Sentimental Journey

From the black hole of sleep, a six-year-old struggles with a deliciously familiar thump in the night.

Through the maze of her mind's eye she pursues this elusive sound like a dancer in a dream. And if that eye were open now she could follow the thumping sounds and muttering voices out into the hall and up the creaking attic stairs to a row of dusty suitcases lurking in the blue shadows.

Outside, the night barely breathes. Ice blue moonlight cuts like a knife through the trees. Shimmering leaves stirred up in a sudden breeze begin to shadowdance with the stars.
Time seems to stand still.

From my bed I can see the radio tower's red light blinking between thin pine trees drawn tall into the night sky. With the full moon's light across my face I begin to wake and find a question forming, suspended there midair somewhere between my pillow and the moon and the night blowing in through open windows.

Was it a question of the train?

A long lonely train whistle moans down by the Confederate Cemetery. I can follow the sound around each slow curve of the Ocmulgee River, red like a bloodstain, flowing to the sea. Boxcars move haltingly past the feet of guardian angels, their stone cold hands carved in permanent repose.

The long dead residents of Rose Hill are listening behind ivy covered doors. Alone in the moonlight I have seen their spirits rustle up and down the hills like leaves scattered by the wind. Now they watch in silence as the train lumbers on, leaving a hush on the hillside. Soon it will charge the river, hooting all the way.

In a nearby room dresser drawers rake open. Long fingers curl through doors cracked with yellow light to pull me back from the rivers of night.

Pajama-clad, my brothers and I are the last to be packed into the faithful baby blue Plymouth patiently anchored at the curb, now ready to set sail on our long day's journey to the coast.

At the other end of a shimmering ribbon of highway our little beach house waits like an oasis bleached white as bones in the August sun. By days' end our hot tired bodies will be blissfully soaked in the sea.

Tonight the swish and swirl of the tide will sing me to sleep and by first light tomorrow I'll be drawn up from the black hole of sleep by the seagulls' cackles and caws, as a deliciously familiar dream gives way to reality.


Welcome, welcome,
welcome to St. Simons!

BlueMoon Publishing

2011 All Rights Reserved
Sandy Jones


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