Sweet August . . .when “white moths are on the wing” . . when gardens lack their former vitality and you can smell the corn drying, in the thick air, at twilight . . .has been hot. It is hot at eight thirty in the morning, scorching by noon and there is not enough coolness in the evening for the weary. Mosquitoes buzz happily and wreck my “early service” and I have found that my prayers , under the stars are “short and sweet”, in August.
I was in Elizabeth City, last week. It was hot there too . . .maybe more so than here at the rabbitpatch. Even a small town has a fair share of concrete -and that makes a difference. Still, the little girls and I managed a few walks and a picnic! The four days, that I spent there were wonderful and full of shining moments. I declare that Lyla is such a good and caring sister for Little Brynn. Lyla reminds me of Jenny, who was a stern but loving second mother to her brothers, when she was growing up. Brynn is becoming quite compassionate. Brynn is not yet three, yet she noticed that a woman walking, seemed sad -and Brynn was probably right, for what a sad countenance this woman wore.
We had supper at “Aunt J’s” one night. Aunt J lives just a good walk, from Will and Jenny. Wills’ mom and my friend, “Miss Claudia, was Aunt J’s sister. Like everyone else, I love Aunt J. Jenny prepared a perfect meal and served us like we were royalty. Then we had ice cream sundaes!
I left on Thursday, quite melancholy, knowing, this was “the last hurrah” of my leisure visits . . for it is August, after all. I start school on Monday.
This was also Tres’ last weekend home. He would be leaving on Saturday. I started moaning about that, the minute, that I got home. I did not shed a single tear in his presence, for Tres is so sensible, it would have shocked him to see how unreasonable, his mom can be. Instead, I packed a bag of food and school supplies and sent him off with the best fake smile, that I could muster. August is just full of “good byes”.
I could choose to “look on the bright side”, for it is also a time for new beginnings as everybody loves to say . . but I will probably sulk a while, before I say that. It is written, “there is a time to mourn” . It is a good thing to be positive, but life is not always roses and sunshine, and to deny sadness, is like a denial of what it means to be human. I do not want anything ugly dwelling in my heart. . .not bitterness or anger, not dismay or sadness . . so, I let feelings wash clean through me, til the beauty of what was lost, outshines the sorrow of losing it, til moving on is more desirable than wallowing – and so when it is a time to mourn, then I do. . .whether it be for such things as a fallen sparrow or a grown up son leaving in August.
My very good parents did not and could not have shielded their children from unpleasantries . Foals were still born, sometimes and dogs died. Some books did not end “happily ever after” and every race was not to be won, though we ran our best. My parents showed us all of life, shadow and light . . and that has made the difference.
Often, I think that recovery from disappointments -and imagination, are some of the most important skills, to teach children, as they will with great certainty, need both.
It finally rained on Sunday and cooled things off. The sky was full of thunder, and I suppose everyone in “Farm Life” was full of hope. I went out and saw huge, steel blue clouds moving overhead. They looked like whales swimming along the horizon. I watched the rain coming across the field. Rarely does rain “sneak” up on you, in the country.
I spent the afternoon, preparing for what seems like a “new job”. that starts on Monday. I confess, that I am almost nervous about it. My niece Hayley , starts a new job too, on Monday and niece Dana has her first day of college. Tres starts school on Tuesday. Nephew Brandon, starts on Monday. Jenny has started a part time job. Oh . . .August came along and just changed everything!
The territory around the old farmhouse is following suit and changes almost daily. Yesterday, the loosestrife sported some blossoms, and the roses are fading. The beloved morning glory is clambering wildly now and ever so often, a dry leaf will fall from a sycamore. The wild mulberry is full of promises for a spectacular show, soon to come and the grapes on the very old vines are not as green as they were a fortnight ago. In this way, I measure time.
Humans may race about at breakneck speed , but nature is never frantic. The world can get mighty loud and commotion springs up at the “drop of a hat”. We get so accustomed to it, that somehow we seem to have “acquired a taste for it’. Nature , on the other hand, whispers its’ fanfare.
Oh, how I love the silent, wild wood, with its’ beauty and lack of racket. ..and the fields that lie quietly and do not boast of their magnificent and mighty value. I have never seen a sky, that did not humble me. I have found something new to love also, for one night, Lyla, Brynn and I were looking out out a window and saw an evergreen with clinging raindrops, lit up by the moonlight. It shone brightly and Lyla gasped at the sight.
August, with its’ heat, mosquitoes and changes . .is at least generous in some respects . I musn’t forget to love August, too.
It is early now, as I write this and a steady rain is falling across a dimly lit rabbitpatch. I was looking forward to writing in the diary, for days. Mornings are my favorite time to write and rainy mornings are the best, so I was delighted and woke up smiling. Only the boxer and the gentle cat are here with me. Christian is at work and Tres went to see Sarah for one of his last weekends home.
His senior year starts in about a week. I dread seeing him pack up to leave. I will mope and trod about forlornly for a while , when he does. I am hopelessly foolish, when it comes to departures. Practice does not always make perfect! I just never got over that “empty nest” thing and at the age of sixty two, I do not aspire to do any better.
Mama and I have been busy. After our return from Elizabeth City, we headed for the lake for neice Hayleys’ graduation party. My sister Delores and Dana came with us. I looked at Hayley with her friends and wondered when she grew up?! For a moment, I saw her at six, full of spunk and curls . . now here she is all grown up and on the brink of everything!
Delores and Dana spent the night at Mamas’ that night and we all left for Raleigh on Monday. I would stay with Brant and tend to little Ryan while Sydney tended to obligations with her work. Ryan is a gentle natured child. He loves tractors, tools and books. I think he has already figured out his “Honeybee” , for he asked me for ice cream, for breakfast, the first morning. . . he settled for oatmeal, though.
Mama and I came back on Thursday. On Friday, I cleaned out several kitchen cabinets, washed clothes and scrubbed floors. I picked peaches too, as there was just enough left on the tree for a small pot of peach dumplings. The white peaches have a week or so more to go.
On the footpath to the clothesline and garden, I noticed that the “magic lilies” were blooming. Magic lilies spring up overnight, with large pale pink blossoms. I have often hoped to eavesdrop one night and catch them in the act! . . but you never know when this will happen, so I remain filled with curiosity, for I lack the stamina to appease it. The loosestrife is packed tight, along the way -so are the floss flowers. It is no wonder that the lowly and a bit uncivilized footpath to the garden, is a favorite place for me. . . and a lavender sea awaits. I love that lavender sea with hues from periwinkle to violet.
Lately, I have thought a lot about things that I love. Little things or small moments, are sometimes like a flash of shine, in the day. We all have them, if we just take an account of them. Somehow, I did. Could it be, that I did so, while at that “crossroads”? I did think, more than once, that somehow, I was lost-and was surely the only person on earth that could get lost standing still. That is when I became on high alert to things that I loved.
I love open windows . . and most especially those with sheer, white curtains that flutter in a playful breeze. If my gentle cat, “Christopher Robin” is dozing, behind the curtain, then I am pleased, at the sight, all the more. I love the drowsy hum of a window fan and the tinkling sound of my neighbor laughing in her yard, as I hang sheets on the clothesline. I love patches of sunlight falling through the leaves and bracken in the young woods, on the territory. I love the darkness just before dawn and waiting for the day. I love pastures filled with horses- or even just a couple. I really love old trees. I love when Christian plays the piano and floods the house with his tender melodies. I love it when moon shine spills in to the farmhouse . . .oh, I could make this a very, very long story, for there is so much to love. Being still, may be a lot more, than “it’s cracked up to be”. As it turns out, that season of hush, is waning for me, as is the summer.
I will be working this year, in a far different capacity and not as much as in years past. I start next week. At least, the dust finally settled around that predicament. Between, now and then, I am going to see the grandchildren in Elizabeth City and hope to have visits with several cousins. . .and I will keep seeking more things to love, as if my life depends on it . . .for in some ways . . .it does.