I’m not sure what era of my life I am in at this point, all I know is that it interests me to know who came before me. I have many old pictures that I look at and some old treasures that once sat on the table of a grandmother and an old wedding ring that was placed on the finger of a grandfather. I still touch the walls and furniture my mother touched, somehow finding a solace there. I Am reminded of my mother when I look into her sister’s eyes and I am reminded of my fathers face when I look at my brothers and at times when I look into the mirror. As I gaze into old pictures of over 100 hundred years ago I am told the story of the life I find inside them. No words are spoken, yet they speak an untold story by merely looking at the surroundings and expressions they hold. Life was hard, but there was a continued perseverance in their souls. My father had five brothers and two sisters. You will only see the first four children as you glance into this picture as well as a great uncle I never knew. It will take you back to a time most of us my age wouldn’t know and have to build the surroundings from what we see. But they knew, and they knew it well. I can imagine my grandfather, the tall dark headed fellow with the hat on his head loading the pulp wood they are about to cut. I can see my grandmother holding my late uncle Johnny, who today would be way over 100 years old had he lived, but he was only four when he died. Life was hard. I can see my aunt Vicy sitting on the log, staring into a blank lens and only wondering what would be made of it. I can imagine how hard my grandmothers work was as she helped in the forest while taking care of her children. I can see her there, standing by my grandfather, a team, yet with little emotion observed. I never knew him. I can feel the elements that are infested within the forest. I can feel the limbs slip by when walking and scratch my skin. I can hear the sounds of silence only told by the inhabitants that belong. I can see the other uncles as they are, as children, held stationary in what was, unable to move any longer, held captive in a moment of time that allows me to decipher their life. I envision these children, blood of my own, working under their father’s orders, much as I did in order to help their family survive and meet the everyday need. As I look at the old tree saw my late uncles are holding, I can hear the slices of each stroke the saw made through the tree and the grainy saw dust that is falling, this done by what seems to be little boys. I assume it to feel damp, coarse, yet at that time still alive until the last push of the saw erases the existence of the tree. A tree that helped complete the forest. One can easily see the small hands of children. I can see that this is an uncomfortable situation for some. There are no smiles, perhaps that’s the way photographs were done in that day. I can see the shyness possessed by the children, as they each have something to hold on to for security. My aunt sitting on the log looks lonely, out of place in a picture that was at best a flash that immortalized the way they were that day. It doesn’t go unnoticed that the weight of my grandfather is resting heavily across an axe. I can forsee after this day’s hard work that a meal was prepared outside with tired hands. A meal made with what was probably game found within the woods, deep in East Texas somewhere. Looking into the depths of the picture, in its black and white existence, far beyond I see a greenery that backdrops a little more pleasant, softer look for each of them in the wilderness. I venture to vision this very spot where this family of mine stood still exists yet doesn’t look the same. A place if I could find it, would allow me to touch and feel the evidence that they were there. The oldest little boy standing behind his sister on the log lived long enough to bury his parents and all but one of his siblings, including my father, who was the baby of the family, and was born way after this photograph was taken. I think about what my uncle saw in his younger siblings, what memories he had, and I am sure he wondered why he had to witness the loss of all that he had known as a child. Looking through years gone by, in what seem to be ancient pictures, I can hear the sounds of silence.
Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)