the road trip

farm-john campbell school,Brasstown NC

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The travels have ended. My body is expressing its relief that we are home. I did a ‘straight through’ from Knoxville to home in Florida-something I was once able to do when I was a trucker…but,no longer.

When I planned this trip in February I had no idea the total meaning it would have. My initial intent was to have a retreat of sorts at the John C.Campbell Folk School. Earlier this year when the arrangements were made I had no idea what life was going to be like in months to come.

I always try to give things a Spiritual look see. My heart is always amazed at the details and depth things are taken to reveal some ultimate meaning.

I began realizing things were unique when my grandson Jared was born. His expected date was several weeks to go yet. His weight was so low and his medical problems mounted before he was a week old-by then he had undergone two surgeries. He was in the hospital nearly 45 days before he ever got to see what the sky looked like.

I sat with Jared from the first day I learned he was in one hospital-his mother in another. I couldn’t stand thinking of him being there alone. The sitting each day made me think of my father.

My father and I had never traveled far-or anywhere-alone. The time we did we went to the folk school.

I know this is twisted around and likely hard to follow.

The day Jared was released to go home from the hospital I took off on a houseboat trip down the St.Johns River. South of Sanford Florida the river becomes a wide waterway with many grass islands for as far as your eye can see. The combination of the colors of the green of the grasses and the blue of the sky and serenity of the water was all it took to erase the stress of the past weeks seeing Jared through.

The boat trip was 300 miles-at 6 MPH against the river and 8 MPH floating with it the serenity was perfect. Returning home I had less than a week to prepare for the folk school trip.

There is something about how the river transforms you. It was hard to relate to the real estate I passed going north through Georgia because the sensation the river imprinted was so fresh-going so slow I was able to enjoy the quiet of the grasses,and on the highway it was eyes forward and be careful of looking at anything.

I sat in my truck one night parked nearby the folk school. The cab of my truck is like a thinking booth to me. I looked out over the hills at the shape of the mountains against the sky. I looked at things I knew my father had looked at many times. My parents were life long fans of the folk school-I guess where they chose to get away from it all.

It is strange how we are reminded of our pasts. Along the river trip I couldn’t help to think of my grandmother-we called her Wickie. Her child life was surrounded by the Mississippi River and as a boy she had given me several books on river life and lore. There were always the four lithographs of the river scenes on her wall. I envisioned her sitting on one of the lawn chairs on the deck of the houseboat-like me I’m sure she would be thinking…this is the way I’d rather live.

It all collected in the cab of my truck parked up there at the folk school. I had been there 5 years ago alone with dad. The fourth day into the week we had to leave,my father had reached a point where his health turned.

The folk school is based on a teaching principle based on a Danish formula of one teaching a group of others how they build chairs in their region in exchange for the recipients of that lesson teach the others how they make brooms-for example.

My father frequented the school to enhance his wood carving skills-among other wood working styles. Our trip there 5 years ago found me in a class learning to carve wooden bowls. I liked it-and found it an art form I was interested in. But that ended with my dad being sick.

I had planned the trip to the folk school in memory of my dad. Like I said-I had no idea then what lessons would be involved surrounding the week at the school.

I sat there in my truck and wept. The entire collection caught up-the thoughts that passed while sitting with Jared and the thoughts that passed while passing the grass islands and the thoughts that passed during the few days I had had by this time at the folk school.

The instructor remembered my dad-he had the school boost me into his class when he saw my name on the register. I had been on a waiting list. He remarked how he felt that my reasons for coming again was for my dad and that is why he pushed to get me in the class. They limit the classes to 6 people.

Looking down into the valley at Brasstown it was like I was looking through some fantastic prism and that my eyes were seeing things my father had seen and in some strange way I was transformed back in time.

I told you this was twisted around.

3 Responses to “the road trip”

  1. BJ Says:

    Why did they have Melody in a separate hospital from Jared? That doesn’t seem right. You’d think they’d have tried to keep them in the same one. Separating a newborn from his mother is really odd and seems so wrong. By the way, daughter-in-law isn’t so weird, but since the only way you got your ‘daughters’ was via Micah and Joel, I can see why you’d want to say “daughter” without the “in-law”.

  2. BJ Says:

    Yeah, I’ll have to do that. We chat on Facebook from time to time. It just seemed so wrong, though, to put Melody in a separate hospital from Jared. A baby needs his mother. Oh, my cat is Pet Therapist. She is a volunteer with the American Red Cross and visits the Wounded Warriors at Landstuhl. The website I posted is her website, and she has her own blog. Her latest “Cara’s Mews” tells of her visits to the Wounded Warriors at Landstuhl. Since she can’t drive, I’m her transportation, but she is the one volunteering. Oh, and Mum really enjoyed visiting with you, Joel, Melody and the little cuties.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: