I spent a delightful weekend in Elizabeth City. The weather was as lovely, as I have ever seen. It is true, that I can be quite fickle about seasons, but these days, I declare that autumn is my favorite. The hateful southern humidity vanishes and the brightest days of the year are here. Evenings are chilly and so are mornings. A light soft blanket will do just fine. . . .and supper can be bit heartier, than in months like July.
The little grand daughters and I took several walks by the laughing river, during my visit. The constant breeze seemed to tickle the shining water. Lyla walks now, beside a fancy little stroller for Brynn. One day, we walked over a mile. It was too lovely a day not to do so. Lyla never complained, but she did say, when her home was in sight, “I am going to take my shoes off, as soon as we get in.” -and she did.
Another day, when we walked, the river was a deep purple. What a pretty sight that was! The sky was a royal blue and here and there were stark white, cotton clouds. Some of the dogwoods have started to turn crimson and their berries are already a bright red. We watched a small family of birds have a late breakfast of them. The birds chattered cheerfully and caused quite a commotion as they feasted on the generous bounty of October.
I tucked these things in my heart and told Lyla to do the same. I have had this practice, for decades. My idea is that if you fill your heart with gladness and beauty, there won’t be as much room for undesirable notions . Besides, it can’t do a bit of harm.
With such turbulent times, I have slipped back into the habit of keeping up, somewhat with the news. Of course, now one must sift through the many falsehoods, to find a single strand of truth. That is tiring. What truth, I do find -and I use that word loosely – is not pleasant. Everyone is full of harsh expression and folks are sorted into categories as if we were objects. I fear hearts have hardened. There are systems for everything “under the sun”, yet to me we are less civilized now, than ever.
Maybe, I have gotten old and grumpy. I will risk that and say, that a lot of things seem to “have taken a turn for the worse”. I agree with Solomon –for I too am dismayed with all the folly, but I am more determined than ever to live a meaningful life. . . so I have thought a lot lately about that.
I can not cure this virus, nor feed all the hungry people in this world. I can not clean up the planet, or make it a safe “playground” for its’ children. . oh, I do have quite a lofty “wish list”. . .but sometimes, it seems that what I am mostly doing is working to eat and keep the electricity bill paid! How shallow, I think. Lacking worldly power and influence, I have only very ordinary earthly means at my disposal. . . but I do not lack will and perseverance. I do not lack the capacity to love, either.
In light of all this “vexation”, I drew the conclusion that the contents of a meaningful life varies greatly, depending on whom you ask. For me, I will keep strolling along the banks of rivers and meandering through fields and woods. I will stand in moonshine and plant flowers. I will feed people as best I can and teach my grand children poetry. I will fill their hearts and souls with beauty and gratitude. I will try not to be wasteful and I will value the lives of strangers and sparrows, too. I will dwell on these things, for that is what I can do. . . but above all I will love . I do not suppose, my “meaningful ” life will change the world, but it may have its’moments. For all I know, that may be enough. After all, there have been many small moments, in my own life, that made a difference. . .and I can not dismiss the significance of my elders. Not a one of them could claim fame or fortunes, according to this world . . yet they left us all better off .
My paternal grandmother never had a drivers’ license. She did not hold a fancy job nor ever have fancy money, yet often we all talk about the grand legacy, she left us. Grandmama loved us with all her heart, and never made a secret of it. The way she loved impacted her children which impacted her grandchildren and all the children thereafter, which include my own grandchildren. Grandmama served God and she made no secret of that either. Grandmama ‘wore her sermons in her shoes” -and if she ever sinned, well, it was long before any of us came along. No one ever had a bad thing to say about her, and that ought to tell you something. Grandmama made a difference with her life. . .a mighty difference. So, I take heart in that and decide, to just watch the weather.
The diary of this country woman certainly is short on glamour and fanfare -but it is my own story, told in truth. . . and that ought to count for something. Maybe, if we all just try to seek whatever is pure and holy and good . . . . and love one another . . .maybe that is meaningful. . . maybe that is good enough.