It Happened in April

9bdd368ee6b30616ea7289748bc5621b                                                                                                           April’s light is quickly fading over the rabbit patch,  but it does not leave me empty-handed or faint of heart.   I stay on a mission to gather beautiful things-and what a collection I found in April! 

Easter fell early and so did a chilly rain that day. All was not lost because families still gathered around tables laden with a variety of holiday dishes, candles and flowers.  It was a sweet event and I tucked that memory in my heart. I met a new friend that day, and now I have someone else to love.

The jasmine bloomed in April along with the dogwoods. They do not care if one is a gardener or not, either way, they share their blossoms with the world.  It is about impossible to ignore their generosity.  No matter how distracted we are with worldly burdens, the sight of April’s flowers can interrupt gloomy thoughts-and oh how softly they infiltrate the heart. If you have lived for many seasons at your home,  you may see them as reliable friends. In unfamiliar places, flowers are like sweet surprises  bestowed upon you from an unknown person before you.   Whether you care for them or not, flowers and trees, too, will bloom in April.  We ought to all do the same and give as they do.

Kittens were born in April and children found them.  The kittens may as well have been diamonds. No matter your thoughts about cats-you will never convince a child that finding a litter of kittens is a bad thing. 

April is surely a time to build. Consider the birds.  Bluebirds, robins and wrens are all doing the same thing as young humans-finding a place to call “home” . The nesting time is upon us and whether or not we intend to, we all give thought to where we dwell in April. “Spring cleaning” did not get its’ name on a whim.  We clean the house thoroughly as if preparing for an April inspection-and a woman is likely to buy curtains this season. In April, we had the courage to put geraniums on the porch. The grass turned green and all seemed well when it did.

I started having coffee outside this month. Once, I left a cup very briefly and found several wisteria petals in it when I returned.  It was actually lovely to see and I almost drank it anyway.  I learned later, I could have. April’s snow of blossoms is something I always love. This year, a day or two of unusually fierce wind about robbed me of  seeing the air full of floating flowers-so finding a bit of lavender in  my coffee did not offend me, but instead claimed a place in my heart with the rest of  my April memories.

I always read poetry in April. I am not a fan of modern verse.  I prefer the flow and rhythm of Yeats and Longfellow.  I memorize poetry as I have great concerns that this world has gotten too busy to read a poem. I fear that one day , poets will be forgotten altogether-so I tuck poems in my heart too-especially in April.

I went to the fanciest restaurant that I have ever been to this month. Lyla had her first birthday!  I had a birthday too. The woodstove got cold in April, and a kind neighbor tilled the garden with out me needing to ask.  A friend picked strawberries and shared them with me. April is a wonderful month!  I may have even solved a mystery that has been plaguing me a long while. I smelled clover just yesterday-and night before last, I saw a falling star with a red tail!  I have never seen that before. The irish in me thinks it meant something wonderful is going to happen.

What a collection of beautiful things that April offered.  Flowers bloomed and the wind planted more. A holiday was celebrated and kittens were born. The rain fell and so did a star. Birds built nests and sang while they did it. . . and it all happened in April.99be56f4bf6a952ec17dba69c4c9a45c



In the Shade of a Tree


If we were having coffee, it would be served in china teacups.  We may visit under the shade of an old oak in the back yard. 

I would tell you that living on the remnants of a farm, in an old house is a beautiful way to live, some days- other days it can feel  lonely especially, if you are the last one left there.   Some times, I am inspired that I call the large yard with its’ blossoms and fruit trees my own-other times, I feel stranded in a place that out grew me. 

You would hear  of my gratitude for the soil that has fed me and those I love, in a most unselfish manner- and for a long while.  It has become an old friend.  The trees around us, were here before I was. It was “love at first sight” when I saw them, and my love  for  them remains steadfast. They have held swings and forts.  Their shade has been a refuge from the wicked heat in the summer garden. We have celebrated a marriage beneath their canopies-and mourned the loss of loved ones there as well. Trees are never “fair-weather friends”.

I will tell  you that  just beyond the barn,there is a young patch of woods full of secrets about it’s community of rabbits and birds- and beyond that, there are fields. The view of a field has been highly under-rated and  I would want you to know that. A field  is proof of man’s courage and determination. When I need bravery, I go to a field.

Having coffee under an old tree is a fine way to celebrate the seasons that I called this place “home”. My sons are now men , and my only daughter is a mother herself- Change is as likely as rain, I tell you.  It was change that brought me here and it is change that is leading me from it.

I may need to reassure you, that I will not leave with a heavy-heart,but rather a soul that is liberated and no longer needs to worry over loose tin on barns and mowing a five acre yard. I would rather be strolling with my first grandchild or standing on the beach with her uncles and hearing their dreams. Besides that,somewhere, there is a cello waiting for me to play it.  There are pictures that I need to paint and words unfolding for me to write.  I am older now, and these tasks not only suit me better, but beckon to me as well.  I will tend a smaller garden and be glad about it, I tell you truthfully.

I hope you will leave our “coffee break”, with the notion that it was time well-spent. I want you to leave with enough inspiration to spend your life wisely-and it might take a bit of courage and a good deal of faith to do so. Thank goodness for fields! May I invite you for another cup of coffee and one last look at mine?


The Quiet Garden


It is just after a “holiday” at the rabbit patch.  When I spend four days with my children, it is  red letter days on our calendar, no matter when it happens!  When it’s over, I go to the Quiet Garden,  which now is full of Aprils’ last roses.

I had a grand time in Wilmington, and feel sorry it’s over.  It’s always the same for me and about foolish, I think that I get such a sense of melancholy the day after I return.  Thank goodness for the Quiet Garden!  I named the rose garden after Gladys Taber’s flower garden.  I always name things that I love.  I am not sure  there is much rhyme or reason for this habit, but it  is a well-established pattern of mine.

   I have had ” a place” since I was a child.  No one had to teach me to do so-I just knew it was a good practice.  I never told anyone about any  spot that I claimed for my own. Imagine my surprise when once, years ago, my then, six year old Tres, shared his own secret place with me.  I hope he has one now.

The Quiet Garden at the rabbit patch has served me well over the decade.  The roses and violets never hinder my thoughts. They do not make light of my concerns-and they keep my secrets, much like good friends.  The picket fence  that frames it, strains under the weight of  several climbing varieties of roses.  The violets bloom where they please.  There is a bird bath in the center with roses growing round it. There are black-eyed susans claiming a corner and purple cone flowers make themselves at home there too.  They showed up without an invitation  but are quite useful when “company’s coming” and I need a vase for the table.

I never intended to have a Quiet Garden, full of roses and violets-like most good things, it just happened  as naturally as a late spring shower . Someone  gave me some picket fence -so The Quiet Garden was born .  My place of refuge and solace or the place for a summer garden   party  came about because someone cleaned their barn out.

Something I have learned about myself is that sorting things out is very important to my well-being.  If I don’t, then I get things all out of perspective and that never turns out well . I often think that if I fill my heart with good things, that I will make less room for undesirable notions .

When I returned from “my holiday” to my beloved rabbit patch- the first news I got was that Christopher Robin had broken a favorite porcelain rabbit in my den.  I had just left my children and wasn’t over it and so I about cried at such a crime.  That rabbit was named “St. Peter” and had been a gift from my friend, Julie.  She had tied the sweetest little ribbon  on him and I remember the day she did so.  My naughty kitten watched me from a safe distance and proceeded to give himself a bath!  He did not need the Quiet Garden to know that his human was prone to odd ways.

It did not take a long while among the roses for me to know that he was right.  I walked out of that garden with my  heart full of gratitude for my sweet children, a gray kitten-and a neighbor who cleaned his barn out.

“One is nearer God’s heart in a garden, than anywhere else on earth.”8abedf2609df217a5f8b7f6096b631ae







South of the Rabbit Patch


Wilmington lies a few hours south of the rabbit patch.  The city is rich in culture and full of artists. There is also the ocean.  I love all of those things-but it is the home of two of my sons, and that is why I leave the rabbit patch for a week-end on occasion.

I  used to travel  some a long while back, and I am glad of it.  I saw people  that spoke different languages and ate different foods. I took note of the trees and the songs of the birds that were on “foreign soil”. It was interesting to see the unfamiliar livelihoods of the people. The world seemed bigger than I could have ever considered-and it is.

Some things are the same everywhere.  People work hard and come home to their loved ones with great satisfaction.  We all say the same things though in different tongues.  We celebrate and mourn.  We build up and tear down. The human heart is quite universal .  It was a beautiful realization to know that love is all over the planet and though our methods may vary in our expressions, love remains.  Some how this makes the world seem almost “cozy”.

I spend my life mostly at the rabbit patch these days.  I prefer to.  I have now lived there ten years, and still the rabbit patch has its’ secrets!  Angels in Heaven know that I have devoted more than a good share of my life to that place and it is without regret.  I know the creatures that call it home and where they dwell.  I know what the sky looks like by day and night, and consequently, where the shadows fall.  

My two oldest sons live in Wilmington and it is on account of that I venture south ever so often.  What a different life lies  just a bit south of the rabbit patch!  I so love the bakeries, coffee shops and bookstores downtown-and there are young musicians on the sidewalks, pouring their heart out in song for the busy crowds-how beautiful!  There are fancy restaurants that serve fancy food and the people are friendly and make you feel welcome.  I especially love the historical houses-so grand and surrounded by huge lawns with old magnolia trees.  All of the south’s charm and graciousness can be found in Wilmington.  And then, there’s the ocean with it’s white sand.  The water is especially clear and the loveliest shade of blue.  There are a lot of reasons to visit this part of the coast-but my boys outshine all of that for me.

My boys spent their childhood in the woods-I made sure of it.  They fished out of small ponds and had animals that lived in a barn.  They built forts and played with “Indians” that they called friends.  They ate  what the garden grew and slept outside under meteor showers more than a few times. It was a grand time.

Now the goal of every parent is to raise their children in a way that allows them to become independent humans.  Independent enough to discover their own truths, independent enough to discover their abilities and hopefully contribute to the planet in their unique ways.  The theory sounds spectacular and so noble.  I have wished many times that this could be done at home-right on the rabbit patch, where I could cook their supper and make sure that they slept on sheets with the faint smell of lavender!

When I first visited them in Wilmington, I realised that my notions were fruitless.  The boys were actually young men !  They have nice homes and well established lives.  They have good neighbors and good friends.   The traffic does not bother them and the city does not seem too big for them.  This is their home.  I am always the last to know about anything and this news came as a shock.  I wondered if they remembered any of the poetry I read to them as children or the words to “Ave Maria”.  Did they remember the woods?  I wanted them to grow up a bit wild and  they landed in a civilized city!  

As it turns out, all my fretting was much ado about nothing. Both of my sons, garden and they  even still fry green tomatoes. One of them camps out and the other blazed a little trail in a small patch of woods behind his home. One spent many hours restoring my “Pop’s” garden trailor, with its iron wheels.  His brother knows the wrens that live on his porch.  When the “country comes to town”, they share these things with me, and my heart takes comfort that their time of growing up was as beautiful as I remember.

The rabbit patch will seem especially quiet when I return.  It always does. Once I thought I really do live in the “middle of nowhere”.  There are not to many places to go and no need to hurry about getting to any of them. We do not have an ocean, but instead creeks.  Dogs and tractors are the sounds of the rabbit patch.  Still, my love for such things keeps my heart loyal to the way of life I have. It is not “nowhere”-it is my home.

One April Morning

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April is the month to write poems. It is the time to listen to music that is played by heart.  It is a time to hope and  make wishes. This is my birthday month.

 Children born in April are often dreamers by nature and especially sentimental.  I don’t see how it could be otherwise.  Early on, the child of April, is outside  on the many gentle days.  They are introduced to blossoms and  breezes that may already smell like roses.  Just yesterday, our Lyla napped on a soft blanket under a flowering tree-she will surely believe in fairies and who can blame her?

So, I was born on a morning in April fifty-seven years ago, the first child to my parents, and the first grand daughter to my maternal grandparents.  I grew up in a happy time to be a child and I remain so very grateful for that. I didn’t just feel loved, but cherished.  The “world” was given to me in small doses and at fitting times. I was nurtured sensibly and unspoiled, though I didn’t want for anything.  I was quite unhindered in my youth.  Childhood took a long time to get through, as it ought to.  I truly believe that those seasons have made all the difference in my life.  Country folks are often considered “slow”.  I find them thorough and far from slow.  They think way ahead and tread with great consideration into the future.  They are careful not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater!”  Needs and wants are different things entirely.

The lessons I learned early in life have stuck with me “like white on rice” and I am not a bit sorry for it.  All of that imagination, that I used as a child has come in useful right now in modern times.  When ever I have found myself in a “rough patch”-it is imagination of a better time that has saved my heart from just giving up.  It is most valuable in the practice of compassion.  Imagination aids in understanding the heart of others.  It is most difficult to quarrel when you consider someones’ circumstances.  Imagination will not allow me to hold a grudge and “The golden Rule” isn’t nearly as difficult to live by.  I have listened to more than a fair share of sermons in my life-but it was my people and their way of life that they handed down to me that showed me how to live and how to love.  I love to say that”their sermons were in their shoes”.

I have always heard that “time flies when you’re having fun”.  It must be true, I reflect on my 57th year!  I think of all the changes in my life and realise first-hand that the ability to move forward is a never ending endeavor.  Often we have no choice in the matter.  It does seem to me sometimes, that with all of the  many conveniences this decade offers that we are busier than ever.  It is odd to me that life seems so much more complicated now than in Aprils passed. Just for good measure, I continue to “go kicking and screaming” sometimes in to the new way to do something.  

Youth is a beautiful thing- and so full of swagger, which is quite necessary at that particular time.  It is a time to build and gather.  Dream-weaving is a natural state of  young humans.  It is the truth for every one. There is such beauty in listening to my own childrens’ dreams. Many of my prayers are prayed on their behalf. I love every one of them “like rain” and spend most of my wishes on them too- the first stars and dandelion dust and the birthday candles.

 Even this birthday, has not made me feel too old to dream for myself.  I have gotten bolder as they all say you do in “old age”.  I have no shame in my “high cotton” dreams. I made a wish on my birthday and immediately saw a redbird-that has got to mean something-at least it does to a child born on an April morning, no matter how many moons have risen over the rabbit patch since.4890654155c476442f3be6f89224aafe



Birds of a Feather


All of my life, I have had friends. All of my life, it has made the difference-never so more, than now.

When we are young, friends are necessary for play.  My first friends were my cousins, though I would  have never considered them that in my childhood.  Lucky for me, the country road that I grew up on was full of them. I had teenage cousins that actually would play with us younger ones.  I wanted to be like them when I grew up.  The girls were pretty and lady-like.  No one had to tell me that they were almost grown!  They preferred more civilized ways to play.  No one got dirty and your hair never got tangled because ever so often, somebody would brush it. Play was quiet with the older girl cousins.  I felt like something important was going on and would take notes about how they acted.  At some point, a commotion would come in the back door and break my trance.

The rowdy boy cousins were a force to be reckoned with.  They played rough games that were loud and you were liable to get hurt.  They did do  their best to be tender with their little girl cousins. Their bikes were big so they would push us around on them before it was their turn-and then they’d take off like “the devil was after them” and leave us to our own devices. I got nipped by their boxer once, listened to their scary stories and watched one of them eat poison ivy to prove he wasn’t allergic to it.  I was sure he would die and said extra prayers for him.

It was a long time after that  I had any friends outside of the family.  Parents were not concerned about socialization ethics in that day.  None of us were trained to be athletes as children and if you learned how to play music it was from an aunt or uncle-who would just start playing and say “jump in when you can.”  The only camps we attended was the “Christian service camp” in the same town we lived in.  When one grew up. you were sent for a week.  In the early part of the week, the women would pack up food from home and pack us younger cousins  all in a car for a visit.  I don’t think any of us ever stayed the whole week.

Somehow, we all ended up with the coveted social graces.   We grew up and all of us acquired good status and had plenty of friends.  I still call some of the friends I made then, friends today. I made some especially dear friends as a young mother that have their own places in my heart now.  No matter, the years we were barely in touch-friends do not recognize long absences as any thing other than that. We may only have talked at Christmas, and would always vow to do better in the new year to come, but most often we didn’t.  We were raising our children and stretching dollars-and it took everything-but “a friend loves at all times” and that’s the difference.

It is good to write that we are all as close now as we have ever been-maybe more so.  Truly, birds of a feather do stick together.  We are older now.  Our children are mostly grown. We have buried loved ones together-parents, a brother and two husbands.  Three of us live alone.    It is a grand time to have good friends.

There are all sorts of personalities among us-and we make allowances for that.  We are artists, teachers and candlestick makers!  We are sometimes practical and sensible-sometimes not.  We seem to take turns being hopeful and confident-when we are not, we unite like warriors.  One may scatter and one likes order-it is of no consequence in the grand scheme of things.  As glad as I am for all of that, I believe what I value most is the authenticity that was born and cultivated over the years.  Honesty is only possible when fear is not.

I spend a good deal of time pondering my future these days. It is a serious task and exhausting to consider.  I am as unsure as it is humanly possible to be. Plans have never done me much good thus far, but goodness, people my age mostly have them!  I will need to consider a smaller rabbit patch and where is it?  What am I going to do with this beautiful life in the up-coming seasons?  Some people consider it a wonderful art to live each day without considerations to the next-others think it irresponsible.  It is an odd predicament altogether-so at such times, friends are most handy. My own, lend me a sweet comfort – a treasure “that rust does not corrupt.”  When “birds of a feather flock together”, it is a lovely thing.  “Friends do love at all times” and it’s nothing short of  a miracle, if you ask me.
















The Reason for a Garden

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The diary of  any gardener will have many chapters over a lifetime.  They will span many topics and be full of accounts of good years and not so good years.  In many cases, it will be a love story.

Long ago when I was growing up in rural North Carolina, country folks had a garden.  It was considered of great necessity. Not to plant a garden was just lazy.  Some of my very earliest memories, are “in the garden”.  It was always on a sunny Saturday  morning, that I would wake up to the sound of Pop’s tractor.  It was always on a Saturday as the rest of the week, he was farming.  Soon I would smell dirt and I would go out to sit on the garden gate and watch his progress.

I did not like the planting that came next.  The children had to drop the seed with such care so  that it was a slow work.  A lot of fussing would arise if you dropped two seeds instead of one and always the dogs would get in the way.  The children got dirty and the adults got grumpy, but when all was said and done, we had a garden.

The Spring evenings that followed, were spent watching the adults tend the new plants with great concern.  Children and dogs were not allowed on the sacred soil.  That was just fine with me. I had broken young plants before and it seemed like we were all going to starve because of it.

The adults ridded the garden of weeds and grass too, another thing I was glad about.  Even now, I am prone to cut a pepper plant with a sharp hoe, if I am solving a mystery or planning something as I work-and it will make you grumpy.

As days passed, the garden got more child-friendly.  Something needed to be picked everyday.  I didn’t like that either.  The garden has a lot of “itch” in it-and frogs too.  If my older boy cousins found a frog, it was not my day.  I would scream and run without any thought to what I was tearing up or what I spilled out of those buckets-the adults would start hollering, and the dogs would come in to see what all of the commotion was about.  What an “ungodly ruckus” some one would say or “What ails you?” and not in a friendly way.  You can bet that in my own garden, I  still keep a sharp watch for frogs.

The wide row of strawberries that ran down the center of the garden was probably the best thing about the garden for me.  Grandmama would hang pie tins above the bed. They would shine and tinkle in the breeze. They were meant to scare the birds-I wished they had scared frogs.  

Mama, grandmama, my sister and I picked together.  Grandmama made strawberry short-cake with those berries and I was glad to help on account of that.  Don’t think for a minute that our strawberries were ever served on any store-bought cake. It was home made pound cake and we     would pour cream over it just before we ate it.  I haven’t done that in a long while, but I think I will this year. 

Grandmama passed suddenly one night at the age of fifty-two.  It remains one of the most heart-breaking things  I’ve endured in this life.  I can not imagine what it did to my mama. The garden seemed lonely and I thought I hated it.  I prayed for an early frost that would kill every hateful thing that grew in that garden. Mama did not.  She would get up early and have a lot done by the time my sister and I got up.   That must have been some lonely hours for Mama, I realise now.  Mama was a young mother at that time.  I am sure she felt wounded deeply- and maybe “stranded”.   I have never forgotten the hurt I felt , I can not imagine what  it was like for Mama .  In the afternoons, while we snapped beans, Mama did not  let on to her children any fears or agony she may have experienced.  Mama was kind like that.  I remember her suddenly getting quiet at times, though.  I knew she was missing her mama.

That summer and all those that came along, mama  still kept a garden. When I say I grew up in a garden, I mean it.  It seemed like the right place to ask mama about boys .  Sometimes we talked about the problem I was having with being twelve-sometimes we talked about God.

The best food I know of, comes from a garden. I declare it’s better for you and besides that it’s economical.  The work acts like a therapist and it provides physical benefits as well-but the best reason for a garden that I know of came about when I was growing up on a back country road listening to my grandmama and mama talking in a garden in hushed whispers sometimes- and later, my mama and I doing the same.

Dear sweet diary,  I think there is more than one reason, for a garden.

The Edge of Night in a Rabbit Patch


Evenings in the springtime are especially nice at the rabbit patch. There is a time just after supper and just before the first stars start shining that comes in softly and leaves in   the same way.  

I am calling it “the Edge of Night” which is the name of an old “soap opera” that I remember my grandmother watching when I was a very small child.  She managed to see it on that very busy farm, by ironing or shelling beans at the exact time it came on.  Any task that required one being still would arise consistently at that time of day-it wasn’t her fault that it worked out like that.  I learned early on that it was not the time to ask questions or pretend my dolls could talk.  Of course, soap operas were mostly just on going mysteries and quite harmless in those times. A lot of people did have to go to  the hospital on that show, though we most often didn’t know why.  I thought they were “an unhealthy lot”.  The minute the program was over, Grandma would have just finished her endeavor and would then take to hurrying about something else that she needed to do. How I would love to see some of the old episodes today!

“The edge of night”  at the rabbit patch is an entirely different thing. There is a whole different life for me when I get home from work.  Cash and Christopher Robin wake from  their deep slumbers like it’s Christmas morning and frolic for a few minutes upon my arrival.   It endears them to me even more.  From the moment I enter the back door to the kitchen until “after suppertime”, passes quickly.  I don’t know what time the clocks say it is-but I know what time my boys will be hungry and that’s when we have supper. Not long after the”kitchen is put back”  the light  starts to make very slanted shadows and then the air gets cool. The early night air reveals what is blooming  and I breathe it in- deeply and happily.  All seasons have distinctive  smells but I think the scent of spring may be the most enchanting.

Out of habit, I look for the first star-and I make a wish when I find it. Rabbits may do the same as they show up about this time.  Already the night sky has the look of spring.  The constellations do not stand out so boldly now-they have company-and a lot of it. 

It does not take long for all of this to happen and many times I rely on Cash to find the safest route back to the back door as I stayed too long and didn’t notice the descending darkness. When I lived “in town” I missed not being able to see the skys’ works-sunrises, sunsets. rising moons and starlight.  I would sometimes take a drive just to show my  children the wonders I grew up on.  Today my  children are older and live in nice neighborhoods-mostly in “city limits”  and I may soon do the same as well. . . but ever so often, I get a call from one of them at the edge of night time, and they say “Mom, have you seen the moon tonight?” -and I like that.







Morning Glory


It does not matter which season or what the weather is like-morning has a glory. In the morning, everything is new again. Mornings are my favorite time of life.

Today the rabbit patch has a relentless wind that seems bent on disturbance. It is a cold wind, making it not fit to go out. Birds are not on a mission today-it is not the day to build a nest.  I have not been to the rabbit patch, but I suspect the burrows are full of rabbits with lofty plans.  Cash and Christopher Robin are sleeping by my morning table -the name I have given to a small round table in my den where I write and drink coffee. 

All sorts of sounds are coming from the yard today. There is the flapping tin on a barn which reminds me of a crying baby that I can not soothe.  I must attend to it shortly and dread it immensely.  Branches are creating their own chaos, littering the yard-just in case there’s a time that I don’t know what to do with.  Any structure here is in some jeopardy today.

That being said, I do not find the wind hateful. Wind like everything has a work.  Seeds will find out their destiny today. It will be a while before I know their fate.  The rabbit patch has several huge butterfly bushes that I did not plant. Their blue spikes perfume the evening air and what a pretty sight when the many, many, butterflies show up for them.  There are also zinnias in the rabbit patch-I didn’t plant them either, nor the lantana. Beauty Berry is  scattered about the young woods-I suspect the birds may have helped in that. I so wish roses traveled in the same fashion-but I have  not yet been surprised by their presence in the rabbit patch. They seem to  like their segregated life in the quiet rose garden within the picket fence.

I do hope that gardeners did not get anxious and start their summer gardens yet.  Warm spells can fool the best of us.  I never plant before mid-April. I have found it to be a reliable practice though sometimes there is a lot of temptation . I am glad that I did not “throw caution to the wind” this year!  Once, I lost my whole garden to a rainy spell.  My neighbors showed up with more tomatoes, corn and cucumbers than I could have grown. One gave me the most beautiful peppers that could have been on the front cover of “Southern Living”!  My neighbors fed my family for the best part of a year, and I have never forgotten.

When I am “housebound” and especially when I am writing, I think of such things.  Reading takes one away from current conditions.  Writing takes one inside themselves to a most present state-both of these habits can hold surprising moments, and both are worthwhile endeavors for me.

I always cook in bad weather. There was a time that I lived in town. My neighbor, Gayle cooked too on those days.  We eventually took to teaming up for meals and had great success. Those are sweet memories for me.  She remains a dear friend.

The morning slipped away while I was writing this-the wind did not.  It continues to raise a fierce ruckus over the rabbit patch.  I can not believe that the dogwood has held on to its’ blossoms thus far.  I do not expect the wisteria can say the same.  I am so glad Rae and I walked to see them, the other day.  She loved the smell of them so much.

The stove is cold-but that’s getting ready to change.  Soon the heart of “Sweet Home” will smell like somebody loves it.  There is also a beautiful old wardrobe in the hall that wants to be the palest shade of turquoise with cabbage patch roses- and the wind will not hinder either of those things- and maybe, if I am busy, I will not miss the morning glory so much.

When Angels Come Calling

b9a0bb7fffd32454130146f342f11dc3Sometimes a kitchen table makes all the difference. It is a place of celebration some days. It can be a place to remember or a place of great expectations. The kitchen table bears our burdens, hears our secrets and knows the desires of our hearts. Mine has done all of those things-just this week.

My dear friend, Rae visited the rabbit patch this week. I had set a pretty table with all white dishes and fancy glasses. When loved ones show up at “Sweet Home”,  it’s an occasion and I take great pains to make that clear. I do not consider it work as I love the whole ordeal tremendously. The meal was a simple one as time had not allowed me any sophisticated plan, but Rae was full of compliments anyway.

We walked through the young woods I call the rabbit patch after our supper.  We stopped to smell the jasmine and wisteria under their brightly colored canopies.  The path we walked was covered in lavender snow.  The fields were silent and several moments we were too. Rae and I have been friends since our children were very young.  I have several friendships that have stood the test of time. They mean the world to me and provide such comfort.

Lately, I have had a lot on my mind about the season I am in. I am mostly older now.  My children grew up, and I was the last to know about it.  All of those details that come with raising a family are gone like the wind!  The remnants of the farm, that I live on seem so much bigger, as does the house. 

The kitchen table is often a quiet place now-until a holiday,which is anytime my kids come home or the “Sunday dinner” with mama and daddy. Those are my favorite times.

I may be in unfamiliar territory these days-in fact, I often compare this time to when I was fourteen and in the deep shadows of childhood.  Such crossroads are so mysterious. It is like when Alice went down her own rabbit hole and said “I can’t go back to yesterday, I was a different person then!” 

The kitchen table does come in handy at times like this!  If I solve any of my current mysteries-you can bet it will be because of prayers around that little table in the kitchen. Sometimes an angel “comes calling” to join forces with you and they may look like an old friend just coming for supper.











Violets,Sparrows and Dandelion Dust

0c196cde64f93d018e87d7b8e550947eSometimes, it is a good thing for me to consider small and ordinary wonders.  Many times, a long stroll around the rabbit patch has made a world of difference in the day-and since these occasions have added up to many miles of wandering-it has made a difference in my life.

I  have often taken the first steps of  my meandering  in a state of deep thought about some uncertainty that has shown up. Cash and Christopher Robin always go with me and seem so solemn, as if they need to  bear their part of whatever the burden is we are carrying. What a sorry sight we must look to the rabbit patch community!

Eventually, we will disturb a family of sparrows. They will quarrel with us in a loud round of chatter and break our contemplating. I will watch them and count them out of habit. I wonder where they live in the rabbit patch. They are cute little birds and so common that most people do not appreciate them-but at that moment I do. I am even glad for them. They do “sparrow work” as they were born to do and show no signs of discontent that they were not born as robins or cardinals.

Wisteria and jasmine boldly claim parts of the rabbit patch this time of the year-so do violets. They seem to love the shady areas. Their leaves are heart-shaped and seem to say ” I love you”. They are like little spring valentines from the earth-and I love them too. For a few months they will carpet the edge of the young woods and feed the population of this springs’ bunnies. I notice them with fondness.

If I see a dandelion, I make a wish-just for good measure-and because a part of me believes that dandelion dust may have some magic in it. Christopher Robin is quite intrigued with this habit and tries to catch the floating hope in the  dandelion dust-but he never does. My boxer, Cash, is not amused by such nonsense. He has gotten proud because the sun is setting. He is a guard dog, after all and he immediately starts “putting on airs” about his position.

On the way back to “Sweet Home” it is not uncommon for me to pick up sticks and branches so they won’t hinder my mowing. Sometimes I find a small and smooth stone. I hold it and notice how cool it feels. I wonder how old it is-and which little boy has carried it in his pocket at some time. Surely the stone has an ancient story. Somehow I feel courage just by holding this piece of time in my hand. It is not understandable to me-but it is true.

By the time we walk in the back door of the farmhouse, it is time to turn on the lights. It is a late supper for the animals and they are both ill-mannered for a few minutes as I get their supper for them.  Later they will lay together on their blanket. I will remember the violets  the sparrows and the dandelion dust-and the little smooth stone, while they begin dreaming.  It will seem that these small wonders were the reason for the stroll . Everything I needed was found in them-“look up! , I love you and  have hope, for I am strong and constant.”-and I like that.

For the Love of April


The time of April is upon us. “The time of the singing of birds has come.” The colors of April are  soft and the color of Aprils’ light is silver, I think. The smell of April is sweet and green-and the trees are shades of jade. April is a good time for wishful thinking.

It is a good time to look for “silver linings” as clouds “do not wander lonely” this month. I will begin planting at the rabbit patch in a few weeks-surely Jack Frost has” run out of shine” by then.  It is quite ordinary for me to plant in an April shower if it is falling in a friendly way.  It is a big mess to do so, but the plants seem to like it.  

Dandelions will show up to many people’s dismay. It can be disheartening to spend a day mowing, and then to see little stalks like soldiers lit up by moonlight just a short while later, in the yard.  For a while, I was not on friendly terms with them either, but the older I get, the less quarrel I have in me-so now, I make dandelion wishes and hope for the best.  Little hands use them for bouquets-and that endears them to me as well. In fancy restaurants, the greens are used for salads and I may try that this year. Dandelions, like everything else, is all about how you see it.

April will answer many of my winter dreams. I have big plans to fill this yard with the sweet dianthus. I find them delightful flowers with their humbleness of little delicate blossoms and sweet fragrance. I add more of them every year, along with roses-another favorite. This year I want a “Sweet Betty” bush. They are not so lovely, but their fragrance makes up for it.  My grandmother had one and I still remember the spicy scent it lent to evening air. I also want to try my hand at Aprils’ own flower, the sweet pea, though I think they are short lived. Usually i will only plant perennials , but geraniums are the exception. Farmhouse porches ought to have geraniums on them. The scented ones are especially nice. 

I will finance this endeavor, by borrowing from the grocery money. The boys are on to it and have been for a long while. They will not enter a garden center or a book store with me. They say I go in to a trance, and that may be so.

For the  love of April is a mighty thing. . .It’s when “white moths are on the wing-a shower shows up with a song to sing  . . . all for the love of April!