The Other Side of America
Emancipated from imposing walls,
I bolt out of closeted hotel doors.
Free from the constant hum of comfort machines,
All designed to isolate the mind and body,
From Mother Nature and the great beyond.
A whiff of the tingling, crisp Georgian air,
Jump starts a kick into my feet.
Off I go into the expanse,
Stepping, almost tripping into Augusta,
On the other side of America.
My ears take in the music of birds,
Melodies new and exciting,
Thrills for a passionate lover of birds, that's me !
They are the only privileged creatures,
That traverse higher planes of existence, habitually.
Giant trees loom on either side of the wide road.
Time to pay respect to the elderly.
Such wonderful shades of green,
Truly an artist's envy.
Massive trunks, loaded branches,
Evidence of a sumptuous growth,
So nicely fed by kind Georgian rains.
Bright red seeds strewn on my path below,
Point up to their source,
The glossy maternal magnolias,
Now bereft of her kids, the blooms.
They are in good company though,
With the dogwoods, that tremble
With their display of dancing leaves.
Carpeted on the sidewalks,
Are tiny spider like flowers,
Like the ones seen in India.
Oh, yes, they are indeed from the Texas Neem.
They yield the same healing fragrance,
When crush-tested, eagerly by me.
Further on, I see well built fences,
Behind which are gardens so spacious.
Tucked away in the back,
Are gigantic white mansions.
Reminders of a colonial past.
I fancy carriages and coat tails,
Women with ballooning skirts,
With coiffured hair topped with hats.
Children all well dressed,
Teasing young puppies to death.
Cars and jeans somehow don't seem to rhyme,
Near homes such as these.
Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian ,
Large churches lined side by side,
Sit on acres of superfluous land.
What will the scene be like,
Tomorrow with the Easter Sunrise ?
Augusta's huge edifices of learning,
Stretching mile after mile,
Beckon the student and seeker in me,
To take to the concrete, winding paths.
Halls bear names of the famous.
A church like gymnasium sits across a Theater for Arts.
Both impressive in architecture.
On my return, I see a cop slow down his car
While gazing at me.
A friendly wave, I gesture with a smile,
I felt the need to let him know, I am clean .
For I was wearing my salwar kameez !
A campus lonely, with just buildings,
Is as boring as the dense flowerless bushes,
Of narcissus, azaleas and irises,
With only the color, green.
The next day's walk along the same route,
The difference were the birds, all visible now.
The human in me stretches out
To merge into their festivities.
Mocking birds, screech, struggling to copy others.
Demure brown thrashers, hop from branch to branch, in pairs.
Melodic phrases issue from little birds,
Tinier than my fingers.
Their favorite haunt, the pine trees.
From there I hear a haunting
Easter Sunrise Harmony.
Amidst this peaceful adventure,
The only rude interruptions,
Were the noisy, fancy cars, whizzing by.
Oh, the harshness of modernity,
Leaves me to wonder,
Do birds have sore throats like us ?