July arrived and with it came fireworks . . .and sultry days. Right when I am sure, I can not bear the heat of a day, clouds come up and sprinkle a cool shower. This convinces me to muster the grace, a southerner needs in months like July. . .the window fan, does too.
I have been home a few days now. . .long enough to know where the fawn lays. Though, I am liable to surprise him in the early morning-and again at noon, he does not scurry in haste. I have not seen him sauntering around the yard, recently but it has been a pleasure to catch glimpses of him in the young woods.
I am breaking all the rules instilled in me, as a child, when it comes to taking to the woods in July. I spent a good deal of my youth rambling in woods . . .but not in the late spring or summers. There were poisons of all sorts, and ticks, redbugs and snakes. There were hornets and ground bees -and we children were all warned, sternly about such calamities. It took a hard frost for the woodland ban to be lifted.
I can not help but feel a bit guilty for not heeding my elders . . .even now, and find myself thinking of them all as I work.
The path I am working on is wide and grassy. Sunlight falls lovingly, in bright patches along the way. Birds are constantly tattling on my whereabouts, as I try to tame the wild vines. I have seen several dens of small creatures as I work, in the first light. I know a good many of them are rabbits, and surely there is an opossom or two. A few years ago I saw a raccoon. . .and the wild mulberry is everywhere. How lovely it will be in September.
I always feel like I am in another world, when I am in a patch of woods. Things that matter so very much, outside of the woods, aren’t even relevant . . .in the woods. Trees do not gossip, nor hold grudges. . .and they have always kept my secrets. When I was young, it didn’t matter that I had freckles, and it does not matter today, that my hair is silvering. Trees are not “fair weather friends”.
Yesterday, I did not work. I just did not want to be hot, tired and dirty by eight am, and the rainy forecast gave me permission, to indulge . I stayed busy, for I have been researching the genealogy of my very Irish family. I have gone as far back as the first generation born in America. What lovely names I am finding, such as “Elizabeth Snow, Aqua Belle and Kissie- and then there is “Sarah Asabella Ann”! The men have names like “Julian, Whit and Force”! I just wished the names were spelled the same in official records consistently -and that folks didn’t start using their middle names at random times. It makes the task difficult, but I have fallen in love with these folks. They do not feel like strangers, though I can not explain it. I imagine Johnston and Kissie coming here, young and hopeful. They have a son, named Benjamin, who married Nancey C . . .my great x 3 grandparents. Apparently, the Irish are as tribal as you have heard, for they all married Irish. Only three cousins died young, I suspect from illness, but it is early in the study of my dads’ ancestry, and who knows what awaits. At least, for now, there is no record of anyone so much as stealing an egg!
I have seen butterflies this week. I have only seen but a few fluttering around the phlox, but, I like to see such business. I also had the first ripe peach of the season, one day. Both peaches and apples are a light yield this year. There isn’t a single pear, but one of the fig trees is laden. . .as are the grapevines. I am still faithfully practicing social distancing and so I have time to notice such things.
With schools having closed in March, and that running in to the summer, well . . I had forgotten this kind of life. The kind of life that allows sheets to line dry, and flower beds to be maintained and leisure suppers . . and a cooked breakfast. . .and talking to Mama on a Tuesday morning.
I have never understood the theory that there is “nothing to running a home” . Many are under the impression that it is dull job and requires minimal ability. I suspect, the folks saying such a thing, have never attempted it. There is a lot to do and truthfully, a lot less to it now, for me, than when the children were little, but somehow, I still manage to stay busy. . .of course I do live in a very old house . . .on an almost uncivilized rabbitpatch.
There is an art to housekeeping, even now, when we have modern conveniences. and it is an especially noble work, for the whole family benefits from it. I can not imagine the substance of the folks, before us, like my “Grandma Kissie”. I bet she would have been thrilled to have a can of peas! -and carrots, that she did not dig!
As I write in my beloved rabbitpatch diary, I realise that an account of my own days, tells a story as true as it can be . . but beyond the rabbitpatch, lies another tale.
I used to say that “Farm Life” saw the world changing and just did not participate. That impression has remained. Neighbors here, still bring sweet corn and pies to one another. If a tree goes down in your yard, it is tended to in a group effort. Keys were left in cars, in case someone needed to use it. It gives me great pleasure to write such things . . .and living on a rabbitpatch, nestled in this place, is certainly a beautiful and gratifying experience. I want my heirs to know this and so I keep a record. I have also, always hoped that this diary might inspire readers in some way. I do not expect it to change the world, but maybe, it could change a moment, for someone.
So, beyond the rabbitpatch, things are happening, that I can not fathom. . .and opinions about it are a dime a dozen. It is a sad state of affairs, no matter what . No one can say anything “right” these days and judgement comes swiftly and harshly. Fear and desperation are very conducive to poor behavior, in general. Even the best of us , will fall under these conditions. To say that I am concerned, is a feeble statement for I am heartbroken, really. I am stunned to find us in such a predicament, as well. I am always the last to know anything, but I declare,it seems now, that the world is rushing at an alarming pace to more chaos. I so wish, we would slow down enough to collect our thoughts and seek reconciliation to all the various dividing factors.
One thing I am sure of is that pandemics and politics do not pair well. – And I also am sure, like Tennyson, that . . .”More things are wrought by prayer, than this world dreams of.”