Sacred Mountain yet rests above the Ohio River in Delhi Hills 45238. But you’ll have to dig under a plenitude of 1960s houses and apartments in what is still called Delshire. I call it the scouring of the Delhi. Over 3,000 residents today. There were 0 human residents in 1960. We often talked of overnighting at an abandoned farmhouse in that census year of zero homo sapiens.
The boy-scout compass we used did not have any GPS functionality. Anyway, here is a link that we also didn’t have at the time to its latitude and longitude. If you have a time machine handy, set the values:
Then set the time for June 1961 (approximate, depending upon the capabilities of your specific time machine). Then look around. You might ask locals about Ma and Pa Wagner’s (native German speakers with super strong accents) shop, the one with all the great candy. They have three cherry-sized things for a penny.
Tolkien had already written about the ‘scouring of the Shire’ but I hadn’t known it at the time. The mythical landscape disappeared before the 60’s were less than half gone. In resume-timeline fashion the 60’s waxed with grade school (1961)and waned with university (1969).
Mythical names are serious tokens of youth. Let’s consider the central stream that cut through the middle of Sacred Mountain, now running into an unnamed cement culvert.
Water has a way with wear. It’s one of the few liquids that actually expand upon freezing, so it floats on water. It floated there in Winter 1960 according to personal witness.
And gravity has a way with attraction. Water seeks its level and finds it. Water coursed down a rapidly moving stream to disclose limestone strata on its water-wearing way to the Ohio, the Mississippi and the sea.
OK Bill, that’s already boring. Tell us about the vines that you lied on and that you swung with, the dust cloud of a pick-up truck and the contents of the barn.
Well, let me just tell you that it was a rapidly running stream with 10 foot falls at one place. Light-grey shale is often slippery when wet (Cuidado!). Expect to slide into the pooling water below.
OK. Food foraging kids of the 50’s living near 315 Glenroy spent every available moment grazing outside. It gave their mothers time alone in a two-bedroom house housing a family of six. Sleeping in the backyard of 315 was one way of escaping the Summer inferno that toasts the air in an unventilated bedroom. ‘Twas the day before air-conditioning in home or vehicle. Walks taken in the middle of the night to visit Dolly the retired horse were called ‘Journeys.’
OK Bill, now you’ve made us uncomfortable and you again lose the narrative to pedantry. So?
There was a tree so heavily covered with vines from canopy to forest floor that it was almost a room: darkness at midday. If you climbed up the tree your head would pop out. The surrounding vines were thick enough to allow you to recline upon them and observe the clouds.
Swinging over a stream via vine is more than bracing, but by the end of the season it’s lack of that water I talked about earlier that results in a dead vine that will suffer no weight. Plan to land on your back. Just suggesting.
A gravel road traced its way from Mt. Alverno Ave. to the cliffs of Sacred Mountain. We knew it not at the time, but the abandoned farmhouse and full-sized barn were slated for scouring. The puffs of gravel dust served as a warning to juveniles (of potentially delinquent status).
Anyway, we shared sentry duty atop that barn. A cloud of dust portended a spoilsport whom we never met in person. A cry of ‘truck’ meant a call to jump down from barn roof to chicken-coop roof, then down upon the ground, and a run to the safety of trees and wood.
The Chantilly Woods was home to a large and hungry wolf. There existed no evidence of its existence, but we would not let that get in the way of a good story. Somehow it gave us pause, so we never ventured into its apocryphal lair. Obviously it jealously guarded the forest against invading juveniles, so we skirted the perimeter in what I will now say was deference to a legend and a nod to the sanctity of myth.
The woods of Chantilly became another bulldozed victim of that demographic watermelon in the throat of time’s serpent; most parents were busily creating baby boomers. All that booming required slapped together units for exploding nuclear families. But that slapping together yielded waste lumber, shingles and nails (a magnet could find in the dust of summer dirt). Sheet by sheet and nail by nail we moved that bonfire-destined lumber before it could be sacrificed to the Wolf god.
As far as anyone can tell, this is the only surviving photograph of a structure assembled completely from waste construction (repurposed). We called it a Shack.
So, anticipating an unasked question, ‘Did that shack have a security system?’
Indeed, it did. A buzzer connected to a hobby-sized battery — wires completed a circuit when an intruding knee pressed down on a sheet of plywood. We intended to frighten potential thieves, instead those thieves stole the entire security system: buzzer, batteries, wires and all 🙂
Thanks for reading.
8 thoughts on “Sacred Mountain, Lost City and an Apocryphal Wolf”
It was a wondrous adventure going along with you on your childhood excursions. The experience and imagery though different only in space and time reminded me in no small way of some of my childhood discoveries. I particularly like the narrative of speaking to yourself, if that’s what it’s call. It gave a positive interruption to the tale and a personal touch, bringing you into the room.
It’s sad too, though. Seeing everything in nature and the imagination give way to progress and the notion of modern, carefree living. Although I must say air conditioning is a boon to one’s personal comfort, despite it ozone depleting refrigerants. And it does provide me a good living.
Capturing the moment of childhood again, enjoyable. Very much so. Thank you.
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I am so glad to read that you enjoyed this narrative so much, it encourages me to continue in this vein. It’s rewarding to hear that my writing evoked similar memories from your own childhood that coincide unexpectedly. Thanks too for specifically noting the literary device I use for bringing in spontaneous voices. I don’t know what the term is called either but it is helpful to imagine interruptions to the tale. They are a kind of internal critics too: I am always my most severe critic.
Now I quite look forward to continuing this saga of a mythical land that contrasts starkly with *progress*. See you at Sacred Mountain 🙂
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I loved this post. It was so evocative of a time, you really captured it beautifully. It was full of great details that just brought it alive and totally captured the magic that can exist in childhood.
It once again set me thinking about my own and the ‘special places’ we had and some of the myths we created, I think it’s great the imagination you have at that time, and how it attaches to everything and sinks into the landscape and imbues it with meaning and you create these whole atmospheres and stories to places, and you naturally connect and are a part of spaces, landscapes and life.But then it’s sad that so much is lost with ‘progress’, how the spaces to roam and drift and dream are getting less and less.
Very inspiring,you have set me reminiscing once again, a joy to read…I want more…..
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Thank you my friend, I hope you overlook the unfortunate tardiness in responding to your lovely comment. It’s what happens when my attention wavers from 315 and memories slumber.
My time machine functions poorly, if at all, in ‘past’ mode; the alarms of present moment don’t relent; fortunately, the memories of myth remain vibrant and I’ve too long delayed delivery of another legend in the 315 chronicles — particularly when a loyal fan remarks ‘…I want more…..’
Perhaps it’s time to replace the vacuum tubes in that time machine. I have some in the next room — they’re next to the slide rule. Literally.
And thank you for outsiders’ insides, insights and your calls to both beauty and truth 🙂
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Reblogged this on words garden.
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Hello Madathil, I am enormously grateful for this kindness. It is a gentle joy to find my Sacred Mountain in Words Garden, among the worlds in words that you garden there. 🙂
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