Huckleberry Dreams

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<One of my favorite things to do while living in Memphis was to drive to Shelby Forest, a magical place north of the city.  It was only a short trip but upon entering the towering trees and winding roads, it was worlds away from the chaos of the city, and mystical in its serenity.  There I would sit alone along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, with a thermos of coffee enjoying the spectacle of the sun falling across the distant shore.  It was there on one of those enchanting evenings that I recalled this story from my youth. The time a friend and I discovered and captured an abandoned raft floating down the river that flowed next to my house in southwest Virginia, far away from the banks of the Mississippi.  With our new watercraft, the possibilities were endless, or so we thought.

Reflecting on that childhood memory, I mapped out the course of the waters from where the story began, the narrow banks of the Bluestone River.  As the sun slipped away, I realized those same waters of my youth eventually flowed into the Mighty Mississippi, and passed before my feet.  I often dreamed where the waters would take me, had I packed a lunch and set sail on that raft.  Life brought me here anyway, and once more I set sail on my very own Huckleberry Dreams.>

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Huckleberry Dreams

When, as only a boy

I was

a kid of eight or maybe even ten

Uncertain though I may be

of my age that may have been

it was then, I’m certain

this dream was set to begin

my Huckleberry Dream

 

 

A raft set sail

set free

somewhere upstream

abandoned and unmanned

it was set to pass

between the banks and shores

and between the bridges

along the river

that bore all my dreams

 

There was neither time

to ask

nor reason to wonder

for whence and why it came

For the narrow river

swift as it may

would soon carry my craft

onward, away

Yes, in that moment

I laid claim

the wayward vessel

was now my own

But first therein lay the task

to capture and to sail

a raft with no mast

 

So I dashed with purpose

and passion

born in a moment

n’er a moment to let pass

 

 

Without thought or fear

I ran

to reach the shore

and by great fortune

along the way

lay a great long stick

Scooped up in stride

a navigator’s guide

it soon would be

And further, I ran

pole in hand

along her side

as the river’s

flow

When suddenly I soared

from the high bank’s perch

I lept, pole in hand

and it was as if it all

had been planned

 

And upright

I did land

and aboard my craft

my navigator’s hand

sunk one end of my shaft

and discovered the water’s sway

yield to my command

To and fray

standing tall atop the wavering raft

suddenly I was free

and proud

as the vessel

and waters

beneath my feet

unleashed unto my world

my Huckleberry Dreams

 

As it was in that moment

and moments still

to pass

These dreams did dance

and forever would last

And that day began

what each night

would end

as I lay awake in bed

Shadows in the darkness

outside my window

were the endless chirp

of tree frogs chirping

and the echo

of the river’s pass

A sweet serenade

that carried my soul

beyond the narrow banks

of my mind

unto an unknown world

mysterious and magically

uncertain

 

Adrift, soon I fell

to sleep

only to awake

in the wake

of years passed

A new dawn turned to dusk

the setting sun

laid glorious to rest

across distant shores

of the mighty river

of Huckleberry fame

And alone I sit

‘neath the afterglow

of bursting fiery hues

that so suddenly fade

and flow

as still the waters

so sweetly pass

 

Yet, hidden from view

a raging undercurrent

of memories

stirring once more

The unrest

of my soul

beset again

by darkness

and the stirring chirping

echo of the river’s flow

Alone with only

the Shelby Forest air

and staring now deftly

into the tempest waves

My vision unfurled

and all becomes clear

those waters

that once as a child

I waded and played

and whose melodies

stirred the churning

of endless dreams

are the same waters

and veins that carried me here

this day

to sit along the shores

of Twain’s magical River

where Huckleberry Finn

once stole free fare

 

Though the path

varied, may it be

the journey

be one and the same

What then would I be

and what might become of me

had I that day

allowed the Bluestone River

its sway and way with me

and adrift carried us

my raft and I

into the unknown fray

 

Yet, sweetly singing ever still

are the songs

of chirping endless

chirping

Summertime frogs

the chorus and chords

still play

At long last

I have not yet

arrived

For endless be the sail

to the winds and waters

Of my Huckleberry Dreams

 

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