Wednesday, March 18, 2015


The Tyrees lived sorta on the outskirts of Paxton, in one of those old gray-weathered houses you see way off the road, with shadowy gray outbuildings and a gaggle of dogs to match. The yard ran mostly true to expectations, with several unseemly bits of rusting machinery or cars, a scattered collection of tools, battered toys and one incongruous thing of beauty---a gleaming bottletree.

That one bit of Beautiful in that devastated yard drew the eye, out of place and beguiling---every shade of blue and green glinted from the stubs of a big mimosa, whose lopped-off limbs were testament to a seldom-seen Ice Storm which had shut down the community for nine days three years ago, taking out power, turning out school, halting traffic and toppling trees burdened too far past bearing. Trees which did survive were shorn of their roundness, leaving flat-planed surfaces where the limbs held up as long as they could under the growing weight, then domino-collapsed upon each other in an avalanche of shattering crystal and crackling wood. 

The mimosa, in Summer all tiny fern-leaves and powderpuff blossoms, had succumbed to the ice-weight all over, leaving a bare sculpture of shortened limbs, and piles of long slender poles which emerged from the melt like a glacier giving up ancient bones.

The bottles had been collected over the years---the sun-catching cobalt bottles from Milk of Magnesia and fancy-water from Hardy Lake Country Club's dumpster sprang up like a blue halo all over the tree, accented by a dozen or so slender Blue Nun winebottles, culled from the town dump. And in amongst the stunning blues, the pale Co-Colas, with the punch of Mountain Dew or Seven-Up green.  An amber collar of wider-mouth, stout-statured Garrett Snuff bottles ringed the tree on the stubs of the thicker lower limbs.

 And in that tatty yard, with its blown landscape of rust and neglect and other trees and bushes punctuated by the inflating flutters of white plastic store-bags, with a half-dozen tossed Pampers wind-scooted up against buildings and bushes, that blue-jeweled tree stood worthy of Hesperides, gleaming in the sun like a Chihuly true-sprung from the ground.

Nobody in town knew just which of the Tyrees had such a hand, such a longing for just one thing pretty, but town notion had it that it was the second-oldest Tyree boy, Aden, who had been painting the fairy-tale chalk murals on the board at Paxton Elementary since he was five and had to stand on a chair to finish the castle tower. He was eleven when the first person driving past on that long gravel road noticed the gleams of blue in that dismal clutter. Now that his whipcord frame allowed him to do the work of a man with his Dad and brothers, and the tree had slowly become encrusted with sapphire glints from all sides, he spent any free time keeping to the woods and the fields with a book and a sandwich, passing his days in dreams-of-better and forays into Camelot and Middle Earth and Narnia, living through Heroes, longing for MORE.

He'd sprouted that beautiful beacon in his wilderness, just to look at.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo! I hope you have written and published some book, 'cause you are quite a writer! Being from Mississippi, I enjoyed this.