The Maid of Mendocino


The road turned like a serpent around the meadow that held her house.

Trees and shrubbery surrounded it…and the path had long since surrendered its’ edges. Briar covered the roof and crowded round, but never closed in over the threshold…it seemed held back and curled away from the entrance by an unseen hand. From the road it looked like a green hill with a chimney poked out of the top.

Sunset would illuminate the house, orange/green and bright, while a mist collected to hover above the valley, and all the hill behind was cast in darkness…a portal for the spirits that haunted the hollow.

I knew her when she was young…not beautiful, but attractive as a robin in spring, with a smile that widened to enclose you in warmth and eager innocence. She was fond of churchyards and cemeteries, and brought her beaus there to try and raise the dead.

Electric she was.

Somewhere, the weight of life had stooped her; and removed that smile…replacing it with nothing at all. The turns of fate had bruised her, and all her fond memories became fonts of regret.

Life does that…wears us to nubs, that bristle at offense and shy from strangers…or friends.

Except for the salt thrown over the shoulder, knocking on wood, and positioning  forks, knives, chairs, and mirrors in mysterious patterns to ward off the devil…she was not really witch-like at all…more like a woman who functioned as a levee against the irrational tides of the universe…. She wielded the sign of the cross like a heavy sword, and the kids in town had mocked her, with various rumors of sightings and suspicions, none of them accurate…none of them kind.

There are many contradictions in the march toward ending… which come round and round again with nagging insistence. I remember now, with a little regret, that I never did walk up her path…never knocked, or even stopped in the road that wound around. The distractions that drove me past were too compelling for a detour.

Now she is gone…and all of her loves are lost. No one lamented her passing, except the birds that nested in the roof…a fluttering of wings; and a sorrowful song, not angelic; not redemptive…just a birdy tune of simple oblivion.

There are three things men can do with women: love them, suffer for them, or turn them into literature.
~Stephen Stills


~ by theoxherd on September 8, 2013.

2 Responses to “The Maid of Mendocino”

  1. I’m glad you are writing again

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: