Things Bright and Shining Light


On Thursday night, I saw the stars over the rabbit patch.  I had not seen them, due to clouds, for the better part of a week.  I had missed the silver belt of Orion-and the friendly Dog Stars.  I was glad to see the Big Dipper and the little one too as I had missed them all.  When thick clouds were hovering over the old barn and the old trees, I tried to remember just where my old friends had been “set in the firmament, to give light to the earth”.

I also packed on Thursday night.  Loyal readers of the “Rabbit Patch Diary”  know where I was going . . .back across three rivers, past fields and autumn flowers . . to another rabbit patch,  Elizabeth City.  Friday was a teacher work day and so in my absence, children would not  miss violin classes.  It made good sense to me to pack my bags and spend a few days with , my only grandchild, Lyla.  

I attended the “early service” this morning, in Jennys’ backyard.  Daybreak was chilly enough to warrant a light jacket.  The air was crisp and carried the scent of pine straw.  The sun came up with a shocking brilliance, and when it did, I thought I heard the earth singing.  A young redbird watched from the cedar tree.  Lyla and I saw him yesterday in the evening.  If I see him again, I am likely to give him a name.

Lyla attends nursery school, now on Thursday and Friday mornings.  I was never fond of this idea, but tried to still my tongue-and hoped for the best.  Childhood is so fleeting and I think it ought to be spent playing.  I had no worries that Lyla could not learn her colors and counting, in the natural settings of home.  Not even the aspect of  the highly valued “socialization” swayed my thought.  Well, the more Jenny told me about what was happening at the “First United Methodist Church” , the more I liked it.  Lyla loved it from day one.  Only a few times in the very beginning, did Lyla shed a tear.  On those occasions, the teacher sent a picture of Lyla playing happily, within minutes.  I especially loved that.  There also does not seem to be  “an intense academically driven force’ present.  All of this, hushed my trepidation, but when Lyla ran to hug her teacher, one morning . . I fell “hook, line and sinker” for the darling “Ladybug class” at the beautiful church, in Elizabeth City.  Today, I saw for myself and so now I can say with all of my heart, I am glad, for such places.

After lunch, Lyla and I strolled to the laughing river-which today seemed merely tickled.   It felt sinful to stay inside.  We sat for a while in silence.  I did not allow myself to think of anything.  I just watched the river meander by.  I watched light playing on the water, like a happy child and I watched the thin clouds that reminded me of old  fashioned lace.  I have no way of knowing how long we sat in that state as time is not  measured under such conditions . . but at some point, Lyla was liberated from  the confinement of her stroller.  She found a yellow leaf and then watched a butterfly.  She walked the railway ties for a long while.  The ties are there to mark the parking area and for quite a distance.  The ties are not balanced well and are of varying heights.  In some places the wood has deteriorated and huge pieces of  wood are missing.  It was a good balancing practice for a toddler and I offered little help, because of that.

We spent the latter part of the afternoon on the porch dancing.  I teach a semester of dance-and so I know lots of kids songs to dance to.  I am not sure what folks thought as they walked or drove past the stately “Thompson Home”  that afternoon.  If they thought “the country has come to town”, they wouldn’t be far off.

When Lyla curled up on the settee in a patch of sunlight, we turned off the music.  I turned my attention from the “Cha Cha Slide”, to the kitchen.  We had a light supper. Lyla was barely awake when the moon came up.  Like the sun in the morning, the moon was bright  and fairly lit the backyard, though it was only half full.

Today was a lovely as any, and I did not regret for one moment, taking a day off from work, to spend my time with family.  Anne of Green Gables said “I am so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers.”  I am in full agreement . . .and the same could be said of September.

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When Snow Blossoms


I left Elizabeth City around three on Sunday.  It was a bright and cooler day than Saturday had been.  Jenny and I took a stroll with Lyla early in the afternoon.  We walked by the flat rock, where Lyla and I sat on summer days, across the little bridge and along the banks of the “laughing” river.    Lyla spied out every pumpkin display, while Jenny and I shared some hopes and dreams.  We smelled my favorite rose on Raleigh Street  and had a visit with a friendly dog.  When we got back home,  Jenny took Lyla upstairs for a nap, and I loaded my things in the car-and headed back to the rabbit patch.

I do not like driving, as some do, but the weather was fair and clear-and traffic was especially light.  I thanked God, that Will and Jenny lived just an hour away.   Just a few short years ago, they lived in Wilmington. I can not drive in the heavy traffic of Wilmington.  Everybody seems late for something and folks drive like they have nine lives on any given day.  I am just not suited for driving in such conditions-and everyone agrees, on that.  Will was offered a job in his hometown., Elizabeth City and Lyla was born two years later.

I thought about such things as I drove by massive fields, where corn used to grow-and across the three rivers.   . .back to the rabbit patch.  When I turned on to the road I live on, I noticed “snow had blossomed”.  The cotton fields were white and they do look snow covered, once the bolls have opened.  Some folks have taken to using cotton in arrangements.

Sun and shadow fell in long slanted streaks when I pulled in to the rabbit patch.  I noticed the roses seemed to have had a “second wind”.  They were blooming cheerfully along with the floss flower and the “old house flowers” Kyle had dug  shamefully, from a ditch, years ago.  The loosestrife, that Mama does not like, has seen better days and will need to be cut back shortly-and the grass needs mowing.  Pine straw is beginning to fall from the old Pine at the front of the yard-and pine cones too.  Pine cones are the best thing I know of to start a fire with, but gathering them is slow and painful work.  

Christian came out as always, to carry my things in.  Cash ran around the yard at “break neck speed” as he does when I come home.  I started supper straightaway-and another pot of oats and fruit, for my breakfast this week.  I have had oats and blueberries, oats and pumpkin, oats and cranberries . . well, a lot of oats.  I sure wish biscuits were good for you.

When supper was finished and the oats were cooked, I settled in for the night.  I did go out a bit later to say good night.  The sky was clouded and there was no sign of Lylas’ “little moon”-nor a single star to wish on.  It is very dark in the countryside in the absence of heavenly shine.  Cash sits beside me on high alert, looking in every direction.  If he ever barks-or even growls, I am likely to dash through the ginger lilies to the back door . . and say my prayers, at the morning table, instead.

Dear Diary, I am glad for walks by a sleepy river with Jenny.  I am glad for “little moons” and roses that caught a “second wind”.  I am glad for resting fields  and I am especially glad for “snow that blossoms”.


The First Days of Autumn


With school closed , this past Monday-and me having had a four day holiday in Wilmington, time defied gravity and flew, this week.  Mornings were golden , making even,  a tattered cornfield  lovely at dawn.  Most every day, a blanket of fog hangs just over the soil, giving ordinary fields a hallowed look.  Soybeans are yellow  and could be mistaken for flowers if looked at hurriedly.  Leaves are starting to be strewn in the road and the grass does not grow as quickly as it did in midsummer.  Today, is the first day of autumn, after all.

I have come to love every season, but autumn is my favorite right now. Being fickle, I will declare my favorite is winter when it snows-and when it is spring-well I proclaim it is surely the most beautiful time in the world-until it is summer.  I think in some way, seasons prepare us for next one.  The wicked heat of  late summer makes me yearn for a chilly day and so I look forward to the time of soft blankets and small fires.  Suppers will feature chowders and hearty soups and I am more likely to bake breads once autumn  makes it presence known.  

The warm weather is still lingering for now.   The horses that graze in quiet pastures are still sleek and the shade of the sycamores is only slightly less dense than it was in July.  Just the lightest and daintiest sweaters are worn now, and only in the first hours of day.  Seldom does any dramatic change herald a new season, but one thing I have noted is that the days are remarkably shorter.

I left right after school, on Friday for Elizabeth City.  Will and Jenny, being young, have all sorts of social functions and so I would stay with Lyla.   I had planned on a evening walk with Lyla, but darkness  fell and so suddenly it seemed.

Saturday Morning

I missed the early service.   The sun had claimed its’ space boldly, by the time I got up.  Lyla, is an early riser and is ready for her day, the minute she wakes.  I had told her the night before we would have pancakes for breakfast and she  brought that up as I was having my first coffee.

Not long after pancakes and honey, Will took Lyla to the little park just a short walk away.   It is the same park where Lyla and I fed the wild geese in summer. I waved good bye to Lyla from the kitchen window, where a dogwood grows.  I noticed that the once jade green leaves of the young tree, were now an apricot color in spots.  The tree now has an abundance of bright red berries, too.  Cardinals love the berries.

 The coolness of the morning was fleeting and by the time they got back, it was hot.  The “laughing river” was very blue today and in no hurry to go anywhere.  There wasn’t a bit of breeze to change its’ mind, either.  Will and Lyla left again and went to a little league baseball game, a fruit stand and then visited with his mom, Miss Claudia.  Jenny worked on school assignments while I did some light housekeeping.  The morning, like the laughing river, hadn’t a bit of rush about it . . and  I liked that.

The afternoon was hot and still.  Lyla and I did not stroll til the evening because of that.  When we did, there was a slight cool, breeze. . .but it was not enough to disturb the peace of the river.  The mighty Pasquotank  looked like glass  and liable to shatter if anyone dared to toss a stone -or sneeze.  We walked to where we first saw the bats, in late spring.  In June, we watched hundreds of bats swoop and dive in unison.  It was a spectacular aerial  expression that was mezmorizing.  We did not see a single bat this night.  I wondered if they, like many songbirds had migrated south where fruit is still ripening.    When the moon came up, Lyla found it first and said “look Honey Bee, it’s a little moon!”-and she was right as only a slice of moon hung in the vast dark sky. . .and it did look small-and reminded me of a lantern.

The village was quiet as we walked.  Not even a dog barked in the distance.  The only sign of life was the lamps burning bright in the windows of both cottages and manor homes, alike.  It always makes me happy to think that folks are safely gathered in.

 We may wander about on bright days and see all sorts of people and do all sorts of things. . .but when night falls, we remember where we belong, and those that belong to us.  We come home to where things are familiar and predictable  . . where supper is cooking while a cat sleeps in a corner-and a light shines bright in the window.

Dear Diary, I am glad for still water and little moons.  I am glad for new seasons and sweet memories of those passed.  I am glad for dogwoods and red berries in clusters of autumn -colored leaves. 


From Sea to Field


Monday morning dawned fair in Wilmington.  I sat on the porch of my son, Tres’ cottage, near downtown in the first hours of light, in the company of his kittens, “Hank” and “Jolene”.  There were only a few folks out, compared to the week end mornings.  Only a few dogs got walked today, and I only saw one stroller.  Folks were leaving in a hurried state and I listened to more than a few dogs moan pitifully,  the first few minutes of their owners’ departure.  Tres had to leave too.  Mondays change everything.

Will, Jenny and I were leaving by noon and so I did not tarry long on the porch-I had things to do.  The last few days had been busy and I did not feel well, either.  Tres had “waited  on me hand and foot” and I wanted to do something for him.  I grabbed a pair of scissors and took to cutting some of those “southern vines”, I complain of often.  I had noticed several thorned vines in a camilla and the hateful “Virginia creeper”  invading the jasmine.  I pulled a few weeds and then commenced to sweeping the porch.  If I’d have had just a few hours, Tres would have come home to scrubbed floors and a cooked lunch.  Instead, he will find a letter on his pillow, declaring him a noble son and brother. . .and all sorts of other endearments,  love mom.

We left Wilmington right on time.  I told myself, Thanksgiving was not so awful long, away, but waving good bye to Brant, was sad anyway.  I took some comfort, that he would have plenty of rutabagas for the next couple of days.  He just loves rutabagas.

Lyla is a funny little companion to travel with.  If we had to wait long at a stoplight, she would say ” oh no! we are stuck!” If Will hit a bump in the road, she would shout “whoa daddy!”  She fell asleep an hour into the trip with a cookie in her hand, I had packed in case of “tough times” on the journey.

Not far from the city by the sea, were cornfields.  The stalks are now dried to a toasty brown and laden with cobs of  bright yellow corn.  Some people have pumpkins out.  Marigolds are in their glory and making quite a statement in many yards.  Leaves are likely to come unfastened in the slightest breeze, and when they do, they twirl and flutter as if they were part of  well choreographed ballet.

When we pulled into the rabbit patch,  I was thankful the grass did not need mowing.  Cash greeted me like I had been gone a fortnight and the kitchen  fairly sparkled.  Nothing was out of place.  Kyle and Christian, never let me down on maintaining proper order , in my absence.  Of course I had to say good bye again – now to Jenny,  a most thoughtful and loving daughter-and Lyla which is always a hard thing.  . .and last, but far from least, Will, who I declare, is another son and I could not have “hand picked” a better one.  Thank Goodness ( another name for God)  Christian was home, and that was a saving grace .

Supper was cooking and clothes were washing, by the time Kyle came home.  I took a stroll around the territory and found the loosestrife and zinnias were spent.  The roses in the “Quiet Garden”  are especially quiet-and they have a right to be, in September.  The “autumn joy” has deepened dramatically  to a warm plum color, and seems to be bragging about it . . .  In a span of just four days, much can happen in the countryside.  

Dear Rabbit Patch Diary,  I am glad for the ” ties that bind” family .  I am glad for the way the countryside announces seasons.  I am glad for safe travels from the sea to fields, with loved ones . . .and a place to come home to where love abides-and the Autumn joy blooms.

When Love is Gathered


Last year, I did a lot of writing by a splashing fountain.  I am again in its’ cheerful company.  Will, Jenny, Lyla and I left Friday afternoon for Wilmington, where my oldest two sons live.  I have not seen Brant, since early spring, as he works on week-ends.  Tres comes home more often, but whatever the circumstances, I have missed my boys.

Lyla stayed up long past her bedtime that night-we all did.   Brant was at work when we arrived at his house.  Tres came over, when he got off work.  He and Lyla had played for hours and I worried she would fall asleep before Brant came in-but she didn’t and seemed to find renewed strength, at the sight of her Uncle Brant. Lyla adores her uncles, and the feeling seems to be quite mutual.  Neither of her uncles are above tea parties and picnics-which Lyla has several times a day.  My sons will comfort her doll, too, if need be.  It endears my sons to me, even more so, (if that is possible)  to watch how tender they are with Lyla.

Lyla had been putting coins in a piggy bank for a long while, the first night.  I was there with her and determined to watch silently and allow her to concentrate.  I was drowsy and the steady rhythm of coins dropping , did not help the situation.  Finally, Lyla laid down on the floor to drop the coins.  Then she stopped altogether, having fallen fast asleep in the process.

Tres and I drove to his house, about fifteen minutes away in almost quiet streets.  We pulled into his neighborhood.  I had not been to this house.  The street lights revealed the neighborhood, as best they could.  I have not felt well, for a few days, and it was beginning to catch up with me, but I did note there were a lot of old trees and picket fences, as we walked on to the porch, somewhere around midnight.


The next morning, not long after waking, I went out .  The neighborhood was “chockablock” full of cottages, old trees and late-blooming flowers.  Most every house had a picket fence, adding even more charm to the picture.  I just love historical neighborhoods and this one convinced me I was not wrong to do so.   All of the cottages were moderate in size but distinctly different in some way.  I had rested well, but I was just not up for a walk.  Tres brought coffee and cheddar cheese out and we had a nice morning chat, while people walked dogs.  One lady was handing out flyers about a good cause and plenty of folks were riding bikes.  It was a busy and cheerful morning on that street.  Tres went in to fix breakfast and I ventured out a short distance.  One neighbor had a little “library” in his yard.  There was an adorable little “house like” cabinet with a glass door in his yard. where books were kept.  These books are there to be borrowed, free for all.  I had heard of these “little free libraries”, but had never seen one. One day, along with a lemonade stand, I may have a “little library”  too, I thought.

 After breakfast, Tres took me on a drive around the neighborhood.  It was a sprawling neighborhood and every dwelling was just adorable.  There were more trees and bushes than I could have imagined, in city limits.  Flowering vines rambled every where they could.  There was huge park that could even satisfy the heart of country folks.

We drove on to Brants’ house by the splashing fountain.  Will, Jenny and Lyla had left to visit Wills’ grandmother and his dad, who was having a birthday.  They live just south of Wilmington.  I spent the afternoon with Brant and Tres.  They watched football, and it reminded me of when they really were boys, so many seasons ago.   .   when autumn  afternoons were predictably centered around football and food.  I knew stats and players, in those days and team rankings.  

Will and Jenny returned in the early evening.  Tres cooked supper for all of us.   Lyla had her own “picnic”  on a beach towel, in the living room.  It was late when Tres and I  drove back to the sweet neighborhood, where he lives.  The  morning commotion was a sharp contrast to the peace of the midnight hour.


I woke early on Sunday and felt the best I had in days.  Tres slept through sunrise, but I had the company of “Hank” and “Jolene”, two  kittens, Tres adopted in late spring.  The pair are siblings and Tres could not bear to separate the two, though he had planned to rescue a single kitten.   Both, Hank and Jolene seemed to be wearing masks, but Jolene also has a golden crown, being she is a calico.  Jolene seems mighty aware of this feature.  

When Tres awakened, he made coffee straightaway, and served me a piping hot cup, as if I myself had a crown, like Jolene.  While Tres made breakfast, I met the next door neighbors, with the “little library”.  The wife was reading aloud while they had coffee.  They were kind folks and I was fond of them, right off.

Tres and I decided that directly after breakfast, we would go to Brants’.  I felt well enough today, to fix a “Sunday Dinner”.  Jenny called within a few minutes, and said Lyla was sick.

It was not the head cold, as I was having, but an upset stomach, that plagued Lyla.  At the height of her suffering, Lyla looked at Will and said “help me daddy”.  I think it broke his heart.  Lyla has never ailed from such a thing, and so I am quite sure, the ordeal was a horrible shock.  Thankfully, it was  a short lived affair and by early afternoon, Lyla felt better and  finally ate  some of her favorite snack, “Goldfish”.

By three o’clock, I was peeling rutabagas, which is a tiresome task.  I had already snapped beans and still had turnips to peel.  Brant took pity and finished the rutabagas.  Within a few hours the house smelled like Sunday.  There was one football game after another, on all afternoon.  Lyla played happily while her uncles and dad watched the game.  Supper was cooking , the fountain was splashing  and a light, cool rain was falling outside.

Sometimes “Red Letter Days”  are known only to the person living them-this day was one of them for me.  To be fully content is beautiful- and humbling.  It made me want to leap . . and then to bow in gratitude.  I wanted to laugh-and I wanted to cry .  I wanted to sing and I wanted to be silent.   When love is gathered,  it  is a mighty powerful thing.




















The Past Few Days at the Rabbit Patch



The morning started off beautifully.  The sunrise at the ” early service”  was as usual, stunning.  I admired Gods’ Handiwork and then went in to fix Sunday Dinner.  I had written a post earlier, and so I “published” it as the ribs were simmering.  When I checked later, on the post, it had gone to some unfamiliar place with a different look altogether.  This really alarmed me, as my technical skills are lacking.  I worked on the problem without a bit of luck, til I worried that I wouldn’t have time to make the lemon pudding cake for dessert.  I abandoned my mission, in light of that, and headed to the bowl where I had mixed the glorious concoction for the cake.  It was full of ants.  I had used the last  of what was needed and so I scrambled to gather the ingredients for a pumpkin cake instead.  Meanwhile, Christopher Robin got sick and deposited last nights’ bowl of cream on the den floor.  I would not be making biscuits today.

Once the cake was in the oven, alongside the ribs, I went back to  the morning table to figure out what happened with the entry.  Truthfully, I never did and I still had okra to cook.  This was not the day to live dangerously, so I put all of my attention to the pan of okra.  Mama and daddy arrived around noon and somehow there was food on the table. Though we all enjoyed the meal, mama said she wished I had cooked biscuits.

I ended up rewriting the original post, in the afternoon.  I had already started this one and so for the first time in my brief blogging history, I was writing two posts at once.  I do not recommend this.  It was far harder than playing the cello.  If it had been a poem, I would not have blinked twice, but it was an entry I had lost-an account of my life and it seemed so precious.  . .not because the world needed it, but because I did.  I have journals kept for over thirty years and they are  more important to me than any important documents about such things as house insurance.  Most of them are letters to my children.  It seems the rabbitpatch diary is precious to me, too, I realise now.

Since the threat of a hurricane is past, I put out a few of the autumn decorations on the porch.  I hung a wreath on the door and tied a new bow on the lamp post.  I took down the summer flowers to be replaced with marigolds and chrysanthemums, first chance I get.  Paired with pumpkins, the autumn flowers will be a lovely sight.

Thankfully, the afternoon passed without the audacity of the morning.  Cash and Christopher Robin slept while I cleaned the den and tried to remember the morning entry.  I cooked a big batch of the vegetable burgers and got them all packaged.  I also made another pot of steel cut oats with pumpkin and ginger, as I had pumpkin left from the “Sunday dinner” cake.  I never did watch the weather, but plan too tonight.  Everyone is telling me that just rain and some wind is forecasted for the next few days .


The light hardly changed at all today.  The sky was a silvery gray from sunrise til the sunset.  There was a constant cool breeze.  Rain did not fall until early evening, though the heavens had looked threatening all day.  Under such conditions, the “autumn joy” nearly glows.  It is a deep mauve now, but will steadily deepen til at  last it is a warm burgundy.  The row of sunflowers in the garden would make you think that sunshine can bloom, if you saw them.

All day, a light wind blew.  Lamps  shone brightly in the windows of  homes.  I like to think of people safely tucked in.  


Today looked much like yesterday.  I realise, in these circumstances,  how much I depend on sun and shadows to know the time of day.  Without  dawn, dusk and slanting rays, time seems unchanging.  The day passes anyway, but without  the fanfare, of sunny days.

School has been in session for three weeks now.  I have slipped into routine at the rabbit patch.  I have found that adhering to a schedule, during the school year is a saving grace for me.  Laundry does not disappear if neglected but instead accumulates at an alarming rate.  I do a load of laundry everyday to avoid that . We are all hungry everyday, too.  I start supper as the laundry is washing.  I am a early riser, but it takes me longer than most to “get my bearings straight”.  Therefore all decisions about wardrobe and lunch are made the night before, though I awaken two hours before, I have to be at work.  If none of this sounds glamorous and exciting, you are right about that. . yet I am  satisfied and  even content .

One thing I am not short on is inspiration.  The world is quite generous and supplies me an abundance of tender moments and beauty . . . sometimes growing on a ditch bank.  . . I pass an old abandoned homestead on my drive home.  The old house , that once stood on the edge of field, is gone now altogether.  A decade ago, the remnants could be seen.  Of course, I am sentimental about such things.  Who called this place home?, I wonder.  What woman planted the flowers that still remain-and on and on I go, til at last I am sure I would have loved all that lived there and I miss them.  Now the little remaining patch of earth is overgrown and full of bricks- the last relics that testify, a house was once there.   Today the yellow “swamp flowers’ were blooming, there, like a memorial, I thought.

  I remembered  when I moved to the rabbit patch.  Kyle and Christian were young boys.  Kyle and I were riding by the same old house one day -and the swamp flowers were blooming.  Of course, I happened to have a shovel in the car and so I pulled in the old drive way.  I got the shovel and asked Kyle to dig up a few for the rabbit patch.  He was horror struck at the prospect of digging in a ditch for flowers!  He worked as quickly as he could, and to his relief, not a car passed the whole time.

I still laugh when I remember that day.  We renamed the flowers.  We call them the “old house flowers” and they are blooming now .  .at the rabbit patch.

Dear Diary, I am still glad for Sunday Dinner.  I am glad for silver skies  and cool breezes.  I am also glad for the “old house flowers” and the young boy that brought them to the rabbit patch.






A Good Dog and Floss Flowers


On Saturday, I made the “early service”.  It was both beautiful and glorious.  It matters little to me, whether it is over field or ocean,  I find daybreak to be holy.  It happens everyday-and always has, but this does not make it ordinary, nor lessen the grandeur of sunrise.  The choir of songbirds do not attend as they did before, and so in their absence, it is mostly silent.

It was so very cool and pleasant out.  I noticed the floss flowers were everywhere.  How pretty and daintily they grow, with their clusters of periwinkle blossoms.  I think all the floss flower needs is a handful of soil, for they grow everywhere they please.  The wind plants the seeds of the floss flower, and they “bloom where they are planted”.  I also noted the grass needs mowing again.  This is no small task at the  sprawling rabbit patch.  Rain is coming and I should mow today, I thought.  At least while mowing,  I can entertain lofty notions.  In the past, I have solved problems as I mow and written poems.  My loyal boxer, Cash will watch me mow, always on the alert, should I stall the engine.

I went in and put a pot of beans on.  I planned to make the popular vegetable burgers for my lunch this week.  The beans need to simmer a good while.  I eventually talked myself into mowing, while they cooked.

The sycamores are dropping the first of their leaves now.  The leaves are the size of a dinner plate.  If neglected, the leaves curl and form layer upon layer, deep enough to hide a small pony.   The grape vines are full this year.  Kyle has picked them several times, already.  The pecan trees are bare.  The chives are blossoming again.  They are the only herb in the garden, earning its’ keep, just now.  I use the blossoms to flavor all sorts of dishes.  The beauty berry bushes are claiming a fair share of the young woods.  What a striking contrast they lend to the countryside, with their branches laden with fuschia berries.  The “autumn joy” is splendid with the mauve spikes of colors.  I disturbed a small flock of butterflies as I mowed.  The phlox remains stalwart as ever.  I did not not solve a mystery today nor have any “big ideas”,  but the day was bright and beautiful . . and Cash said he loved me several times.  He came running when I stopped to move sticks.  Once I got stuck.  He watched me struggle and it made him nervous to see me in that predicament.  He moaned and pranced around til I had freed the mower.  When I caught a small stick in the blade, the mower made a harmless, but unfamiliar sound.  Cash ran and barked at me, til I stopped and dislodged the thing.  Other than that, Cash watched me mow every area, from a safe distance, in the shade of some old tree.

I did not finish mowing in time to see the local news. but the national news said a shift had lessened the amount of impact, here.  My heart goes out to those in the path of the storm.

A few new things transpired this week.  I am learning to play the cello.  I decided a few years ago that one day, I would.  I thought it would be a healthy and pleasant hobby.  The motion of the bow is opposite of the violin and the finger placement is different.  This has proven to be a challenge.  I am forced to think in a new way from the way I have thought when playing the violin,but it intrigues me greatly to do so.  Lyla started preschool.

Now everybody thinks this is grand-including Lyla.  Jenny is doing a part time  internship for school and the the nursery is just two mornings a week.  I do not know why, it has taken me so long to get used to the idea.  It does not affect my life nor change a thing-well, it means Lyla is growing up.  She has a back pack and a lunch box-and “school clothes”.  She already has a friend and a sweet teacher.  I have liked everything I have heard about the school, yet it means something to me and feels very significant.  Oh, it is a tiresome thing to have a very sentimental heart.

Dear Diary, I am glad for the bright beauty berry that fills the woods-and the floss flower that “blooms where it is planted”.  I am glad for mornings . . and I am especially glad for a good dog, that helps me tend this rabbit patch.



While the Moon Shines Brightly


It seems a lot longer than four days, since I watched Lyla play by the pink ocean water in the shine of a silver moon.  There has been a good amount of details, to tend, since our holiday, at the beach.  There is a hurricane to watch, after all.

Waiting, in general is not a passive state, as I used to think.  There is an art to waiting without desperation.   I have practiced waiting a lot in life and find to preserve my sense of well being,  I remind myself, often, that things happen when they ought to.  Waiting for a hurricane,  takes a lot of  energy in several aspects.  I am storing water and am well stocked with all sorts of flashlights, lamp oil and candles.  I have bought food that doesn’t require refrigeration.  We will use the grill for cooking what we can.  Thankfully, the rabbit patch does not flood.  The creeks will rise and close the road off in both directions,  but in all the time I have lived here, I have never had to even wade in the yard.  Of course, there are the old trees that stand like warriors, all over the territory.  If one goes down on the old farmhouse, I will be “between a rock and a hard place” immediately.  It has been raining off and on for weeks, so with the ground , already wet,  I must consider the trees.

Currently,  the path of the storm is just unpredictable, so we all do what we can and hope for the best.  In the past,  we have lost power for up to two weeks during a hurricane.  I washed clothes as my great grandmother did and hung them on a line to dry.  This took all morning.  We took showers in the privacy of the “Quiet Garden” using a water hose.  This was a hard time for many folks.  Christian and I fared better than most as we wrote poems and played music to pass the time.  Reading was very difficult, but we managed til, the lamp oil was running low.  I hope we do not face these circumstances again, but I can hardly complain, in light of the suffering of others,  I have seen. 

 For now, September at the rabbit patch has felt like a visit from an old friend. Every year, September arrives and  dependably brings relief from the heat and humidity of summer.  Days are bright  -or stormy.  Mornings are golden-or foggy.  Marigolds and chrysanthemums will join the geraniums on the porch. The Autumn Joy,  given to me by Miss Susie, years ago, will deepen in color and the zinnias will fade.  Shade will gradually grow sparse and at some point, trees will give up the secrets of spring, as the robins’ nest will be in plain view. . .and full of old leaves and pine straw.

Soft throws will adorn chairs and sofas in the old farm house. Now, that it is September,  nights are just a tad longer and a tad cooler, too.  This morning, I wore a light jacket to work.  Even the kitchen table bears witness to the prelude of autumn.  Already, I have made a large pot of steel cut oats with a generous amount of cranberries and apples.  The cabinets are stocked with dried beans for supper on chilly evenings.  It will not be too long before roasts smothered in gravy and freshly baked bread is served on Sunday. . .September changes the world at the rabbit patch, slightly but surely.

I sit now, at the morning table as twilight falls over Farm Life.  Everything is hushed, both wild and tame.  The kitchen table , with its’ flashlights, oil lamps and stored up water  is the only sign that the peace can be disturbed.  Meanwhile, the bright moon is rising over the oldest barn and casts a milky shine on the countryside.  The air is as still as it has ever been and smells faintly sweet.  There are only a few stars out, but they are  a fair sight to behold.  The beauty of this night in September, fills my heart and leaves little room for things like burdens and worry.  The moment is comforting like  the love of a mother and as dependable as a steadfast father.  Somehow, all my needs-and more, are met . . . and “hope does spring eternal”  . . .especially, in September, while the moon shines brightly.

Dear Diary, I am glad for September with its’ pink ocean water and the moon shining brightly.  I am glad for the still and silent evenings.  I am glad for the refreshing coolness.  I am glad for the  slight but beautiful change in the rabbit patch that happens in September . . .and the chance to wait, hopefully.

Beyond the Laughing River


I left school on Friday and headed for Elizabeth City.  I had not seen Lyla in  almost three weeks, and it felt like longer.  I had  bought a full tank of gas on Thursday, as already some stations were out of it.  I was quite determined to get to the village by the laughing river, before the next storm came through.  . .and thankfully, I did.

 The sky over the village was gray and so was the river water.  This made the village seem quiet and sleepy.  No one was out to see the magnolia still in bloom nor the dogwoods first red leaves.  Lamps burned brightly in the windows of the  quaint cottages, as well as the stately manor homes.  What a pretty picture it made.  The little bridge was already sparsely covered in water, by the time I crossed it .  The large flat rock, that Lyla had wanted to nap on, in July, was hidden under the gray water, like a sunken treasure-and to me it was just that.

It wasn’t too long, after I arrived, that Lyla and I were watching it rain, from the porch.  The constant wind was cool and sometimes blew raindrops on us.  The rain was silver in the light of the street lamps and it fell generously on the “just and the unjust” as it is written.

On Saturday, conditions were the same, as had been  predicted.  This did not stop us from making some last minute plans to go to the beach.  The Atlantic ocean is just thirty minutes or so from Elizabeth City,  and so in good faith that the sun would shine, Will, Jenny, Lyla, Miss Claudia and I  packed a few things and we were off to the seaside.  As it turns out, Miss Claudia is a great traveling companion.  She stopped by a bakery and purchased lemon bars and cheesecake bars before she left Elizabeth City.  On the way, she stopped at a roadside shop that had fresh peaches and watermelon.  There was also a bakery that sold fresh bread and pecan pies.  She bought pear and fig preserves for the bread.  Well, that made a difference, in the state of our affairs. 

The sun was shining brightly on Sunday morning.  After breakfast, Jenny and Will walked to the beach, with Lyla.  It is a short walk, comparable to my walk to the oldest barn on the rabbit patch.  I joined them later.  The beach was not as crowded, as I had expected.  Kites were soaring and umbrellas of every hue lined the shore.  It was a happy scene to view.  Lyla played in the sand and loved the kites.  I loved the yellow butterflies.  They were everywhere.  How beautiful they were fluttering above the ocean.  They looked like confetti, I thought.  When I got back to the cottage, I learned they were  named cloudless butterflies and were preparing for migration to Florida.  Whatever their plans,  I was glad to have seen them on their merry way to somewhere.

After spending the morning on the beach, we opted for a picnic on the top deck. From there, we could see the ocean over the dune, and smell the salt air.  The “Joe Bell” flowers dotted the landscape .  The bright yellow and orange blossoms looked so dainty that it was hard to believe that they could survive on sand and wind full of salt-but they do, dependably.  The cottages along the shore are all shades of blue, from lavender to periwinkle.  There are also pink ones and turquoise, yellow-well almost every color can be found in a short distance.  Trees do not grow so tall and the birds do not resemble the woodland birds, I am used to.  It is such a different world, just a short drive from the laughing river.

Will and Jenny took Lyla to visit friends, after the picnic.  Miss Claudia and I relaxed at the cottage.  I spent some time sitting in the sunshine, much like the habit of  my cat, Christopher Robin.  I tried not to think of anything, except the warm sunshine and the soft cool breeze that was blowing.  It worked-and I nearly fell asleep. Later on, Miss Claudia ordered us plates of  fresh seafood and her first cousin, Vivian and husband Val came.  They have a cottage just a few miles away.  (Vivian reads the Rabbit Patch Diary) I found them delightful and friendly folks.

In late evenings, Lyla and I would walk to the beach to see the moon.  It was an almost full moon, we saw last night.  The sky was pink after sunset.  The ocean followed suit, and for a while, appeared the water was pink while a silver moon was rising.  It was a beautiful sight.  The waves weren’t causing the same commotion they had earlier, but instead, broke gently.  The crashing sound of the waves was now more like  a contented purr.  Lyla ran about in complete freedom, as the only other folks on the beach, were some fishermen in the distance.  We lingered on the shore, til it was dark and Lylas’ hair was full of sand.  We walked back to the cottage hand in hand.  Neither of us said anything.  Holding hands was enough.  Miss Claudia had the porch light on, like a beacon, welcoming us back.  

Sometime today, we will head inland where mockingbirds sing and trees are tall and mighty. . .where fields lie golden and silent.   . .and the leaves of the dogwood are turning red.

   Dear Diary, I am glad for oceans and silver moon shine.  I am glad for the yellow butterflies of September . . and kites with long dancing tails.  I am glad for a world with sandy beaches strewn with shells and . . . tree lined sidewalks where acorns fall .  

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