A couple of days ago, I pulled to the end of my driveway and ran smack upon a sheriff’s car, lights flashing, blocking the road to the right. I thought somebody up that way might be cutting down a big tree.
But no, it was the film crew for that movie they’ve been shooting around town, “Devil All the Time.” It appeared they were using an old abandoned shack as background while filming two men in a 1940s pickup driving down the hill … then up the hill … the down the hill again …
Outside of that unexpected development, life has been pretty placid out here in Choccolocco Valley.
The cherry trees bloomed, and it was breathtaking. And then it rained, and all the blossoms fell off.
The azaleas bloomed, and they were bigger and brighter than I’ve ever seen. And then it rained, and most of the blossoms fell off.
The dogwoods are blooming now, and there’s rain in the forecast.
The porch was covered in pine pollen, but then it rained, and now the porch is covered in things that look like dead earthworms, which Google tells me are pine pollen cones.
The titmouse that always nests on the back porch is sitting on eggs.
I saw my first firefly two days ago.
The birds are chirping, the spring peepers are peeping.
The neighbor dogs have been barking up the same tree for a week straight.
There was a cat fight outside the bedroom window at 4 a.m. last night.
Lawnmowers whir on every side.
One of the quirks of living out here is that every so often, always at night, a big ol’ propellor-driven airplane will fly low overhead, so close and loud you think surely it’s about to crash.
The neighbors think it’s the National Guard, up from Montgomery to practice night-flying over mountainous terrain. But nobody knows for sure.
My friend George Smith and I shared an appreciation for this valley. He taught me to respect its past, and to be still and notice its gifts.
One of my favorite George columns is called “Old Sam, cool creek, ’n’ memories.” It ends like this:
I am still in my fourth year, mainly where I’ve been in this field of memory, and I am standing with my maternal grandfather in his front yard in Pleasant Ridge.
It is a lovely autumn day and the honking of the wild geese flying above the valley falls in a soft melody on my ears.
We look up and a flock of Canadian geese, 100 or more, are flying south in a perfect V.
“Won’t be long ’fore it’s winter,” says my grandfather.
Even today, I wonder about that because in my memory of those years of old Sam and cotton fields and cool creeks and Roy Acuff on the Grand Ole Opry, it was always summertime in Choccolocco Valley.
Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.