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.