In the First Place . . .


And just like that it is spring, when “flowers appear on the earth”.   The dogwoods know better than any calendar, as do the violets, when it is spring-  The grass knows when to green and so do the trees.  Now, new leaves, small and jade like will stop you in your tracks, if you are just inclined to look up.  The shade of young leaves is dappled now, making lacy patterns with the  gentle sun on the tender grass, beneath. Rainy days are a “dime a dozen”, now  The golden days, are too.  I have been on spring break the past week.  I spent the Easter weekend at Jennys’ home, and the next four days, that followed.
The Easter bunny had hidden brightly colored eggs for the little girls to find on Easter morning.  The darlings rose bright and early, and ready to shine.  What a commotion ensued, as the girls donned their little frocks and shoes , in great haste, to find those eggs.  Tres came for Easter dinner.  It seems the rabbit had left chocolate at his house too . . and so he bestowed his nieces with delightful eggs and bunnies-
Tres’ days in Elizabeth City, are in the short rows.  He graduates in just a few short weeks, with the highest gpa in his field.  He starts a job, in Wilmington, three days later.
Jenny  has been like a “second mother” during his stay there-and the little girls are just smitten with their uncle. . . Will and Tres became the best of friends, so I expect tears in abundance, when he leaves. I know that I will cry, for it was of great comfort to me, just knowing they were together and had one another.
The week was filled with good meals together, stories for the little girls, books, dolls and at long last, ice cream.  I tucked the sweet memories deeply in my heart, for they were too beautiful, not to.
I came home on Thursday evening, to a warm welcome, from Christian, the boxer and the naughty gray cat.
The next day, as I was sorting out the affair of tasks, after time away, my head was swirling with business.  No matter how much tidying, laundry, or unpacking  I attempted. I could not stop the rush of  thoughts about documents and big decisions-an unrealised, old dream and a new unfamiliar path, looming ahead. I finally, worked myself in to a state of gloom and was certain of impending doom.  It had been decades since, I last had such dreary notions.
Certainly, I had to think such thoughts.  The old farmhouse sale, is scheduled for May 12th, after all- surely, I had to consider housing, at my age!  on a very limited income.  . . and the price of everything, sky-high!  On top of that, my decisions would impact my loved ones, as well.
Oh, what a toll worry takes.  It is like a thief, really-and I had apparently left a window up, and a door wide open.
I  now,  truly felt ill. . . Then, something “out of the blue happened”.  A dear friend, of over thirty years called .  She uncannily always catches me at crossroads. I had thought about calling her for several hours, but decided to sulk, instead.  She listened to my woes and wondered if God allowed me this time to ramble so that I could , with clarity, proceed, as I ought to.  I could have deemed it, a divine exploration, I supposed later.  This was sensible and I no longer felt the fear of being  left to my own feeble devices.   How foolish, I had been!
A bit later, Tres called.  Tres calls to check in, but rarely to have a long conversation, on a phone.  After we confirmed plans for our upcoming gathering, Tres talked about his own future.   I did not say a word about my quandary . He talked about his first plan to live out west, then another idea he had was to move to a large city in NC-things took a turn and a better opportunity arose. . .much closer to home-and his Sarah.  He was glad that he had entertained different options.  He had  calmly and methodically, evaluated each one-unlike me.  He told me these things, without any idea that I had been diligently  brewing a “tempest in a teacup”  for the the last few days.
Somehow, the spell of despair was broken, by these conversations and the house was tidy, as well.
The next morning, I awoke to a lavender sky.  Birds were already singing as I was collecting dishes to prepare for our gathering, at mid day.  We would all meet at Mamas’ house and spend time together before Monday came and changed everything.  It was a lovely day.  We all agreed that the meal was especially good and Mamas’ cake was a fine grand finale.
We all ended up outside afterwards.  Delores had bought Jenny a quilt she had made for her. (Delores has made a quilt for each of us}   . .  and sweet tokens for all of us.  Everybody got something.  Delores is a thoughtful person and is especially good at finding just the right thing for everyone.  She gifted me with geraniums.  They were in bloom and boasting with large apricot colored blossoms.
Moments later, I opened my April birthday card.  Delores had hand written a message inside . ,” If you weren’t  my sister, I would  want you to my friend.” was written within the message and jumped out with flashing beauty.  That sentiment meant something, that I never want to forget.
When you are young, you are so very accustomed to change.  All experiences are new, after all. After a very long while, one sorts through their collections.  We draw conclusions.  We can see in hind sight, which ones we manufactured and which experiences, we did not.  Often, we classify events -some are regrets, some are triumphs-some bear repeating and some do not.
Our response to both heartbreak and victory-really means everything.  This lesson is a tiresome one-and a life long one.  “Sometimes “Silver linings”  are as slow as “molasses in January” to appear.
Since, I have faltered, in this lesson, I know first hand what Not to do, now.  Until further notice. I will bake my bread, find more flowers,  and try my best to “look to the hills”.   . .which I should have done in the first place.

Gathering Flowers and Baking Bread


At long last, I have been able to visit my grandchildren.  One weekend, I went to Elizabeth City.  Another weekend, Mama and I went to  Raleigh.  It is with gladness, that I can write, all is well, with  our family. 
Lyla is growing up, right before my eyes-and I am still shocked!  She has lost several teeth now and does not have a single ounce of “baby fat”!  She reads books!  She will be a seven year old, in April.  Oh, these golden, shining seven years , have zoomed by.   . .cruelly fast.  Little Brynn is still cherub like.  She loves to pick flowers.  Jenny said a dozen dandelions were in her book bag yesterday.  One day, she and I took a stroll by the laughing river  She learned the names of several flowers and bushes.  . and has been using them in conversations.  Ryan hasn’t grown an inch, but he is bright and agile and sweet as any pie, ever made.  I introduced him to Bob Ross, while I was there.  That was an instant success.  I also read “The Tale of Mr Jeremey Fisher” .  It was a favorite of his Dads’-and Ryan loved it, too..  He retold the story, with many details, afterwards. 
Seeing my grandchildren, acted like a tonic on me.
Days are mostly mild now and showers are liable to pop up. . .quite fitting for this time of the year.  I wouldn’t yet plant tomatoes, but there is no harm in thinking about it.  The geraniums still come in at night, sometimes. 
The very small yard has clumps of green grasses in places, that are growing in an uncivilized manner.  There are songbirds now, singing sweetly-and a small community of squirrels making hasty decisions, as they avoid cars and folks.  That is about all the “wild” going on . . on Bonnet Street.  I have seen the rabbit a time or two more.  I wonder how he likes sidewalks.   .  for, I fear, I am “homesick”. 
Maybe, it is because of spring’s arrival-maybe, it is the “sidewalk”. . .but, whatever it is, I just can not deny it.  I miss the countryside with its’ big sky over the old trees.  I miss seeing the sunsets, and rain coming across the fields-and the millions of stars that are hidden by street lights.  The sight of the moon, and its’ milky light, falling through the windows , is an awful loss.  Then, there are the whispering pines and the dainty violets along the garden path-and maybe, most of all -is the quiet sound of the territory.  Silence . . that is often only broken by the mocking birds, and at night, the whip-poor-will calling out.  I no longer care, that the grocery store is just minutes away.
 It was bound to happen.
Now, I am sensible enough to know, that we do not always get what we want.  I know that I can have happiness, wherever, I abide.  I know the farmhouse is big and needs big repairs .   . . and I am just like “that old gray mare”,  as well.  There are a lot worse things going on in this world than a homesick heart-and I remind myself of that, when I am whining about fields and trees and birds.   . . .but, I have found that it is best to be truthful at all times. I know that, too.   
After thinking about such things, I realised that it seems to be a lack of encounters with nature-wild things in wild places -and solitude, that bother me most.  Even a small , sleepy town is just too civilized, to suit me, it seems.  I suppose, that to me, there is just not enough liberty in a town, as well.  God forbid ,the trash can is not properly placed! 
 In spite of all this . . . something wonderful has happened.
  I know more about myself, than I ever have known.  In some way, when you know what aggravates you, you discover what you love.-and what you need. 
I liken it to , when I moved into the house on Bonnet Street. Some boxes did not make the move. 
I had to sort through and figure out what things  meant the most.  The truth is for now, I am here , on a small lot in a small house, surrounded by friendly folks, with a sidewalk a few  short paces from the porch.  Since ,I believe  that experiences are  the “great lessons” in life,  I am not a bit sorry.  Instead, I must seek beauty in new ways. 
The other day, I scavenged the yard for little wildflowers, to press. (I have several projects in mind to use them)  In those moments, the world was hushed and  quite serene.   The same can be said when I am baking bread.  I find it very satisfying and besides, being better for us . . it is better to us. 
I know these things are small steps, but they are making a difference for me.  Living close to the earth and with the earth . . is all I have ever known.  All else, just seems shallow and artificial, to my primitive spirit. 
It really is much easier to live on a street in a small town-easier on the body.   Yard debris  goes to the street instead of a garden, to be burned on the rare day, when the wind isn’t blowing. Thorned vines do not thrive in “tamed” spaces, so there is no endless battle, going on.  You can order food, already prepared, to your doorstep.  If you need anything, it is just five minutes away.  I know such things are endearing to many people.   It is really  a sensible argument  . . . oh, if only ,  I was sensible! 
The last few years, I have been through one rabbit hole after another.    I have prayed and  tried to figure out  about where my next home is.  My financial situation is lacking any fanfare.  That must be considered.   . .as well as several other important matters. 
I have always had difficulty knowing when to “let go and let God” as is often said.  It seems when I have exhausted my heart and mind, is when I can “let God”-and sadly, not  a moment before. 
Until further notice, I will be listening to the gentle church bells, and gathering flowers and  celebrate, “This day, that the Lord has made”. . . .and bake.