Near Holly Springs: Good Friday by Jeff Streeby

Cold. Skies gray and low after a week of storms. Won’t be much of a weekend.

But that’s mostly a hollow complaint, I guess. Every year it’s nice or it’s not and every year I’ve stopped here, no matter what, on my way home for Easter. I can’t tell you why exactly. The house has been empty my whole life. My cousin still used the barn off and on until last spring. For as long as I can remember, Great Granddad’s 2-up work harness, stiff, rotten, layered with sixty or seventy years of cobwebs, hung undisturbed on its hooks in the feed room.

This time there’s not much left at all. The yard and the driveway are overgrown waist deep in burdock and fireweed. The barn is a broken foundation filled with rain-soaked debris of its burning. Among the ashes are a handful of rusty buckles and rings and the charred driving bits from the old bridles. The house is a roofless ruin being salvaged for its full-cut lumber.

On the front porch, an old journal, coverless and waterlogged, its entries in my great grandmother’s elegant script. Among a few still-legible fragments is one that bears a date: “November 1, 1897. Monday. A clear crisp day. Henry has gone to town to…” and the rest is washed out and
unreadable. Here I can’t help but remember that the iron bridge he would have used was pulled down ten years ago and all the ditch dikes are melting away. Now the old road dead-ends in a slough.

Across the fence, my cousin’s new tractor mired to the axles.

In the bottom pasture, Wolf Creek almost back in its banks.

Flooded fields— fish trapped in shallow pools.

In Just-

spring, my vigil office.


One thought on “Near Holly Springs: Good Friday by Jeff Streeby

  1. ericamilesx

    Beautiful description of an old rural setting gone to seed. Since I am a city girl, it took a leap of imagination for me to relate to it, but Jeff Streeby paints the picture with such meticulous detail, I could mentally brush the cobwebs in the corners, I could feel the dried out leather of the harnesses, I could decipher the elegant, handwritten entries in his grandfather’s journal and miss the parts washed out. And finally, I could both smell and see the fish in the dried out creek, and I could feel Mr. Streeby’s astonishment at his vision on Good Friday. And relish and respect his amazing ability to discover beauty in decay.



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