I have lived in Birmingham for nearly 25 years now, and I am embarrassed to say that until this weekend I had never ventured into the very lovely northwest part of the state that includes Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia and Sheffield - otherwise known as the Quad Cities. My amazing hostesses were Pat Weaver and Sheila Renfro, and among other things, we visited Helen Keller's birthplace, which is called Ivy Green. While there, I decided the next poem in the historical women series will be about Helen, from the perspective of her dog.
See? Writers simply MUST travel.
Pat welcomed me into her home AND The Barn, where I got my horse fix. It had been about five years since my last ride, so she put me on Dixie and we took off on the trail. I swear, I had forgotten what it is like to canter and feel that rush of wind through the hair. Plus it was dusk, and we walked through a creek or two... absolutely gorgeous.
On Saturday morning, Pat took me for a surprise, and what a surprise it was. Ever heard of The Wall? Well. Tom Hendrix who is an amazing storyteller has built a memorial for his Euchee ancestor Miss Mary. Mary was removed to Oklahoma (Trail of Tears) and miraculously made the journey back to Alabama, all by herself, so she could be in a place where the rivers sing. Tom's goal has been to put one stone for every one of Mary steps. It's an amazing spiritual place, and I am still completely moved by the experience.
Go. You won't regret it.
And finally there was the Schmooze, which was the whole excuse for the trip. I was delighted to serve on a panel with Rachel Hawkins and Lindsey Leavitt, and of course connect with all the wonderful writers in the room. What an excellent way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Special thanks to Pat. I'm so glad to know you.