There has been no need to build a fire as of lately, at the ” rabbit patch”. Instead, the window, by the morning table, is raised. Rain falls steadily and sounds like a lullaby, sung by nature. There was still snow this morning. It was lying in ditches and by the edge of the woods. The rain washed it all away today and so the landscape became the familiar monochromatic shades of winter, again.
The “early service” was especially beautiful today. When light came to herald a new day . . .well it made quite a spectacal of itself. The sky was almost lavender and the sun cast rays the color of clementines. . . then, a mockingbird sang , some blackbirds cheered -and the day was born.
A southerly wind breathed the sweet country air in the old farmhouse through the still open window. If I am afforded the conditions to put a window up, I will. It may be a different story, when I one day, live in a cottage on small town street, but as long as I dwell in the country, I will smell the pines in January, drifting through the old house, every chance I get-and I will be glad for it. . .and more importantly, content.
There are a few tasks at the rabbit patch I want to complete, but with it being a three day week end, there is no sense of rush, which delights me. I am thinking to make tea cakes again, for practice-and because we all like them.
My great grandmother, ” Mama Hodges” was known for pound cakes and tea cakes. Her kitchen always smelled of those concoctions, and rightly so, as most often, there was a pound cake,on her refrigerator ( called a Kelvinator, in those days). She had a metal cake pan, out of a childs’ reach, for also in those days, a child would NEVER risk the aftermath of putting her shoes on anyones’ furniture-or a kitchen chair.
“Mama Hodges” seemed old in my earliest memories of her. She had been widowed as a young mother of four and wore black for over forty years, after “Papa” died, until her own death. She usually wore a white apron, too. Every week, on one morning, Mama and Grandmama, took my sister, Delores and I to visit “Mama Hodges”. Delores and I were expected to sit quietly with the women-and we did. It was always hot enough “to cure tobacco” in that living room. The hours were as slow as the the elders prayers, on Sunday. Ever so often, the women went to the kitchen and Mama Hodges would offer Delores and I, a piece of her pound cake. She would cut a slice and promptly banish us to the back porch, so as not to get crumbs on her floor. What a happy turn of events that was for us. It was like “having your cake, and eating it too”.
There was a “spinster” named “Miss Delphie that lived just down the road, and we often saw her., there at “Mama Hodges'”, house. Miss Delphie was a small, quiet woman. She crocheted little hats and blankets for new babies. She could also gather flowers off of a ditch bank and make very impressive arrangements-fit for the Church,on Sunday. The women talked in quiet voices and had the most proper conversations. The television was never on and as a child, I imagined all sorts of stories, while the ladies talked about crocheting. When my great Aunt Agnes came over, things livened up. Aunt Agnes wore dangling earrings and perfume. I was always so happy, if my cousin “Faith” was with her. Things happened when Faith came. Once, Faith talked back to Miss Delphie. Miss Delphie got on Faith, about not being “lady like” about something-and Faith said ” well, when I grow up, at least I am going to have a husband!” You could have heard a pin drop. We were all shocked and I was sure Faith would be arrested! I was quite relieved to see her in Sunday School, the following Sunday-alive and well and still apt to be sassy. I do not make a pound cake or tea cakes, that I do not remember those long and mostly uneventful, mornings at Mama Hodges, many years ago.
I had to close the window, by early afternoon. Clouds covered the sky over the rabbit patch and the air had quite a chill. It is hard to believe, but there is another chance of snow on Wednesday. There has been no mention of sub freezing temperatures, and in all probability, this will be just a “dusting” and harmless.
Winter is not beloved to many. Christmas lights do not twinkle as they did a short while ago. The landscape lies barren in hues of brown and gray. Light is scarce and often muted. Still, we ought not to lose heart . Winter does not make the many demands , like the warmer seasons do. Gardeners can spend the winter dreaming, for they know that miracles await, just beneath the soil. Winter is a time to rest and to consider . . .to gather our wishes and to build fires. Don’t forget to love the winter, too.