Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Misty Hollow

“Where’re you going Grandpa?” My short legs followed his stride through the tall golden grass out past Grandma’s garden. The grass was dry and shimmered in the sun. It led us to the edge of the farm yard that was marked by the fence line. Grandpa bent over and slipped through the fence wire and then held the wire down for me to scamper through. He still hadn’t answered me.
Then he said, “I want to show you a special place no one knows about. Want to come along and see?” My short legs quickened my pace as I followed him over the little rise up ahead. He was taking me somewhere special – his and my secret I was sure. The golden grass rustled as we walked along.

I was maybe eight years old. Mom and Dad had brought us down to the old farm from the city for this weekend – and then the kids stayed with Grandpa and Grandma while they got a way for a few days down to North Dakota and Montana. My brother and sister were back at the farm house with Grandma.

It was just me and Grandpa. I was the oldest grandson out of all the grandkids – and grandsons were really important to Grandpa… better than the girls I was sure.

As we walked over the rise… suddenly down below us was the Hollow. That day there was a kind of haze, a mist that formed when the weather was just right. It hung in the Hollow.

The Hollow was carved out of the countryside by water running down from the Blue Hills in the distance. In the bottom of the Hollow was the “crick”.

It was maybe a quarter mile until we arrived at a special place in the Hollow where Grandpa stopped, sat down and just looked. He was quiet and so was everything around us. Only the never ending sound of the prairie wind was there – the forever wind. When you were down in the Hollow it was quiet with a peace that almost bothered young boys.

Grandpa simply sat there and savored it all. This was his quiet place and he was sharing it with me. He pulled out his pocket knife and began to carve on a stick that he had fetched from the willow tree. A slice here and a cut there, another few cuts over on this side… something was happening. A new “something” was appearing in front of my eyes. It wasn’t long before he handed me the brand new willow flute and said, “Try it.”

Amazing! From that small fresh branch he had quickly carved a willow flute.

Then something else happened that was even more magical. He reached into his pocket and pulled out pocket knife and gave it to me. “This one is yours. Try it and see what you can make.”
As I began whittling on a stick he gave me, he sat quietly looking over the Hollow. It was as if he had been here many times. It was his special place away from the noisy places in his life. This day he was sharing it with me. It was our quiet place together – just me and Grandpa, our pocket knives and the Hollow.

In my mind it was “Misty Hollow” and has remained that way for 56 years. Grandpa is gone now… and I am a Grandpa. And now I return to the Hollow every once in a while – in my mind.


In the past few years I was able to go back and actually see it again personally. The peace is still there and the wind is always blowing. Nothing has changed in the Hollow. The old farm is only a memory now. The row of bushes around Grandma’s garden are still there but there is no evidence of the life that used to live there, of the happy and sad days, of the noise of the house and the need to get out to sit somewhere in the Hollow.

Everyone needs a Misty Hollow. Over the years I have been able to find one wherever I have lived. I walk out to it away from the madness of my life.

About 10 years ago I joined some friends for a very early morning meeting on top of one of our highest hills. It was just before sunrise. Few people below were up yet. From the top of Amour Hill you can watch the beauty of the sunrise.

There to the east was the glowing ball rising again. Down below the mist had gathered in the dozens of Hollows that lay to the east. Each Misty Hollow was a place where some one lived. The smoke hung from some one’s chimney mixed with the mist of the early morning. It was so peaceful in the Hollow.

My Aboriginal friends told me that they believe these Hollows were made by the finger of God as he created the earth – making a special place for people to love – a place of peace.

Back to the Family Farm…
Grandpa went to the Hollow often. I imagine it was to escape the fact that the house was small and with 8 kids at the fullest time, there was always noise in his life.
When his first son was born a paraplegic, I imagine that is when he found the need to go there.
When times were really tough through the “dirty thirties” he likely walked there a lot too.
During the Second World War, when his one son was possibly going to be shipped out overseas – he walked there more often.

In his pocket was the same knife that he cut apples with, whittled his wooden sticks and also dug out the manure/mud from his boot treads. He cleaned the knife on his pant leg between uses…but that is another story about Grandpa…

Back home…
Wherever “Home” has been in my life I have always found and kept a "Misty Hollow" for me. In these past years I have retreated there often when the swirl of the business was nuts. When the human hurt around me is bigger than my soul can bear I retreat to the Misty Hollow again and again.

Today I welcome you to Misty Hollow. I haven’t taken many here – only my friends… and my grandkids.

After you spend some time with me… I hope you will find a Misty Hollow of your own.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
PS – Misty Hollow is where Misty Hollow Carvings come from – now you know my secret. Please tell some one…

1 comment:

Brenda said...

That's a beautiful Blog today, Murray. My misty hollow is our forest. Every-one needs a quiet place, even if it's found in a memory.
Beautiful memories are gifts that can never be taken away.
Have a Great Day.