The Unbridgeable Distance Between Natchez and Oxford

The worst part is that I knew.

Too much time had passed.  I pushed the thought from my head.

No time.  No time for that.

I was so close.  So fucking close.

Yet I didn’t go.  Too busy visiting, too busy with the minutia.

I couldn’t make time.

She was disappointed.

I explained.  She was still disappointed.

Who was she to me?  No one.  No one really.

No one but a kind old woman.  No one but kin.

Now she’s gone.  Just like that.  One Facebook message and she gone.

I am ashamed.

Tears don’t diminish regret.

Time is an illusion.  There is no such thing.

Do what you must and do it now.

Death waits for no one.

Not even the busy.

Not even me.IMGP5846



S. Conde



Speaking In The Vernacular


She had a cadence to her voice.  A pattern to her speech. Sublimely Southern in her delivery.

Rarely did she volunteer her opinion.  When asked, she chose her words with care.  She spoke in a kind of code. Responding indirectly,  answering questions not yet asked.

She could cut you down, lift you up, make all clear in a phrase.  You’d remember what she said, because you’d feel it, everywhere, all at once.  Her words had a way of traveling through your ear, bypassing your brain and attaching themselves to your soul.  …or maybe that was just me.

Revealed by her words was a peacefulness which came from the country.  Swinging slowly with the breeze.  Sipping tea.  Rocking in a chair on the porch.  Friends with time.  At one with the natural rhythms of life.  …or maybe that was just her.

She made me feel calm.  Safe.  Loved.  Scratching my back softly she’d sing to me.  Sometimes just repeating two words over and over.  “Purty baby, purty baby…”

She wasn’t perfect.  She had a short temper, like me.  No patience for ignorance, like me.  Once she decided she didn’t like you, chances are she never would.  Like me.

On my stepmother:  “MeeMaw, I don’t think she likes you.”  “That’s ok baby, better people ‘n her don’t like me.”

On my ex husband: “MeeMaw, what do you think of him?”  “I don’t know.”  “What do you mean you don’t know? I’ve been married to him for five years.”  “I mean, I don’t know.  He never says anything more to me ‘n what I wanna hear.”

On me, while married to my ex husband:  “What the hell happened to you?  You didn’t used to be afraid of nuthin’.”

On my husband who’d cornered her at a family gathering after she’d been diagnosed with bone cancer:  “Your husband gave me a sermon today.”  “He did?”  “He told me I was being selfish for not letting you come and see me…and that every time you get off the phone with me you cry.  Like I don’t know you.  …but don’t tell him I told you, or he won’t talk to me that way anymore.”

On cigarettes:  “I guess I shouldn’t have smoked, but I did so enjoy it.”

On dying: “MeeMaw, are you scared?”  “I’ve never done this before baby.  Should I be?”

I listened closely when she chose to speak.  For as she was fond of saying, it is not a babbling brook, but still water, which runs deep.





The Immortality of Thought : Part Three

The woman stood up abruptly which caused the girl to open her eyes.  The woman extended her hand.  The girl reached out and took it.  The two women walked hand in hand, out of the house onto the simple wood slatted porch.

“Our thoughts are of the utmost importance.”, said the woman as she led the girl down the concrete steps.  The girl loved them, odd though it was to love such a thing as steps.  Thirty years ago when the cement was poured and just beginning to harden, three of her second cousins pressed their names, written in marbles, into these very steps.  Sometimes, the girl would sit at the bottom and run her fingers over the smooth glass marbles.  From the smooth marbles to rough cement, and back again.  She traced their names and pondered the permanence of things.  She always secretly wished her name was among theirs.

They stepped out onto the lush green lawn, which gave way gently under their feet, and walked over to the swing.  The swing was chained to a massive oak branch.  The woman loved the swing, as did the girl, but neither of them knew why.

The women sat and began to rock gently to and fro.  The girl lay down and rested her head in the woman’s lap.  The woman stroked the girl’s hair, as the breeze gently caressed her own.

“Remember, every thought which has ever been had exists.”

The girl closed her eyes and listened quietly.

“It will manifest as reality, either in this world or the next.”  The girl thought about what she had created so far.  “Thoughts do not die, they merely transform.”, said the woman.  “Your reaction to each situation you encounter acts as a building block for your world.”

“…but then there is no hope…”, said the girl.  “…if the bad thoughts just go on forever.”

“There is always hope.”, said the woman smiling kindly.  “A genuine change of heart, can transfigure the original idea.”

This made the girl smile in turn.  “You had me worried there for a minute.”

The woman laughed.  “There is no need to worry, you’re the architect of your world.  Just as you can create your own hell you can create your own heaven, in this world, the next and beyond.  The choice is yours, you get to decided which path to take.  Just be mindful of your decisions.”

“You have created this place and you have brought me here, which is in itself a small miracle.  Imagine all you’ll take back with you to the material world.  Soon you’ll be able to access this place at will.”

“What does it matter what I take back?”, asked the girl, “…if I’m unable to communicate the truth without destroying it.”

“There are nonverbal means of communication.  Learn them…and anyway, I didn’t say destroy, I said corrupt.  The kernel of truth will still be there when you speak, for those open to hearing it.”

The girl pulled a face, rolling her eyes and puckering her lips.  The woman smiled and continued loving on the girl’s hair.

“There are so many things which can not be learned by the intellect alone, or at all even.”, spoke the woman.  The girl let her eyes wander down the drive.  She focused on the old pecan tree off to the right of the gravel path. The woman barely needed to push the swing with her feet at all.  Still it swung.  The tree was at once closer then farther, closer then farther.  The great pecan tree was old but still producing; the driveway was littered with pecans.  The girl admired the tree, she remembered it so well, so fondly, from her youth.

“Didn’t you ever wonder why the teachers of awakening speak in riddles?”, asked the woman.  “I thought that was just how they talked.”, replied the girl.  “No…”, laughed the woman, “…it’s to free the mind of perfectly reasonable thought processes.  Certain concepts can not be grasped, only understood.  Sometimes, one and one make three.”

“Mother, father, child.”, said the girl.

“Mother, father, child.”, repeated the woman.

The girl turned her head and looked up at the woman.  She was so lovely.  How she had missed her.

“Pecan pie?”, asked the girl.  The woman nodded.  “Yes.”

The End


S. Conde