The Fourche Mountains by Sugarray77
Sense of Place Short Story writing prompt entry
I walk through the silent night just before dawn, my way lit by the late moon rising. The pockets of mist on the creek swirl about my feet. I've come to fish on the Fourche La Fave.
Tucked into the back pocket of Arkansas lies a vast forest crisscrossed with streams and creeks. The feeling of the 1920s permeate the area as proclaimed by the scattered country cemeteries where the graves are old and no one has recently been buried. We still tell stories of moonshine runs, feuds, and fights. Here, the hardwood forest is barely peppered with evergreens. We have sent the pine trees to North Carolina; they are happy there. I am at home here in the Ouachita Mountains. My people are buried here amidst the sandstone and grit.
Our family came and settled this corner called the Fourche Mountains. We've been told stories about, and still see, the dusty dirt roads, the fields of cotton, and old gray barns back in the trees. We have a General Store, a small church, and the Fourche La Fave creek.
We gather each May to celebrate Decoration Day at the Shed cemetery. It is tucked back against a brace of trees and surrounded by a fence. The Hickory trees are over a century old and provide a place for us to spread the tablecloths for the family pot luck dinner on the ground. The graves are decorated by each family's daughters and no one is in a rush to be done. All is reflection and respect. The cemetery wears a hush as relatives go from grave to grave. Not until the task is complete is the food brought out for the feast. The brightly decorated graves smile at us as the family reunion begins. The ancient ones are glad we still assemble.
The Fourche La Fave runs nearby and is crossed by many dirt roads. The one leading to the cemetery dips down and you have to drive through the creek to get there. It's not a problem unless its high from rain; then you drive through anyway. The fishing hole is further on down the way.
I've come to fish for our supper. The Fourche is much wider here and pools and eddies in circles. It's deeper and holds several kinds of fish. The tall trees on each side make a green canopy overhead and filters the sunlight down onto me. My spot is at the foot of an old hickory with exposed roots. I have packed the dirt down over the years and it fits me perfectly. It's my familiar summer hideaway.
The water is running fast this morning and the mist is lifting as the sun gets higher. The creek is rushing by gurgling its way to the Ouachita River. It won't be content there, for it must see the Arkansas. It doesn't know it yet, but the Arkansas will give it over to the mighty Mississippi, who will toss it into the Gulf. If only the creek had been content to stay in the mountains.
I am happy and peaceful here as I fish. I see a tiny bit of still water where tadpoles squirm. They are gray with silver flecks and flit about excitedly. They will make splendid frogs. I hear the squirrels up in the trees barking furiously. A threat has come into their world or its a domestic dispute. They both sound the same to me.
I need to leave now. My string of fish will feed us this night and there are still chores to do. But, I will be back. Before dawn, on a cool summer morning, when the mist swirls over the creek, I will come and fish on the Fourche La Fave.
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