It is Sunday morning. Birds are singing their morning songs. Farm Life is quiet and peaceful as it always is on a Sunday. Tractors and mowers are parked under shelters -Farm Life rests on Sundays. The rabbit patch kitchen smells only of coffee as I am not cooking the usual Sunday dinner today.
I call the 100 year old farm house, I live in, “Sweet home”. It is a big enough house to ramble in, and has a sprawling yard around it. There are several old pecan trees, fig, peach and apple trees-and an ancient grape vine. There is also a pear tree-and a nice garden spot. Flowers bloom in every place that I can grow them. The old barns are surrounded by blooms . . and there is the “Quiet Garden”, which is really a rose garden. Sweet Home is sweet . . .mostly.
I bought the remnants of a farm, now almost twelve years ago. A lot has happened since. Tres moved to Wilmington to join his brother and sister. Grandmama was living with us til she passed in her early nineties, Jenny got married and my youngest son, Christian became a young man. . . and Lyla was born. In the midst of all that, I painted, put up fence, repaired the fence and kept planting flowers and vegetables. There is a well established herb garden, I tend. I have cleaned up after several hurricanes and mowed the four acre yard countless hours, for the last twelve years. I can’t even bear to think about the leaves. Something else happened in the passing years, too-I got older.
Maybe it happened as I was painting pink roses and birds on the barns-or my favorite verses. Maybe it happened as I canned many gallons of tomatoes or when I snapped the hundreds of bushels of green beans-or cleaned out the many barns or blazed the trail in the young woods. The truth is, I mostly enjoyed it. The truth is, I needed this old house, more than it needed me.
Three years ago, my son Tres told me to “sell the house”. I stammered and felt shaken by it and declared, I could not talk about it right then. Now, I can. At first, it seemed so tragic, but Christian told me, “Mom, “Home is where you are.” All of the kids have said that all my time and money went into this place-and they were right, I realised. Then Lyla was born, and suddenly, it annoyed me to have a ton of leaves in the yard to spend a week end with. I became bitter about the whining fences and loose tin on the barns. My sons are grown and starting careers and I would rather spend time with them than replace doors on barns or being scratched up cutting the thorned vines that grow everywhere, I turn. I would rather be cooking Sunday dinner, than once again, working on the kitchen floor, as I am this day.
I can finally declare, I m looking for a smaller rabbit patch. It is not based on a feeling of defeat, but instead confidence. Christian was right, Home is where, we are. I do not want to work to maintain empty rooms nor to calculate my life based on what has to be done next to maintain an empty pasture. My needs have changed-and my desires, too.
Somewhere, there is a cottage that awaits me. There will be enough yard to plant flowers and maybe a little bit of picket fence, for the sweet morning glory, to grow on. There may even be a sidewalk and I hope for an old tree. I hope to push mow the yard- and geraniums should have a place, too. I am not too old to dream, I have decided.
I profess, whole heartedly, to believe in God. It should not take great courage for me to know,that I can trust that the right things in the right time will come to pass. I have learned well, that my sense of timing has been off on more than one occasion, and so I await with “great expectation” for what is next. I may be at Sweet Home, at Christmas, or I may be hanging the wreath on a door, unknown to me now. This is about the only plan, I have. Goodness, I have spent a fair amount of time, concocting plans, that changed on a dime, and not many of them turned out as I expected. I have seen plans work for other folks, and most everybody has them-but my journey has taught me, that I can not dream big enough. It seems the most beautiful events in my life, have unfolded without my foresight. I also, have made mistakes, that I never planned on.
I am not claiming to have the faith to move mountains. Unfortunately, I falter and stumble head first into fearful notions, sometimes. When I recover, I vow that will be the last time-but it never is. I am grateful for mercy.
Dear Diary, I do not have any regrets about living on this rabbit patch, but instead am so very grateful for every minute. Today, while the stove is cold, I will fix that kitchen floor and I will think. . . This old farm has been one of the most beautiful “stepping stones”, I have ever known and also-“Home is where I am.”