The words are etched in planks of beautiful cedar, each board glistening with a honey brown finish. Opaque porcelain of green, blue, and red enamels pool in the carved words. “Two Rivers School and Recreation Area,” the sign announces. An onyx arrow indicates the gravel path below.
Early in the day, clouds had wept mist on the road that ran between where I stand and where I was going. I walk across the tarred road and there I find another sign advertising the business and owner’s name, Linsey’s Milling Co. It hangs there in its graceful age, no shame of its condition, proud of a job well done. It centers itself between two log columns and suspends from a railroad tie. The rusty chain holding the sign shrills when a wind comes along. The carved words are still raised from the wood, but only slightly legible. There are no bright colors pooling in these weary etched words. It just hangs there, displaying itself in a manor that was once fashionable.
The wood’s surface was left raw from a process called hewing which has taken its place in history. Rough, jagged edges were left on the surface as though to protect it from its only predators: those that made it. Blanched, weathered colors of mauve gray and black prove the twenty-six years of occupation. Subtle tones and oils were lost to forty and fifty below temperatures, unseasonal rains and warm draining rays from the summer sun. I stand there watching the sign sway in the wind.
My nostrils open wide to take in the smells of lavender and wet, decomposing spruce. I feel only conscious of the sign and the smells. I know that the sign acts only as a cover to the novel, and the rest lay along the dusty path in front of me. I don’t walk the path, deciding to leave it for another to explore.
If you like this story, read more by getting the full collection of my short stories: Mama Takin' Me Downtown
Photo by Nicole Rodriguez on Unsplash
I am a truth-teller. It has not always made me popular but I will always provide a searing frankness to the world I see and experience from my perspective. I continue to reach for a better world by holding us accountable for the world we have created so far. I hope you enjoy my pondering and see yourself in my writing.