Painting by Wendy Harty 2008.
My bench welcomes me back home after roaming. Yesterday I went “roaming home” again with a verse from Brewster Higley’s “My Western Home” playing in my mind as we traveled the dusty backroads; “Where the deer and the antelope play, where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the sky is not cloudy all day.” We passed herds of the pronghorn gleaning in the combined fields with the bucks standing watch over the does. I love watching the antelope flocks and when they are in motion can reach top speeds of around 55 mph. Their white rump hairs raise in alarm at any danger.
Roaming the hallways of my brain is Keziah Atwood Gibbs, my 5th grandmother. She is no longer ricocheting around as I toyed with an idea for a novel but I’ve settled into her being in my thoughts. I hope she and I can live happily together for as long as it takes to write her story. Truly as I come to research and understand her life, I have fallen in love with her: the little girl watching from the porch for her father, Stephen Atwood, to come home; the girl learning to spell her name K e z i a h, from the Book of Job, in the Bible; the girl as everyone around her is sorrowing, with a tear falling from her cheek. Keziah’s life is about to have a dramatic upheaval as the family struggles for survival.
Forbidden. Just one word written at the end of a church record, March 10th, 1743. If you are following along with the story, Forbidden – A Story of Keziah Atwood Gibbs, could you do me a favor and in the comments, write that one word, Forbidden.