|Cypress along Town Creek|
Mom always questioned why I never added salt
nor understood why I felt I received more than enough.
The Army Corp of Engineers gouge the river channels
so larger ships can bring us more stuff
along with salt that moves upstream in the deeper veins.
The cypress that once lined the river and the connecting estuaries,
Spanish moss dangling from their limbs,
also don’t like the extra salt.
They die, shedding the bark as a snake abandons its skin,
only the snake continues to live, at least for a season.
Mom never liked snakes
though she can no longer acknowledge her fear
Sitting, she stares and asks no questions.
In time, even the snake will fade from memory,
but my questions remain.
I was back home last week to check up on my mom and to do some fishing off Cape Lookout with my dad. For background, my mom is now in a care center. As you might remember as I have discussed before in this blog, she has Alzheimer’s. Nine years ago, it was confusion and forgetting what she’d said or was doing. But it rapidly progressed and she hasn’t been able to talk in years nor does she know us. My dad and I scuttled the fishing as the weather changed and the waves were rough and breaking over the bow of the boat. Instead of heading out into salt water, we took a kayak trip from Rice’s Creek to Town Creek (I’ll write more of the trip and share more photos later). The trip took us from the pure black water of a Cypress swamp to the brackish water that is causing the death of the cypress. The photo was taken near the point where the dying has begun and as you can see, the dead and the live trees are beside each other, but soon they’ll all be dead. When the cypress dies, its bark sheds and the tree remains standing as a bleached out ghost, Spanish moss dangling on the slowly disappearing arms. Thinking about the cypress and my mom and the changes we are all experiencing, I attempted to write a poem.