The rabbitpatch is always quiet in winter -and this year more so than ever. Of course, there is no shortage of tasks and I have a borrowed book, that I need to read. There is a small cabinet to paint and a corner of the territory hemmed a foot deep in leaves . . but I have always viewed winter, as a time to rest . . .body and soul.
This is the time, I usually pick a subject to study. I do plan to research something, but for now, I’d as soon paint the table. ( I am still muddled from the months I followed politics fervently.) In that case, I will choose something to wonder about wisely. . .after I paint the cabinet.
This is Tres’ last week of winter break, therefore his last week here. He came in early December and of course, Christian and I dread him leaving. He will be back earning his second degree. It makes me dizzy to hear the names of his classes, but he enjoys them. How handy he has been! He has done several repairs, that were needed. He is good company and cheers me on in my own endeavors. Goodness, what a difference Tres makes at the rabbitpatch- and in so many ways. Of course, my loss is Lyla and Brynns’ gain, for they have missed their uncle and look forward to his return to Elizabeth City.
I am enjoying the stark winter beauty that has at last settled in. Some days are born in brightness, some are born in fog. “Jack Frost” turns up regularly, but never stays for supper! I do not frown on winter, as many do. Even living in a drafty farmhouse, where each room varies greatly in temperature, does not diminish my enthusiasm . I love the winter landscape too. The scene is simplistic. Fields lie in wait for April, as do the flowers. In the absence of leaves, sunlight falls lighting up the dark corners of the territory and what peculiar shadows the twisted branches of the oak make! The colors of the season are muted and I find that peaceful. The silver bark of the sycamore, the gently mottled pecan seem to implore one to slow down and take a close look. How pretty the redbirds are in such a time as winter and most especially when perched on a soft ash branch .
I do not mind the longer nights nor the later mornings, either. Home and hearth are revered more than ever, under such conditions. The old house is almost cold in the mornings and I rise reluctantly from soft, warm blankets, to warm the place up and start coffee. Now, I scurry back to my “nest”, for this is where I have my “early service” in winter. A large window, is my alter, for it frames the sunrise with precision. A pile of books is within arms’ reach ,to prod me on and a cup of coffee is added to the collection. There I await, the light. . .so I do not mind the “late mornings” of winter.
Unlike the rest of the year, by six o’clock in the evening, all who call the rabbitpatch home are settled in, while supper cooks. I see the lamps shining in my neighbors’ homes and am glad they too, are home, “safe and sound”. In warmer months, folks are likely to be anywhere doing many things . . .but all hearts come home in winter. . . and earlier than usual.
There is another thing about winter. My only daughter, Jenny was given to me on a bright, cold day, in January. Hence, she is my “lovely winter bird”. Now,she is all grown up with her own nest to tend. . .and oh how well she tends it. She was born with a mothers ‘ heart. She had lots of practice with her dolls and four brothers. How deftly she practices the fine art of mothering and “homemaking”. This is as noble an endeavor as there as ever was and I couldn’t be prouder of her. A mother “wears many hats” rings true . . .but so does a daughter and Jenny is all any of us could have ever hoped for.