It was coming fall and I was looking out over the valley at the leaves of the trees, like the Tulip Poplar and Birch and Black Cherry turning yellow or golden color. The Dogwood and the Sourwood plus the Shining Sumac, they turn more a red or maroon shade. The leaves of the Hickory and Oak trees turning either orange and brown or russet shade. Different types of Maple trees having their own fall colors. Sugar Maple leaves have that orange-red shade. The Black Maple leaves glowing yellow.
Oh it’s pretty alright, but I look at these swirling canopies and stone overlooks jutting out into the sky as being more like a covering to my mountain, like one of mamma’s Jesus quilt’s she lays down over my bed, the one I seem to make for myself. Her proof being that God made us like the earth, good and bad and good in bad. Flowing down to the valley like a wild bird perched over the Fiery Gizzard to the gurgling sentient streams and waterfalls, the high lakes is where you can tell the truth though, where the dark eyes of the old coke ovens open at night, vacuuming up the daylight façade of this dirty little town, down into the old shafts, where Pa wrote his last words in the dark coffin asking mamma to raise me right so I could join him in heaven. Down in the blackness of this whole experiment they call us, in places you never want to go, our only treasures being the well-kept secrets we kept so well, laid so low at a bottom of the caves there aint none could get a breath there. And after what’s happened to me, I guess my fate is in the lower places, and won’t be getting up there to see Pa any time soon.
I was maybe fifteen, going up to where the little road comes off main, outside Tracy, thinking it had to be noticed, something was going on, such an odd bunch coming and going. Especially when the blacks was coming, despite that sign saying they don’t need to be found up here after dark.
Being interested, I’d ride up on my bike and watch from a little ridge in front of the big blue farm house with its wide porch, and the barn they fixed up as some other place to gather when they did. And a large lawn, where today I saw about twenty of them out there doing the strangest things.
A brunette was pushing a man with red hair on the shoulder then spun around and bulldogged through a tall woman with blonde hair tied up on her head, A short man was yelling up at a tall one and all sorts of back and forth pushing was going on down the line as the whole bunch was shoving each other and shouting, spinning and turning in what was seemed like they was all drunk.
Then a whistle blew and they all flopped to the ground and started singing. This land is your land, this land is my land. So I guess they owned the place or something I thought to myself, but really knew it wasn’t that, there was more to it.
That’s when I felt the hand on my shoulder and spun round to see someone I never seen up here.
“Hey boy, are you a good American?” he said.
“Yes sir.” I was taught well enough to say yes to this type of question.
He pulled out a badge and I could see it said FBI on it.
“Well your country needs you, come on down here and let’s have a talk.”
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