The Days to Come

“…And in all of the days to come, her heart would beat in this land, and she would be content….”

It took me a full year to find it, in a sparsely populated place called Bachelor Road tucked like a forgotten ruby amongst the cascading treed hills of Rose Township along a tiny dot of a long-dead settlement called Morges just on the edge of my beloved Appalachia. It’s almost precisely ten miles due North of my place in the long, green valley, a few miles East of a pretty little New Englandish floodplain town called Magnolia where they make tiny batches of real ice cream at the drug store and a smithy twists glowing hot iron into lawn art for Amish-seeking tourists.

…Just behind the social hall rolls out a serene sunny pasture of shimmering green populated by a healthy herd of white-faced, razor-backed Red Hereford cows with their calves. The matron of this family is a well-muscled dark burgundy lady with a shamefully docked tail who looks to be somewhere between 16- and 20-years-old and shows all the signs of old aged neglect though she is still heavy in gestation. Just over the fence on the East end of the churchyard is a well manicured cemetery neatly sectioned up and down the hillside and filled with stately rows of long-forgot Caspers and Darrs and Brankels all sleeping silently under the graceful copper-clad white steeple of St. Mary’s Church.

An anonymous priest comes every morning at 9 to say low Mass before locking the door and disappearing. Stained glass windows sparkle like jewels in the morning light, and I have frequently felt rather lucky and a little bit spoilt to be the only one here when two lone candles are lit and the Canon is said.

Baby likes to come with me and sit in the shade under the row of lithe, elderly emerald-gowned black locusts that separates the brown brick social hall and the cows, leaning sleepily into my hip whilst I watch the white clouds billow and roil across the southern horizon, listening to the birds and the rustling music of the trees whilst the cattle switch their tails and chew cud.

This parish is not listed on any map I have seen of the diocese. I stumbled over it going up to the farm one morning early this Spring to collect my beautiful milk. A small wooden sign dressed in peeling white paint and small black lettering that pointed down a tiny road I had not noticed before announced the parish’s existence, so I made a sharp right turn on the way home, half-gallon jars filled with yellow Guernsey milk clattering dangerously with loud voices in protest.

The day was cold, damp and overcast, heavy steel-grey clouds hanging low in the sky. The cattle were chatty that morning, and nosed Baby’s face with friendly interest and he quickly learned how to avoid the electric fence so that he could frolic in the tall grass with the Spring calves. An hour after we arrived that first time, the priest came and unlocked the door. He said nothing when he eyed Baby lying quietly at my feet in a pew towards the back, and he has said nothing since, only looks up occasionally with a vague smile. Every now and again I see the man who tends the cemetery; he calls me “Babe” and Baby “Baby,” and Baby likes to follow him amongst the big granite headstones whilst he runs the weedwhip, and comes back to me when the scary mower comes out.

Except for the traffic along Bachelor Road which grows with the hours of the day, this place is idyllic. Scott recently said with a chuckle that he couldn’t figure how how I could stand to live out here. This tiny, nearly 200-year-old parish is one of the reasons why. I only wish I had found it sooner…..

I want to stay here forever.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Starrleena Writes Stories
    Jul 04, 2019 @ 16:50:43

    Most serene scenery. Looks heavenly.



  2. Peadar Ban
    Jul 08, 2019 @ 19:00:35

    There isn’t anything to like about this, except everything. Nice to see you again.



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