Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Knapsack 7-9

Notes From My Knapsack 7-9-09

Jeff Gill


Out Across the Hilltops




Some forty feet above Broadway, the Lad and I sat in a swinging bucket of a bench, waiting for the Ferris wheel operator to unload and load passengers right below our dangling feet.


The view around us gave a sense of what made this site worth selecting in 1805, to the pioneers who could not have imagined whiling away leisure hours sitting on a vast electrified circle turning as if by wizardry.


But this charmed circuit showed us, above the treetops, a leaf shrouded simulation of the wooded bowl where they stopped their ox carts and chopped down the first log of their lean-tos.


Straight ahead, Sugarloaf, just to the left of Broadway's indistinct line. Then clockwise around: College Hill, dipping into the saddle where Swasey Chapel sits, and rising to the prow of Prospect Hill, pushing Pearl Street into a broad curve.


Then looking over my shoulder, the breadth of Clear Run valley, the golf course of today invisible from that view; beyond, Alligator Mound ridge running as a north-south wall across the eastern horizon. Switching shoulders, Mount Parnassus to my behind-left, then a sweep across Raccoon Creek to Flower Pot Hill on the far side.


These six hills neatly define a bowl, cut by two watercourses and percolated with a chain of springs out of the south-facing layers that draw their flow down out of what becomes the Welsh Hills to the north.


A sharp glance down ("No rocking" a sign reminds us, which we did not need, paused at the peak of the cycle) and the modern lines and edges and electricity of Broadway and the street fair brings us back to Granville today.


Back down on the ground, we stroll back towards the food booths (Troop 65 fresh cut French fries, hooray!), and pause as we do each year under the traffic light at Broadway and Prospect. "You can't stand here any other time," he reminds me (annually), as we put our right foot on the survey disc and spin around three times.


Some friends walk by as we do this, and ask "is this some old tradition?" Yes, I answer, a new one we're trying to start! And they join in.


There's no place like home, there's no place like home . . . and here we are.


Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; tell him a tale of home, lost and found, at knapsack77@gmail.com, or follow Knapsack @Twitter.com.

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