The sound of a “strawberry moon” sounded like a beautiful event-but it did not start out in that manner at the rabbit patch. It was the kind of morning that seemed determined to make you think the whole day might be full of aggravating moments-and it was for a good while. One thing went wrong and then another, but around two o’clock, things took a turn.
I finally made it to my parent’s, having fixed most of what had gone wrong. My sister and niece from Raleigh were there. Jenny and Lyla were too. I had already seen my sister and niece, from the Lake in the morning, so things were looking up.
Mama had done her best to have a good meal on the table-and she did. It was eaten in shifts though, as things had been a bit “off” for everybody in general. Some of them were eating at two, when I got there. Lyla was sitting in the same high chair that I used to sit in! Jenny said she had been a rascal all morning, but she was pleasant and cheerful at her great grandparents home.
We ended up in the yard just after the last of us had eaten. The shade was so cool and Lyla sat in a swing taking it all in making Jenny look like “a storyteller”. Daddy was doing maintenance on my car for a while -he was “born a mechanic”, and remains convinced that I am as irresponsible as ever when it comes to any sort of task involving tools. He is right. He joined us afterwards, and we sat there a long time. Jenny had school assignments to do, but she put it off, which is not her nature-but I am glad she did. It has been a long time that we have all sat in the shade together-four generations, and none of us had another thing pressing. There were other things that needed doing, but for a while , none of us cared. Once upon time, the act of sitting in the shade with the family was a common occurrence -it was about a daily ritual, unless it rained.
The adults would sit talking while the children ran around. We were not allowed in the circle when we were playing games that involved dashing and hollering-and mostly that is what was happening. Even if you went in to retrieve a ball, we were accused of “disturbing the peace” and those were the exact words. If you stayed with the adults more than five minutes, you ended up shelling beans and I avoided that. If you ran in the shade to tattle or whine, you had to take a bath and get ready for bed. We kids learned to solve our own problems. I remembered that time yesterday and wondered how it had ceased. I felt very sorry it had. Sometimes, it seems to me, that modern living , with all of the advantages it offers, is just a” wolf in sheeps’ clothing.”
I don’t know how long we stayed under the shade tree yesterday. I do know we moved the chairs and the swing twice to avoid the bright sunshine. I know that daddy’s dog, Casper chased a ball til he was tired, much to Lyla’s delight. I saw my mama so happy to enjoy this time. She was completely content and I understood. Lyla “took a shine ” to my fourteen year old niece, Dana and Dana was happy about that. My Jenny got to sit and rest. She never had to chase Lyla, the rest of us did and took great satisfaction in keeping leaves, bark and flowers out of her mouth.
Last night, I went out to see the “strawberry moon”. I really like that name, though the strawberry season is over, here. It seems like a named moon is a special one. It was lovely, and the Cherokee did great justice in bestowing such a sweet name . I stood in the moonshine and declared I did not understand why the morning time was so hateful. I also declared that the first afternoon of the summer was too beautiful for words and that I was grateful for it. I love the moon light. It has such a way about it that it can make an old pile of wood look like a magical place where fairies surely dwell. I thought to walk back to the field of clary sage behind the big barn. I wasn’t sorry. The long and mostly white spikes of blossoms shone fairly in the soft light. It was like witnessing a secret wonder and as far I know, only me and the whippoorwill were in on it.
So I spent a fair amount of time yesterday, sitting in the shade with people I love. I watched a dog chase a ball and heard Lyla laugh about it. I saw mama “sitting pretty” and daddy feeling satisfied. My sister and niece, loved my grand daughter and claimed their place in her life. It turns out that the time of the “strawberry moon” was just as beautiful as it sounded. It was a lovely time and a nice way to spend some of my life.