Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Sage For Our Age

His name is Daryl. As he stood over my woodpile determining how much wood would be needed for our winter supply I once again was overwhelmed with affection for this simple man of imposing height and humble ways. I asked if I could take a photo of him and tell his story to my friends; I wanted to pay him homage.

He blushed and shyly mumbled, "I reckon" as he drew his shoulders back and stood tall and proud.



You see, Daryl has every reason to be proud; at age seventy-six, he is the last of his breed around these parts. This photo does not reveal the long silver platted mane that falls down his back, a clinging remnant of his early youth.

He, long ago, was a 'bad ass' hippy motorcycle gang member from the Woodstock generation. And to hear the tales, he was the real thing. Finally settling down in the California desert, Daryl became lonely and advertised for a wife in ‘Cycle’ magazine. Melanie read the ad from Tennessee, she came and they have been together for thirty two years now. They are our neighbors who live on the sixty-four acres up behind our place and the pair fascinates us with their life stories. They sold us the two cabins and acreage we now own.

Incredibly, Daryl built these two cabins plank by plank rarely using nails but screwing everything tight. With love in every tree that was cut from the surrounding forest, many that were stripped of bark for the charming hand rails that are placed around my front and back porches, every detail a labor of love. He never, ever, intended to sell them; they were to be his pride of ownership to the day he died. We were honored they chose us to buy them; they said it was because we shared their love of their mountain and the sacredness of the animals who lived there.

I remember when my husband Tony, a contractor, came to look at these cabins for the first time in light of our possibly buying them. He was stunned. Daryl did not believe in working within the parameters of county inspectors. He didn’t need to. While they may have demanded 2' X 4’s, he would use 2' X 8’s. That is the way he quietly goes about his business in everything he still does. With flair for creativity Daryl placed a lovely tall tree right up through the living area next to the stairwell at Bear Cabin and up past the loft and into the ceiling.  The grandkids assume the tree trunk is in the dirt basement and the top of the tree is growing out the roof. Yes, Daryl is quiet the builder of awesome mountain cabins but he is so much more.


For his startling size he is gentle, unassuming and quieter than a whisper. He rarely speaks; Daryl listens and learns. He is soft hearted toward all animals, great and small. Every evening just before dusk this gentle giant goes outside and gets an old metal pail and takes it to the springhouse. There he fills it with kernels of corn and brings it to his backyard close to the woods and whistles a strange low guttural whistle and immediately deer begin to wander down from the mountain sides. My friend will slowly start walking while dropping small piles of corn over a thirty to forty yard stretch. By the time he finishes, the deer are all gathered by the edge of the woods and as soon as Daryl is walking away, feeling safe... the deer step out and graze. He fell in love with our little granddaughter, Savannah, and so taught her how to feed his deer.

Peggy, this is one of the things we did not get to this past weekend...the evening feeding of the deer. This video is of Savannah helping Daryl feed as the deer start coming down from the surrounding mountains. The next video will show them eating.
Posted by Linda Blevins on Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The feeding of the wild deer on Roan.
Posted by Linda Blevins on Tuesday, April 8, 2014

This ritual began years ago and I've brought friends and family up to Melanie and Daryl's place many times to watch this awesome ritual. Every time I've wondered what the deer will do when Daryl is finally laid to rest. I've also wondered if he and his wife would mind, and if no one else wants to do it, I could lay the corn down in his honor.

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