.
Come walk with me
down Rabbit Lane.
Tell me your troubles.
Tell me your fears.
Tell me your joys and your dreams.
Tell me everything
while we walk
past racing horses and cudding cattle,
past the llama guarding thick-wooled sheep,
past deep-green alfalfa and wispy golden grain,
past the skittish muskrat diving to its ditch-bank burrow,
past Monarch caterpillars poised on pink, perfumed milkweed flowers.
Come walk with me,
my child,
just you and me.
Come walk with me
down Rabbit Lane.

I Left the House

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While I don’t care for the cold of winter, I find that winter walking reveals unparalleled beauty despite the leafless trees, and brings unique pleasures and insights, such as those discussed in this poem.  And winter mornings are quiet.  So, as much as I prefer the warmer seasons, I still enjoy bundling up and heading to Rabbit Lane for pre-dawn winter walks.  (For more discussion of winter walks in the snow, see the Rabbit Lane: Memoir page of this blog, Chapter 8: Tracks in the Snow post.)

I LEFT THE HOUSE

I left the house
to walk a long walk
through the uncertain silhouettes
of morning’s pre-dawn dim,
and found that
Heaven had graced Earth,
silently,
magically,
with a covering of snow,
soft on the hard, frozen earth,
pale gray in the lingering starlight.

On the farm road,
tire tracks sliced and sullied the snow,
leaving long, undulating ruts
to follow.
I quickly chose the ease of the rut.
Then I found the tracks of
other travelers—mice, rabbits, a raccoon—
meandering, veering, crossing,
as necessary or desirable.
Then I, too, left the pre-established path,
and made my own way through the snow.
The frozen crust crunched and gave way
under the weight of my boots;
each step sent up a small crystalline cloud;
white snow caps clung to my toes;
my legs protested with burning fatigue at
the effort of resisting the rut.

The snow turned from gray to white with the fading of night,
tinged with the pink of impending sunrise.
In the undisturbed snow beside the rutted tracks,
the sun’s first rays revealed an infinity of microscopic prisms,
sparkling brief flashes of rainbow color.

In the distance behind,
the house waited patiently for my return.

Chapter 1: First Walk

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–Never betray inspiration with hesitation.–

Sleepily down Church Road I walked, past an unmarked dirt lane traveled most often by farmers on tractors.  Somehow I had tumbled out of bed and out the door.  I would much rather have continued my slumber under warm covers.  Crisp darkness and the ripe fragrance of dew upon cut hay greeted me as I stepped onto the covered porch.  I could see only silhouettes in the lingering darkness: old trees planted by farmers perhaps a century ago; the Oquirrh mountain range; cattle chewing mechanically on coarse grass. Continue reading

Introduction to Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road

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Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road tells the story of a humble country dirt road, of its human history, of its natural beauty, and of its ability to bring insight, understanding, transformation, and healing to those who walk it.  The book contains stories and poems, music and nature observations that will amuse and inspire.  Rabbit Lane helps us to slow down and pay attention to the beauty around us and within us.  The prefatory poem, Silent Spring, honors the vision and hope of Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 classic book by the same name, for a world filled with the music and beauty of nature.  Enjoy each of the many chapters, stories, poems, and songs as you walk with me on Rabbit Lane.


SILENT SPRING

Spring,

Rachel:

not silent quite.

I hear,

distinctly:

the growing hum

of humankind.


Roger Evans Baker is the author of Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road.  The non-fiction book is available for Kindle (full color) and in print (black-and-white) at Amazon.  Rose Gluck Reviews recently reviewed Rabbit Lane in Words and Pictures.