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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - (September Part 2) - We Did It!


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!


In last week's post, I featured Edgar Guest's "It's September" (which had a fun addendum added later, after my mother saw the post and shared with me her own experience with that poem). I also mentioned that Jeff and I were going to celebrate our engagement on Sunday, exactly 40 years later, by revisiting the place where he proposed.  As Furman students in the South Carolina Upstate, we had hiked up Table Rock, not far from campus and not far from where we moved this year. BIG thanks to everyone who left encouraging words last week for our hike!


Sunday morning, we donned our boots and grabbed our new hiking poles, and off we went! We were hopeful to make it to the top, but the trail is designated as "very strenuous," and I wasn't sure that some past injuries of mine would be keen on such an adventure.  But (drumroll...) - we did it! 


It was a gorgeous day with a bright blue sky and heaps of wildflowers.  We got there early in the morning.  They say to allow three hours up and two down; it's a 7.2 mile round trip.  We took our time and got to the top in four hours, stayed up there an hour enjoying the views (and a bald eagle fly-by), and then took three hours to make our way down. 


Did I mention, "very strenuous"? No way I would have made it without the poles. At the beginning, and at a couple-few points along the way, the trail teases you with regular ground at a gentle slope.  This never lasts long.  Most of the trail is literally huge rock stair steps that have been put on the trail, or carved out of existing rock.  Or, in more than one place, little indentations carved into a rock face, barely larger than an adult-sized foot (sideways).  Then, in other spots, there are just scatterings of rocks and boulders stacked up - and the red painted trail blaze close by on a tree. 


There were a few folks our age and older, with most younger, and, faster.  Most.  A few young ones did struggle in spots! It wasn't as crowded as I thought it might be on the first fall weekend, especially as reviews had mentioned crowds.  Reviews I'd read on the All Trails app ranged from accurate to aspirational to very funny.  One hiker said she experienced all five stages of grief on that hike.  Another said it was just several hours on a stair-climbing machine. 


Anyway, we made it up and down alive and enjoyed the challenge!  Jeff said, "Maybe we should do it every year."  I'm thinking every 40 years sounds good... so, I'll write about it again when we're 100.






     Decades of wear,

     decades of tear,

     but with more than a skip and a hop -

     we dug deep and dug in,

     put in all of our skin,

     and made it somehow to the top.


     Table Rock:

     You want wear and tear?

     Pull up a chair.

     (Though around me, I only saw stone.)

     The Rockies have nothing

     on what I once was.

     Her voice had a wistful tone.

     You talk about years?

     I shed waterfall tears.

     And yet, I still hold my own.


©Robyn Hood Black




We didn't see any bears or rattlesnakes, as had been mentioned in reviews, but one hiker ahead of us had seen a Mama bear and her two cubs, and some other young hikers had seen a rattlesnake. Shortly after we arrived at the top, however, we did see a couple of bald eagles, one flying very close to the few of us gazing at it from the rock outcropping. 




out of the blue

a bald eagle


©Robyn Hood Black


Please visit the one-and-only, creatively adventurous Jama at her Alphabet Soup for this week's Roundup. 

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Poetry Friday - "It's September" by Edgar Guest

Swamp Rabbit Trail, Greenville, SC, in September.


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Fall is UPON us!  I'm not ready, but I welcome it nonetheless... my favorite season. 


Last weekend I had the good fortune to gather with some dear writer/illustrator friends in north Georgia at one of their homes.  My friend lives on 30 acres, and their land includes a waterfall!  It was a glorious afternoon, and then a few of us stayed over for a "slumber party"/campout. Another of our friends is a nature author and superb naturalist/tour guide, so we were immersed in edible leaves and so many gorgeous spiderwebs by day, and a romp through the constellations at night.  I still haven't washed my jacket, because it holds that cozy woodsmoke smell. 


Now that we live in the mountains, I've been falling into longer walks and more uphill bits with thoughts of more hiking.  In fact on Thursday, I broke out the hiking boots and my little pack and went for a 5 1/2-mile walk/wee hike around Furman, some of its woodsy trails, and the paved Swamp Rabbit Trail here. I've got my sights on Sunday, but we'll see how it goes. 


Next year, Jeff and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary.  But this Sunday marks 40 years since he proposed, up on Table Rock - a state park which is not far from here at all.  So, a-hiking we will go.  I've been saying we might not do the strenuous straight-up hike - I think that option is 7-plus miles round trip, and the first three are, well, straight up. Sometimes my legs and feet remind me that over the years I've broken a foot, broken an ankle, and torn an Achilles.  (Not to mention an even worse neck/nerves injury that came my way about nine years ago.) 


BUT... I'm not sure I'll be able to resist the challenge.  And I'd love to see the view.  I'm sure my hubby will be just fine with such a hike, and we'll be tricked out with hiking poles we'll be using for the first time.  Me? We'll see!  It's sure to be beautiful, whether we trek lots of miles or just a few. 


To celebrate the autumn equinox this weekend, here's a poem by Edgar Guest, born in England in 1881.  He moved with his family to the U.S. in 1891, where he grew up to become a newspaper writer and a popular columnist and poet.  He died in 1959.  I was a little surprised at the turn at the end of this poem - worthy of a good ponder. 



It's September

by Edgar Albert Guest


It's September, and the orchards are afire with red and gold,
And the nights with dew are heavy, and the morning's sharp with cold;
Now the garden's at its gayest with the salvia blazing red
And the good old-fashioned asters laughing at us from their bed;
Once again in shoes and stockings are the children's little feet,
And the dog now does his snoozing on the bright side of the street.


It's September, and the cornstalks are as high as they will go,
And the red cheeks of the apples everywhere begin to show;
Now the supper's scarcely over ere the darkness settles down
And the moon looms big and yellow at the edges of the town;
Oh, it's good to see the children, when their little prayers are said,
Duck beneath the patchwork covers when they tumble into bed.


It's September, and a calmness and a sweetness seem to fall
Over everything that's living, just as though it hears the call
Of Old Winter, trudging slowly, with his pack of ice and snow,
In the distance over yonder, and it somehow seems as though
Every tiny little blossom wants to look its very best
When the frost shall bite its petals and it droops away to rest.


It's September! It's the fullness and the ripeness of the year;
All the work of earth is finished, or the final tasks are near,
But there is no doleful wailing; every living thing that grows,
For the end that is approaching wears the finest garb it knows.
And I pray that I may proudly hold my head up high and smile
When I come to my September in the golden afterwhile.


*THIS JUST IN*:  Late Friday evening, my mother, Nita Morgan, sent me this text:


LOVED your Poetry Friday post!  Love Edgar Guest!  Love "It's September"... I read it in Senior Assembly (September 1955), relating the beginning of our senior year as our "September" of our high school life.  We could capture the essence of September to carry us through to graduation and blossom with the splendor of Spring or we could let the cold of Winter shrink and shrivel our dreams and ambitions and we would never know what could have been. Somehow this has stayed somewhere in my memory all these years.  It comes forth every once in a while when a word or event triggers it.  Of course, I don't have the poem or my speech memorized, but his is the general idea.  I remember what I was wearing that day. So... you stirred the pot really good today with your post!


Who knew?!  I did not. Grateful to my mom for sharing!


Please visit the amazing Carol at Beyond Literacy Link for this week's Roundup; she is the goddess of marking each passing season with amazing online collections of poetry and art!

Happy Fall, Y'all.

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Poetry Friday - Haiku in Remembrance of a Dog

Victorian Trading Card, The Graphics Fairy. thegraphicsfairy.com


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Missed you last week as I was visiting my folks in Florida.  It was strange taking walks around their neighborhood without my tiny walking buddy of the past 10 years.  As I write this post on the 14th, it's six months since I had to have our precious 3 1/2-pound rescued Chihuahua, Rita, put down the afternoon before I moved from coastal Beaufort, SC, to join my husband here at our new address in the Upstate. It was a shock to spend much of my last week there in the emergency vet hospital instead of just packing boxes.


We still miss her naps in our laps, her tail-chasing spins of excitment, and the teeny tapping of the tiniest toenails across the floor.  Three friends of mine lost long-time dog companions this summer, and another lost a favored alpaca.  I've seen online that a Poetry Friday friend just lost a treasured family pup, too.  It never gets easier for any of us, does it?


Haiku always offers me a safe and sometimes surprising place to park my grief, explore our connection with the world, and spark memory or wonder.  Here's a haiku I wrote after Rita died, and which was chosen by this year's Haiku Society of America's Members Anthology editor Allyson Whipple for the upcoming 2023 edition.



first day of spring
my dog's ashes
in the mailbox 


©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved. 



The lovely and talented Rose has our Roundup this week at Imagine the Possibilities.  Thanks for hosting, Rose!

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Poetry Friday - Go See Amy!

Howdy!  Waving on my way to the airport for a quick trip; Amazing Amy at The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.  See you next week! 

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