There are at least two Lebanon, Ohio’s. This is not the big one. Most people never pass through this Lebanon, unless they’re heading to Rolling Ridge Berry Farm. Ever notice how places named Lebanon and Bethlehem and Bethel and Sharon--all those holy site names--seem to be heartbreakingly beautiful?
I wonder if they still repair RCA televisions at Hamilton’s. I’m thinking not, but you never know. You could probably buy Slim Jim’s there, though. You don't see many asbestos shingles any more...not that I'm nostalgic.
This little building, with its lilac sentinel, pulled at my heart. I thought of Kate Wolf’s 1977 song, The Lilac Bush and the Apple Tree:
A long time ago we were planted by hands
That worked in the mines and the mills,
When the country was young and the people who came
Built their homes in the hills.
But now there are cities, the roads have come,
And no one lives here today.
And the only signs of the farms in the hills
Are the things not carried away.
Broken dishes, piles of boards,
A tin plate, an old leather shoe.
And an Apple tree still bending down,
And a Lilac where a garden once grew.
thanks to Mikey DG for the lyric link and the CD!
After we picked berries, we wound back down the country roads, seeing wonders all along the way. First was some Queen Anne’s lace, fiercely backlit by the dying sun. Light is everything, everything, everything.
An odd-colored cow stuck her tongue out at us when we implored her to raise her head.
A thin bay horse raised his for a moment, then went back to grazing amongst the Queen Anne’s lace. No wonder he’s thin—the beautiful weed was thick in his pasture, and nobody likes to eat it.
I was so enthralled with the photo opportunities along the township road that I went too far and missed my turn on the county road. I think it must have been Fate’s hand, because I was able to help a box turtle finish crossing the pavement before I discovered my error. He had been manhandled years ago by a car, a coon or coyote; you can see the asymmetry of his spinal ridge toward the rear, and the chewed spots on the fringe. It’s hard to find an older box turtle around here who doesn’t tell a sad story with its shell. But he was heavy and bright and could close up well, so I left him with dinner, safe in the woods.
As the evening was dying and we neared our home, we spotted a neighbor, out with her baby. He looked so happy to be alive, and he gave us a goofy wet smile, kicked and wiggled, smooth and plump as a blueberry. He reminded me of a card Ruthie the NatureKnitter sent (along with a hand-knitted bison wool neckwarmer!) that said,
"I hope that I never become so used to the world that it no longer seems wonderful."**