Before the Creeks Rise


Today was a nice day. Sunshine has been scarce for weeks, though Saturday was bright.  I mowed that day .  I noticed the french mulberry is hanging full of berries .  They are bright fuscha  colored berries and birds eat them like candy.  The lone ginger lily is full of blooms and a new lantana is growing by the picket fence.  Meanwhile, a hurricane is headed this way.  It is just a few days before the creeks rise and the wind will be a force to be reckoned with.

The rabbit patch is well inland.  The creeks will rise and may flood the road on each side of the rabbit patch. Everything not nailed down must be stored away.  We have started preparing in the way we know how.  A storm will help you truly define necessities.

A few years back, a hurricane came through this way.  We lost several big trees around the edge of the woods, but the worst was going without power for over a week.  I washed clothes the way folks did years ago and hung them on the line.  It was a long process.  We cooked on a grill and showered in the privacy of the “Quiet Garden” with a water hose.  It was a hard row for a while, but we lived to tell about it.  

The stores are madhouses.  I am about sure that I bought the last flashlight in the county today.  I am in the habit of keeping the rabbit patch well stocked, just because I do not like shopping, except for Christmas presents -and I try to only buy when things are on sale, then I am known to buy heavily and put my freezer to good use.  Having said that, I bought coffee today anyway.

The drive home from work and shopping, was as peaceful as the stores were maddening.  It was another silver day and a light mist seems to have made itself at home, for the last few weeks.  The ditch banks are blanketed with autumn wild flowers.  Bright yellows , blues and  purples are blooming like the world depends on it.  The fields lay bare in the absence of their crops and create a sense of rest, as you gaze upon them.  I just can not worry when I look at a field.

I am convinced that the world needs Octobers.  October will paint the landscape as only it can.  Harvesting anything is over at the rabbit patch.  The joy that comes with the tending is now replaced with gratitude.  In October, the lowly sweet gum gets to boast along with the maples-and holds its’ own quite well.  Nights fall early and stars show up earlier because of it.  Christopher Robin may give up his notion of being a barn cat and not put up such a fuss when I call him in at night.  When it’s raining he is quite satisfied to assume the position of a well-mannered house cat.  I expect cold weather will have the same effect.

I am on a mission to find beauty in every day-October makes it easy.   Any stones I may have gathered in my heart, will surely melt like butter, in the splendor of October.  October is not a time to hold grudges or unkindness of any sort.  The earth itself, is in a state of glory and the Hand that gives, is generous for all.  None need fear a shortage of wonder-October is full of it.

This Old House and Every Other One, Too


I just love old houses-this one, and every other one too.  This one needed a roof when I bought it.  There was a busted pipe under the house and the water heater did not work. either.  There was very old wall paper and old carpet too. I needed a big stove and by todays’ standards, a small refrigerator.  Of course, it was love at first sight, for me.

As I write this, my son Tres is replacing the bathroom floor down to whatever a “floor joist” is.  He started on Friday and should finish tomorrow.  Kyle and Christian have helped him along, as well.  We have had water at times-and at other times, not.  There is a ceiling and another floor , to do next.  I have been mowing all afternoon.  We had “store-bought”chicken for Sunday dinner.  This is why not to buy an old house, if you are a single woman and no “spring chicken”, as well.  One of Christians’ friends recently said “you need a crew, to live here.”  He is about right.  

Finally, after making several “big productions”-my kids have inspired me to find a smaller and more practical rabbit patch.  The problem is, every one I find goes with another old house-smaller, but old.  I started out looking at big houses again, convinced It would come in handy on Christmas Eve -and Thanksgiving , too.  Finally, I stopped that notion.  I do not want my children to worry about me as they are busy building their lives. I have convinced myself to be sensible and downsize-  when the repairs are done.

I do not understand my love affair with old houses.  Often, they are abandoned, neglected and dirty-but they have window seats and built in china cabinets too!  The door ways may be arched and heirloom roses may grow by the windows.  If, there are old trees, I fall head over heels with no recollection of busted pipes or windows that won’t open.  I know where the Christmas tree will go and where Christopher Robin will nap. By the time I leave, the walls are painted and curtains are hung.  

Heaven help me-and I know It will, find a little cottage on a rabbit patch, that doesn’t need a roof.  

Silver Linings


There is such a thing as a silver lining.  I have seen them countless times.  If every cloud does have one, then I have been in”high cotton” lately!  September has been full of clouds, fog and rain.  September was shades of silver.

October seemed to come suddenly.  It is a favorite month of mine and I am glad to see its’ arrival, but September seemed to pass in a hurry. I do hope that October doesn’t slip away in the same fashion.  Some of the prettiest skies of the year are in October, I think.  I love the big cumulus clouds against the clear and bright blue expanse. When the leaves turn shades of gold and scarlet, even those not in the habit of noticing nature, will do so-in October.  I love the wind that blows with a chill and sends the leaves dancing in mid-air.  October is a lovely time.

I was in Elizabeth City this first day of the new month.  I got up early and went out before the first light had come.  I will tell you, that the morning dawned as it does in April.  Birds were singing and a warm breeze blew off the river.   I had to remind myself that it was autumn, the time to bake pies!

I could see early on, that this day would be another one much like the last ones. Clouds were covering the sky and hid the suns’announcement of morning.  I like all kinds of weather and am usually content , no matter the outcome.  Lyla and I have walked in heat , cold and even a light summer  rain.  We have yet to walk in snow, but first chance I get, we will.   We walked yesterday under clouds that were heavy and spilt little droplets ever so often.  I told Lyla about silver linings.

Most often, things have not worked out according to my plans.  I am not talking about birthday parties and camping trips-but about the bigger events of a life, houses  and jobs -things of that nature.  The rabbit patch itself was a silver lining.   I was moving to another little town.  After weeks and weeks of hard work, and a few things already placed,  I had the electricity turned on and all seemed set.  On that day, the owner had a change of heart and all my hopes were dashed.  It took me some time to recover, but within a short while I found the rabbit patch-the place that made me paint birds and roses around pretty words on old barns-the place that allowed me to grow food and shelter homeless animals-the place that gave me words to write.  The rabbit patch opened my heart to silver linings and proved they are real.

Lyla herself is a silver lining of sorts.  I did not want Jenny to move to Wilmington.  She was a young , small town girl and I was certain, I had not properly prepared her for city life.  It was a most unsettling  time for me as I had planned on her staying closer to home.  I was sure the shadow that followed me, meant a  calamity of some kind was waiting to unfold at any moment  . .  instead, Jenny met Will  in Wilmington  and I often say I could not have “hand-picked” a better husband for my daughter, or a better father for Lyla . 

Many “lesser” things have been silver linings in my life.  Sometimes, we see them quickly, but often “silver linings” take their own sweet time in showing up. Some are easily recognized and other times they require  a most thoughtful reflection.  I am still waiting for some of them to make their presence known.

Lyla will have to hear the story again as she was mostly interested in a friendly cat that decided to walk a while with us.  When we got back from the walk, we sat on the porch in a swing and watched it rain- soft and gentle showers fell and all was right in the world for us. It made me think that just  maybe, there really is a silver lining behind every cloud.