Seeing them living

With more recent cases, I occasionally find traces of a person’s activities on the internet before they disappeared. One college student had a website with some pictures of her and poems, one of which she wrote just a few days before she vanished. Another person, a middle-aged man, wrote somewhere about his experiences volunteering for the Peace Corps in the 1970s. Etc.

Well, I just found an online trace of an MP who is most definitely NOT recent: Bessie Hyde, who disappeared on a rafting trip in Arizona over eighty years ago. Northern Arizona University’s digitial archive has a book of poems Bessie wrote, called Wandering Leaves. You can not just read the text but actually see the book itself, bound with string. It’s typed but the cover has the title in what is presumably Bessie’s handwriting. From page 4:

The first fall frost
In shining silver,
Comes out at night.

And soon beguiles
The fluttering trees,
With jewels.

At dawn…
The barren ground
Is carpeted with brown,
Dry, crackling leaves:
Who can no longer whisper
Soft, low songs
For they–
Are dead.

I always wondered why people made such a fuss about the beauty of autumn. The whole season is about death. Apparently Bessie shared my sentiments.

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