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Thanks to everyone for joining in the contest. The original post is below:
You can click on the individual picture for better viewing. Two images that go hand in hand. I hiked to the Little Greenbriar Schoolhouse. Like so many settlements named after a familiar landmark...a branch of the Little Greenbriar stream ran cold and clear just beyond the schoolhouse. Only in use for 3 months a year during the 1800's due to the children helping with life's duties...the crops, the firewood and the family cow for the children's milk. The graveyard held the stories of children who attended but never made it to adulthood...the settlement's community resting place. The park ranger pictured spoke from experience...she rode horseback past the settlement day after day as a youth and retold to us the stories of her great grandmother who attended the Greenbriar school. She spoke of the area as if it were a living entity unto itself...with at the same time a respect and a dread in her voice. The beauty of the land and the bounty it gave forth helped ease the harsh existence of day to day dangers of the wildlife, disease and raiders from outside the Cove.
I sat in the schoolhouse on the poplar board benches, forgetting about the darkness that was encroaching for the hike back, entranced by her recounting of early American education...truly... reading, writing and arithmetic. The reader was the family bible, writing was with gypsum on a slab of black slate dug from the Greenbriar and arithmetic counted bushels and miles.
On my return to the trail head, darkness had surrounded me. I reflected on the day, transfixed as I read....
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.