other old ones he remembered, or they remembered, would ap-
pear in his mind and he would tell about them: how his grandpaw
would tell you a big tale and you could hear him laugh a mile;
how old man Will Keith, a saw-logger, who worked a big horse
and a little one, would take hold of the little horse’s singletree to
help him on a hard pull; how Art’s own father, Early Rowanberry,
never rode uphill behind a team even when the wagon was
empty. By then Art’s distant travels were long past. On his and
Andy’s Sunday journeys, having no place far to go, they were
never in a hurry. It was never too early or too late to stop and talk.
And when Andy needed help, if Art knew it, he would be there.
“Do you need anything I got?”
After so many days, so many miles, so many remindings, so
much remembering and telling, Andy understood how precisely
placed and populated Art’s mind was, how like it was to a sort
of timeless crossroads where the
living and the dead met and recog-
nized one another and passed on
their ways, and how rare it was, how
singular and once-for-all. When Art
would be gone at last from this
world, Port William would have no
such mind, would be known in no
such way, ever again.
Andy Catlett, under the same
mortal terms of once-for-all, has
kept Art’s mind alive in his own.
Some of Art’s memories Andy
remembers. As he follows and
crosses Art’s old footings over the
land, adding his own passages to the unseen web of the land’s
history, some of those old ones, who were summoned by reminding into Art’s mind, still again and again will appear in Andy’s.
And so it is into Andy’s thought, into his imagining, that Art
has come walking up the hill on that bitter March day thirty years
ago. Andy now is an old man, remembering an old man, once
his elder and his teacher, with whom he is finally of an age.
work. When the legs of his coveralls were worn and torn past
mending, he lopped o= the bottom half, hemmed up the top
half, and thus made a light jacket that lasted several more years.
When he needed a rope, he braided a perfectly adequate one with
salvaged baler twine. He thus maintained a greater intimacy between himself and the things he wore and used, was more all-of-a-piece, than anybody else Andy ever knew.
As he climbed the hill, still keeping to the graveled track, old
Preacher still walking behind with his head and tail down, Art
watched the creek valley close on his right hand as the river valley opened on his left. As the country widened around him he
breathed larger breaths. And the higher he went, the flatter the
horizon looked, in contrast to the alternation of hill and hollow
in the view from the creek bottom. He reached a place where
he could look out and down over the tops of the bare trees instead of through them. He stopped
again then and took in the whole
visible length of the larger valley,
from the gray, still-winterish slope
that closed it only a couple of miles
upstream to the low rampart, blue
with distance, that lay across it
down at the mouth of the river.
He turned presently and went
on, the wind pushing him. Soon
the track leveled, and he and the old
dog were walking along the crest
of the ridge. He was walking—as
Andy, on his walks with him, had
from time to time realized—both
through the place and through his consciousness of the presence
and the past of it, his recognition of its marks and signs, as his
movement through it altered the aspect of it.
He and time were moving at about the same pace. He was
neither hurried by it nor hurrying to catch it, his thoughts coming whole as he thought them, with nothing left out or left over.
If he seemed to be getting ahead of his thoughts, he stopped
He was passing a high point out to his left above the river
valley. In a certain place out there were what he had known for
many years to be the graves of people who lived and were forgotten long before the time they might have been called Indians. He
knew what they were because, back before the war, on a similar
height of ground above Willow Run, a professor from Lexington
had come and carefully dug up some graves of the same kind.
Art went to see them while they were open, with the remains of
skeletons lying in them. That taught him what to look for, and he
found these on his own place. The giveaway was flagstones
He and time were moving
at about the same pace.
He was neither hurried by it
nor hurrying to catch it,
his thoughts coming whole as
he thought them, with
nothing left out or left over.
ART WAS WEARING a winter jacket which, in its youth, had
closed with a zipper down the front, but which, the zipper failing, he had overhauled with a set of large buttons and buttonholes, strongly but not finely sewn.
There may have been a time, Andy thinks, when Art was
skilled at such work. From his time in the army and before, he
had been used to doing for himself whatever he needed done.
His hands, hard-used and now arthritic, had become awkward
at needlework, and yet he had continued to mend his clothes,
pleasing himself both by his thrift and by the durability of his