A Walk Along the Old Tracks
By Robert Kinsley
When I was young they had already been
abandoned for years
overgrown with sumac and sour apple,
the iron scrapped, the wood long
gone for other things.
In summer my father would send us along them
to fetch the cows from the back pasture,
a long walk to a far off place it seemed
for boys so young. Lost again for a moment
in that simple place,
I fling apples from a stick and look for snakes
in the gullies. There is
a music to the past, the sweet tones
of perfect octaves
even though we know it was never so.
My father had to sell the farm in that near perfect time
and once old Al Shott killed a six foot rattler on the tracks.
"And when the trolly was running" he said, "you could jump
her as she went by and ride all the way to Cleveland,
and oh," he said, "what a time you could have there."
The weather on Saturday was as near to perfect as possible -- low 60s, no clouds, leaves distinctly red-gold -- and though we had to spend a lot of time in the car, we also got to see a lot of trees and sky, so that was all good. Adam was running in the Glory Days Grill Invitational at Bull Run Park in Manassas, and I hadn't realized what a big gathering it would be -- dozens of schools, hundreds of runners, corporate sponsors giving out swag and selling running gear. We arrived just as the seeded varsity boys began their 5K race, so we got to see Sean McGorty at the start of what would be a course record run in 14:45. Adam finished in 18:42, which was a good time for him but he wanted to break 18:30.
After waiting for Adam to finish cooling down, we drove from Manassas to Dickerson, Maryland, where A Paca Fun Farm was having its Fall Fiber Festival to coincide with the Countryside Artisans tour (unfortunately it was too late to go to any of those places). We got to pet a baby alpaca and meet lots of others, plus the two big dogs that protect them, and there was cider in the shop. In the evening after Maryland pulled out a victory over Virginia, Adam went out to dinner with Maddy -- who made me a wallet out of penguin duct tape! -- and Paul and I had squash, chick pea and lentil stew and watched the first episode of Call the Midwife, which I liked quite a bit despite being squeamish about medical stuff.