The Icing on My Cake


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Now, it is winter.  It matters little to me what the calendar declares, for I know winter when I see it.  December was born of a cold wind, which stripped every leaf  and a cold rain followed.  The landscape is full of bare trees and sunlight falls where it pleases, claiming territory it was denied just a week ago.  The sky at night hosts stars the size of silver dollars and the constellations nearly announce themselves.  I love winter.

The after Thanksgiving gathering , my children and I  created, did not quite go as we had planned.  Brynn and Lyla were both recovering from some sort of “bug” that gave them about a week of fevers and a cough.   With Ryan , being just two months old, it was just too much of a risk to have him exposed to such a thing.  Christian had taken Thanksgiving day off, and because of that, he was denied approval for the days after. . . so we did not have the “full house” we had hoped for.  We made the best of it and made plans for another gathering.  When we all left on Sunday, we had shared some good meals, Brynn had fallen in love with Tres and Jennys’ house was decorated for Christmas. 

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This is an extremely busy time, at school.  The holiday concert is this Friday night. It is a huge event.  Older students have a light show and prepare food. The youngest children play the glockenspiel and sing.  Each class performs a song and then the violinists-around two hundred of them- give a concert for the finale.  Every day is filled with rehearsals and all sorts of details.  There is always a broken string on a violin, it seems . . or a missing hand bell . . or an amendment to the “programs”.   . . and yet . . .I took Wednesday off.

For many years, my sisters, and my mom and I had an annual Christmas shopping day.  It was always on the first Tuesday in December.  As my nieces grew up, they came too.  With Daddy, now needing company at all times, and Mamas’ bad knees. we broke the tradition and instead now decorate their house for Christmas. This year, when we all arrived, Mamas’ freezer had stopped working.  This caused quite a commotion, right off.  By noon, Dana and I had decorated the tree and Connie had come back with a new freezer.  After lunch, Hayley and Mama had transferred the food and Delores and I had the garland and bows on the front porch.  Connie did the windows and Hayley concluded the effort by hanging a wreath on the garage.  We left as the sun was sinking behind the distant woodlands.  

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Thursday was a whirlwind of a day.  By the time, school was over, I realised I was exhausted.  I didn’t feel right.  My eyes hurt and I felt weak.  I dreaded the drive home, for I was sure I would fall asleep!  I was in bed before eight and I am not sure what Christian had for supper.

I slept straight through the night-and wished I could have slept more!  I willed myself to shower and dosed myself with oregano oil, which tastes so awful, but works wonders.  The rehearsal went well, thankfully.  I drank as much water as I could stand throughout the day and doubled up on my elderberry.  Still, I was tired and was cold all day.  I steered clear of people, as best I could.  A good many were out with sickness already.  I hardly ever fall victim to “bugs”, but I was sure by now, that I could  not deny the facts-I was getting sick-and at an awful time!

As it turns out, the concert went beautifully, with little assistance from me.  Practice does pay off, I thought -and not just in music. 

Practice in general produces habits and I will do well to remember that. Whatever we practice, we tend to become good at and with time, it becomes a natural act. to us.  While this idea applies to such things as diet, housekeeping and most every thing else -it also applies to matters of the heart and how we think, which is a most fearsome endeavor, for it is not a bit swift nor easy.   It is a worthwhile effort . . .for all that really matters is the contents of our heart.

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After the concert, I came home and went straight to bed.  Again, I slept through til morning and awoke feeling mostly restored.  I wondered how just sleeping could make such a difference.  So when I “got my bearings straight”. I set about studying about sleep.  Now,  I am convinced that sleep is a  very important time for us.  I have always tried to see how little of it I can abide with.  I like to stay up late -yet I also like to rise early.  I do not like to nap, for it seems like a waste of  my time.  I hope you “can teach an old dog new tricks”  for I intend to mend my ways.  

Tres had orientation in Elizabeth City on Saturday, and so he spent Saturday night at the rabbitpatch.  It still seems “too good to be true” that he will be closer to home and Jennys’ neighbor, literally  – and right after Christmas!  Lyla is very excited, for she has decided that Uncle Tres will teach her about the constellations!   Jenny intends to cook for him, and Will is  responsible for finding him a  house and a part time job . I will be “on call” for housekeeping, errands and any “loose ends”.   . . Tres has a fan club, and will not lack support in his endeavor.

All in all, the past week was full of blessings-even, whatever ailed me for a while, was an experience to learn from.  The concert was a success and seeing Tres . . .well, that was the “icing on my cake”.  

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A Delightful Thanksgiving . .with Good Tidings


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Let me declare, right now, that this may be one of the loveliest autumns, the south has ever seen.   Still, the golden and crimson  leaves cling to the woodland trees  and the neat rows of the Bradford pear, that are in a good many yards -are just spectacular.  Daybreak  has been brilliant and the trees are lit up with  the morning shine.  There has been frosts most every day which only adds to the fanfare of morning.   . . and the smell of wood smoke hangs in the crisp air.

I always remember  “Pop” in months like November.  Pop was my mamas’ dad.  When, I was a child, Pop “ruled the roost”.  He was a prideful man and looking back, I think,  a  bit vain.  In the spring and summer, the farm was a busy place.  Every task was important and we were taught to work as if our life depended on it . . .for in some way, it really did.  I learned early on to avoid Pop, if he was fixing a tractor or a set of plows, for he was apt to go to hollering at any given moment.  Anyone in the vicinity of the scene was at risk of being blamed for a lost bolt or a smashed finger or a lost wrench – well whatever calamity arose.  By suppertime, Pop was over his grudges and all was well.  But in the autumn, when the crops were harvested and the smoke house was stocked and the pantry was full of canned vegetables, Pop wasn’t nearly as cross.  

I remember early mornings, when the frost was spread thick, Pop would be tending a small fire in “the lot” or inspecting the hooves of a pony.  The lot was a fenced in area behind the farmhouse.  A pasture was on two sides of it.  Goats, a herd of ponies and a horse and for a while a mule were in the pasture.  There was also a pig parlor.  Sometimes Pop would be in his tool shelter taking inventory of his tools or sharpening things with blades.  Pop was always in the lot doing something,  but in the autumn, Pop was not so prone to cussing.  In the fall, Pop was happy long before supper.   

Work has been extra busy and this is the normal business for this time of the year.  There have been all sorts of  community service projects.  Pies were delivered to the elderly, canned goods were delivered to a food pantry, baby blankets to a hospital, large baskets of household goods were given to some more seniors and we are not finished yet.  It was a short work week – for Thanksgiving is tomorrow!

I started cooking last night for our gathering.  I cooked enough collards to feed Atlanta!   . . .and the fine city can also have biscuits!  I use the biscuits to make stuffing, so they were put in the refrigerator , minus a few, that were eaten hot-and with butter. On Thursday morning, I will haul my wares to Mama and Daddys’ where My sisters and I  will join forces to make this Thanksgiving another beautiful memory.

After school on Wednesday, Christian and I took up housekeeping . . .again.  Tres comes home tonight and that was all the motivation that we needed. On Friday, we head to Elizabeth City for an encore of the holiday. 

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I went to sleep with a smile on my face, for Tres was home – and the house was tidy -and the kitchen counter was laden with an abundance of dishes.  

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Thanksgiving dawned clear and bright. Mama was cooking the turkey, so there wasn’t a bit of rush about the morning.  Christian had taken the day off-, and so he, Tres and I had a light breakfast and coffee.  I always say that conversations with Tres are never dull.  Hence we talked about the role of molecules in medical research, the future of the rabbitpatch and  other things.

Finally, I can share with all of you, some good tidings . . .Against the odds, Tres is moving to Elizabeth City!!  I have often bragged shamelessly about Tres’ intellect- and for the record it is all true.  To further his career, Tres decided to pursue another degree – some sort of science, chemical and math something.  This complicated business of education is not offered everywhere and there were several universities that he looked into.  Jenny did some research and found out the the university in Elizabeth City, offered a very comparable course of study .  To make a long story short, Will and Jenny were of tremendous help . . .and so were Lyla and Brynn.    If you think that I am thrilled, you would be “spot on” .  Wilmington, was too far from the rabbitpatch to suit me, after all.  It took every thing in me not to try to persuade Tres in a direction.   . .but do not think for a moment that when all was said and done . . . I was happier than any lark ever dared to be.

The Thanksgiving gathering was delightful.  The leaves rained down in an autumn brisk breeze while I listened to my niece, Hayleys’ dreams and later we talked about the genealogy  of our family, for Hayley and I share this interest.  Delores made a chocolate cake, which I thought was good . . .twice.    Connie did more than her fair share in the kitchen and still managed to catch up with all of our current affairs.  Brant and Sydney came just past the twilight hour and so that was my special and very grand finale, to the holiday.  

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P.S . . and most especially . . that baby contest concludes in two days and Ryan has a fighting chance, it seems to win.  Without further ado, . . .I am asking for votes again, like any good “Honeybee’  should.  We have two days and you can vote once a day.

 

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A Late Autumn Frost


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A cold rain has been falling for days. One night, there was a slight chance of snow and you know I had my heart set on it-but nary a flake fell at the rabbitpatch.  We did get our first heavy frost -and oh, how lovely that was!  The fields where corn had tasseled out, just a few short months ago, were now transformed into fields of diamonds.  The first light fell in long slanted hues of peach and apricot, making quite a spectacle of the frost .  The pine trees  were silver  and even the ditch banks were glossed  with luster, this day.  

I decided then and there, that a late autumn frost, is a beautiful sight to behold.

For the first time, in a long spell, I am at the rabbitpatch, for the weekend.  Will and Jenny were attending an out of town wedding and besides the old farm house, looked like nobody loved it.  There was no lack of options, on what needed to be done.  Still, I moved , about as fast as “molasses in January”.  Outside the wind howled and at times sounded mournful.  Rain came in before noon.  That was only thing that caused me to hurry all day, for the line was full of slightly damp clothes.

Brant called. He entered Ryan in a cute baby contest on a whim . . .just for fun.  (And because he is sure that Ryan really is the cutest baby in the world.)   Of course, it was for fun . . . until we found out that Ryan is in second place – and there is a cash prize.  Now, we have all taken to campaigning for Ryan!  We are a ridiculous lot.

While, I cleaned and scrubbed, the boxer and Christopher Robin napped.  The wind never stopped blowing and the clouds were so thick, that I had a lamp burning, all day.  

 

I rose early on Sunday.  I watched the darkness fade away.  The sky was the color of pewter and the wind was still blowing.  As much as I love rain, I hoped today that I could line dry some blankets.  Today, I would tackle the kitchen and the laundry room – and remove the sweet light florals from my closet and replace them with heavier clothes, fit for late autumn.  This means unpacking boxes . . .again.  I did have a “false start” with the selling the rabbitpatch last year.. . right about this time. 

Oh what a dark time it was for me. . . and right at Christmas!  I didn’t even get the chance to “carry on” about it . . with the holidays, after all. Half of the place was packed up and I all but had the key to a dear, little cottage.  When the same thing happened again in June, some of the sting was lost, because “practice does make perfect”, it seemed.  Now, looking back, the whole thing is amusing.  . . .mostly.  I will put the place on the market and I will hope for the best.  . .sometime.

Last year was not the brightest year anyway . . at least for our family. But the sun shone fair on us some of the time.  . . for though there was loss, a baby was born . . and though there was grief . . .we all renewed our strength for one another.  There was some disappointment . . .but hope remained, untarnished.  None of us bore any burden alone.  . .nor the joys. ..and that makes the difference.  So, I will not grumble as I unpack clothes that will keep me warm, for it would just be sinful, to do so.

I trotted down the garden path, it seemed every hour on Sunday, to that clothes line.  There was plenty of wind, but the clouds dimmed the sun.  Once, I missed the dryer.   . . but I glanced at the great trees, and that spurred me on to love the planet, as best I can.  Besides, I have seen a significant decrease in the electricity bill.

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The hours passed too quickly, til Sunday became Monday.  The thick clouds remained and so daybreak came without a bit of fanfare. On the way to work, I was pleasantly surprised that the relentless wind had not robbed  us of the beauty of this autumn, for the woodlands were a mass of all shades of gold and crimson.  There I was in my warm clothes,  driving by quiet pastures and fields at rest, and autumn in its’ glory . . . .and it moved me deeply.

There are certain moments in every day that I love.  Morning  time is one of them.  There is  also the time when I return to the rabbitpatch, after work.  The boxer makes quite a production of my arrival and Christopher Robin, my silvery gray cat purrs gently.  – and for some reason, I feel like I have left the world outside  the drive way, for my own world, on the rabbitpatch.   Then, there is  the time after supper.  When the house was full, and every bed occupied, it was an especially favorite time.  All were gathered, safe and sound.  We had reunited around the table and somehow, this time seemed to renew “the ties that bind”.  Now, the old house has several empty beds and vacant chairs around the table, but the time after supper is still a favorite time of day, for me.  The contents of a day vary greatly, but the morning comes faithfully.

 On Wednesday morning, there was sunshine! What a welcome sight, to see the sun rise over the oldest barn.   I had missed the way patches of sunlight  fall on the territory, lighting up the fresh fallen leaves.  The oak leaves are the color of honey and the sycamores shed a mahogany leaf.  The lowly sweet gum,  not beloved by many, bears all the colors of autumn-even a plum color.  Under these circumstances, I will not hold a thing against the sweet gum . . .in late autumn.

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Forgive me, but I can not help myself . . .This is where you vote for Ryan –

 

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“Angels in Heaven”, Know I love Ryan


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On Friday, just after school, my friend Sara and I headed north to see our grandchildren.  Sara and I have been friends about twenty years – and as it turns out, our grandchildren are but a few miles apart.  Little Ryan lives in Wake Forest and Saras’ grandchildren live in a community, just a few minutes away. 

Sara knows the route well, for she has been driving it for over five years.  Regular readers know, that I am quite a slow learner when it comes to driving anywhere unfamiliar.  Besides that, I am just not cut out, to drive  bumper to bumper at seventy miles per hour.  I have lived in the country for most of life and for a while in a small town.  Neither prepared me for the commotion of an interstate in a city, where everyone seems under the assumption, that they have at least nine lives. 

One day, in a friendly conversation, Sara mentioned a bakery, she frequents when she visits her daughter.  When I was in Wake Forest with Will and Jenny, and Tres, we drove right by a bakery with the name, Sara had called.  It was right around the corner from Brant and Sydneys’ and I decided it had to be a fluke, but as it turns out it was the bakery, that Sara had mentioned. . .Hence, we planned a visit.  I was thrilled, for Sara agreed to drive, in a heart beat.  

The hours flew by.  We always share recipes, and talk about our children.  Sara is building a tiny house in the mountains and we talked about  the Charlotte Mason method of education . .  and books.  It was a lovely drive and we made good time.  It is wonderful to have friends.

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If you think, I brag about my grandchildren, you will know for sure now, that yes I do!  Ryan is simply beautiful.  He is a cheerful baby, too.  He is two months old now, and coos like a little dove.  He smiles and will laugh out loud, on occasion.  I fell in love with him, all over again and could not stop gushing over his beautiful skin and perfect little mouth.  I found myself staring at him and not a single thought would pop in my head, in those moments.  I  prayed over him and proclaimed my love for him over and over.  I sang “Roses are red, my love. Violets are blue-Angels in Heaven, know I love you.”  

Then there was Sydney and Brant . . .they are surely the icing on the cake.  Sydney is just so sensible, it astounds me!  She is a young first time mother, yet she is confident and so very loving.  I have yet to see her show any signs of frustration.  If Ryan frets, she knows why.  She fairly glows with contentment.  Brant is hopelessly in love with his little son.  I have never seen him happier – and that means everything to me.  He changes diapers, gives baths and picks out Ryans’ little clothes with great thought.  Brant told me, that all the time he is working, he is thinking about coming home to Sydney and Ryan.

We cooked a lot for a “Sunday dinner” at Sydneys’ grandparents.  They live in a beautiful area of Chapel Hill. There are small rolling hills and  pastures and woodlands behind them – and a stream.  Brant and I rambled through the land, as we used to in his childhood.  The weather was perfect and I declare the place was holy.

The dinner was nice.  Sydneys’ parents stopped in, on their way  back from a trip to the mountains and so did Seth, Sydneys’ younger and very well mannered brother.  I felt right at home with all of them, as if we had known each other, always.  Again, the gratitude just welled up inside of me like a fountain, thinking of all the love that Ryan was born into. 

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We drove back under a full moon, the color of butter.  Sydney is used to the traffic and did not flinch as folks were weaving in and out of lanes- “The country comes to town”  I thought.  Brant and Ryan slept and I looked for every “lucky star” I could find.  

Monday morning dawned cold and bright.  Everyone had to work, except for Sydney and I. We drank coffee and ate left over cheese biscuits.  I spent some time with Ryan and secretly vowed not to cry when I left.  The holidays are just around the corner after all, and we have some wonderful gatherings planned.

Sara came just after noon.  We were both full of stories of the holiday . . .and we told them all.  We also stopped at the little bakery.

We drove back and admired the bright leaves that made the countryside all the merrier.  Sara loved having company and I was glad to ride  . . . so of course . . we will do this again.

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At Last, It is Autumn!


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The drive to Elizabeth City, last Friday. was just beautiful, for now the woodlands are tinged with shades of gold and crimson. ..and the sprawling fields  are warm shades of russet and ginger.  This is only the prelude of the splendor to come, but what a welcome sight to see the countryside proclaiming the season.  The three rivers were filled with “still water” this day and looked as if they were gilded in silver.  Along the banks were floating, colorful patches of scarlet and orange.  

Autumn is here at last, and there is so much I look forward to .  There is the first frost  -and a cheerful fire  – and soft blankets and books scattered throughout the  farmhouse . . .well,  autumn is a beloved time at the rabbitpatch. 

It had been but two weeks, since I had seen my little grand daughters, but it seemed like a fortnight.  Lyla came bounding out the back door squealing in delight with her little arms extended.  Brynn was squealing and  laughing, in Jennys’ arms.  It is always a merry time, when I arrive.

  Within a few short hours, Lyla was tucked in “our nest” listening to stories about “the winter woods” and the doll community, with the talking kitten, that live just on the edge of them.

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Saturday, was a busy day.  Jenny had a brunch to attend, so Will and I took the girls to a their pediatric appointment. Afterwards, we took a walk to the park.  On the way back, Lyla picked some floss flowers growing on a vacant lot, for her momma.  Lyla has a very thoughtful heart, for she always thinks of others.  She even had taken the doctor a piece of chocolate!

Jenny came home to a quiet house, for Brynn was napping and Lyla and I went to visit Miss Thelma, the ninety five year old neighbor.  

It started raining early on Sunday.  Outside it felt like early September.  Lyla and I made “honey cakes” for breakfast”.  Afterwards, we went to the grocery.  I wanted to leave my loved ones tokens of my love.  Often this shows up in food.  Lyla decided to draw.  By early evening, I had made a large pot of chicken and broccoli soup, pimento cheese and a concoction of apples and raisins, like my Aunt Agnes used to make.  Lyla had a stack of delightful pictures and had signed her name and age on each one.   At long last, the food was packaged and the crayons were put away.  We took Miss Thelma her share of our efforts, stocked the refrigerator and there was some to be delivered to “Aunt J”, on my way home.  

The sky was all sorts of colors..  At times, it was apricot, then it was lavender and finally a lovely rose seemed to bloom, in the heavens.  The low lying mist looked like pink whispers  hovering over the fields.  

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The rabbitpatch is dusted with sycamore  leaves.  I enjoy the coppery carpet, for about a week.   . . .then the leaves of the great sycamores become a nuisance, for they are large and curl up, shortly after their fall.  The next thing you know, you are wondering where the steps are and  wading through leaves to get to the car.   The  territory will be in this state from now to Thanksgiving, for we are not in short supply of old trees . . . and thankfully so.

I love old trees -so much, that they are one of the first things I consider, while looking for the next rabbitpatch.  Before I ever step foot in the door, I have surveyed the yard, noting what grows there and also making sure the boxer would be happy.  The cat, “Christopher Robin” just wants a sunny windowsill.

The work week was a short one as Friday was a teacher work day.  With Halloween being on Thursday, I  took Friday off and headed back to  Elizabeth City, after school on Thursday.  Lyla was the cutest little witch . . .a good one she assured me and Brynn was what most babies are . . . a pumpkin!  The night was warm and a constant wind blew, making it hard for Lyla to keep her hat on!   We walked the little village til darkness had settled in and was as familiar as an old friend.  I did not wear proper shoes and so when I got home, I knew I would sleep well this night.

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Brant and Sydney sent pictures of little Ryan and what an adorable baby!  I do not feel the least bit ashamed to say so, for everyone needs someone to cheer them on and love them whole heartedly , too  . . .and to let them know that they are highly valued.  We ought to point out everything right about our grandchildren, and in their worst moments, let them know that we believe they will do better next time.  

Friday morning was close to cold!  I was quite shocked when I stepped out of the back door.  The sky was bright and the wind had not stopped blowing since the night before, but this wind had a chill to it.  I must admit, I love this kind of weather.

I do not mind the shorter days and I do not mind the colder nights.  Of course, I love every season and declare each one my favorite, upon its’ arrival.  In that way, I am fickle, but each season has such wonderful virtues . . . for when it snows, the whole territory seems white washed in a magical shine, then comes April and “flowers come to earth” again and then in June the wild honeysuckle blooms. . .but just now when the landscape is fairly aglow with  color and the gold and ruby leaves raining down ,  well, I fall hopelessly  in love .  . . again.  It seems to me each season is the best.

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I do not know how Sunday arrived so quickly – most especially with that “extra hour”.  A lot of nice things happened, during my visit  – ordinary things -things that are routine now.  Lyla and I made “honey cakes”, we practiced violin and told stories.  We also got in several visits with Miss Thelma.  Jenny and I cleaned the nursery and ended up with two bags of toys to donate.  I rocked Brynn to sleep, as I did on a regular basis in the summer.  There was a lot of cooking .  Halloween got put away and Lyla worked on her art.  Plans were made for Thanksgiving and Christmas secrets were discussed. Little Brynn loves me now more than ever and just like that .  . .it was Sunday.

When, I was approaching the rabbitpatch, I saw the lights shining through the windows and that cheered me.  Christian, the boxer and the cat gathered around the car.  Christian helped carry every thing in.  The boxer pranced around joyfully and “Christopher Robin” purred sweetly.  It is always the same, but it never fails to warm my heart. 

 

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Dear Diary, That is Enough


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A lot happened on Saturday at the rabbitpatch.  First of all, there was not a single  branch left on the territory, by the time the sun set.  Even the little pasture, is better off than it was.  Oh how good it felt, to see some order restored.  While I was cleaning the yard, something was cooking at every hour.  By the end of the day, Mama, Daddy and Kyle, would have supper every night of the week. 

Mama tends to Daddys’ every need, ignoring her own.  At least, she will not have to worry about supper and Kyle . . . well, he is working long hours and not about to have a slow cooked anything for his supper.  It doesn’t hurt one bit, that he is always so very grateful, either.  When Christian came in, he had several choices for supper and clean sheets on his bed.

In light of all that, I did not disturb a single cobweb on Saturday.

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Mama told me on Saturday night, that the remnants of a storm from Florida, would arrive early Sunday morning.  She was right, for it was raining before five am.  It turns out, that it was a good thing that I hung laundry and did the yard work on Saturday.  The rain and light wind made it the perfect morning to sleep, but I sprang out of bed like I was in my youth!  This time, I would listen to  every verse of the “Water Music” and watch the darkness give way to a silvery morning.  . .and take my own sweet time, about it.   At daybreak, I looked out  the window, by my “morning table”.    There were a few fallen branches hither and yonder.  I had to laugh.

I made coffee and had a large slice of homemade bread smothered in butter, and listened to the rain.  It was a time of serenity, for me.

As much as I write about the value of work . . .well the same can be said about rest too.  There is more information available, now than ever before, to mankind.  The news is full of heartbreak and discord.  There is always some sort of fear, too.  Most everyday, a new one .  There are dire predictions, which give us something more to worry about.  Under such circumstances, we must make a gallant effort to defend ourselves from the bombardment of  “doom and gloom”.  We must  take rest.  We must find solace.

For me, this means focusing on what does not change . . .what does not threaten.   It is for this reason I am apt to linger under stars.  it is next to impossible, for a star to provoke fear, after all.  . .and since old trees do not quarrel, they make for good company.  More than ever, we ought to all ramble on occasion, whether it is by a “laughing river” or an old field, or down a sidewalk . . . without any specific purpose.    It never ceases to amaze me, that  happening upon  a patch of wild violets, can work such wonders, for the spirit.  The world is bigger now than it ever was and solitude is more valuable now, than ever.  

I have had such habits since I was just a child.  They probably were fostered by not having something  or someone to entertain me, every waking moment..  In those days, I was liable to climb a tree and sit for a while or sit on the pasture gate.  I walked through the fields, while Mama cooked supper .  I  did not count my steps nor worry about my heart rate  . . or wear headphones. There were no cell phones to stare at, either.   . . so I did not miss the songs of the woodland birds nor  the “golden apples of the sun”.   I had no idea that such a practice would become a part of me.  Nowadays, I need this “balancing act” as much as I  still need supper, on any given day.  

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An old bridge, on the way to work is being replaced.  It is my route to work. Reports say it will be spring, before the road is opened.  There is a delightful, winding country road that loops around the area of construction.  It adds a couple of extra miles to the commute, but the scenery is charming.  I left a few minutes early today to compensate., for the beautiful, extra miles. 

It wasn’t but just a few minutes later, that I was waiting  to turn on the familiar road that led to the school.  All of sudden, I heard the dreaded sound of screeching tires and then the deafening sound and jolt of impact.  I was stunned.  The shock of it all rendered me in a state and it took a few minutes before, I regained enough sense to move the car off the road.  Authorities showed up and the process started.  The young driver, at fault was scared and shaken.  Her car was in shambles.  She apologized and was so sorry.  I reminded her that we were both  spared and how grateful I was for that.   I cried with her, for her youth convinced her that this was an insurmountable problem. 

I had not even looked at the back of my car.  I drive an older model, Toyota.  Tres had given me the car a few years back. 

Several of her family members came and I was glad for her, but suddenly, I wished that somebody was there that loved me . . .and instantly, I heard my name being called.  A former neighbor had seen me and stopped to help me however she could.  I had watched Sarah grow up and her parents, had practically carried me through the death of my husband.  Someone that loved me did show up.

I finally mustered the courage to look at the car and I had to stare to comprehend what i saw . . .not a scratch  hardly!  I could drive away, after all.  Even the patrolman was  speechless.

Of course, once the word was out in my clan,  I was given a stern talking to from my children, for not being checked out at the hospital and Tres wants the car checked out by an expert, just in case there is some hidden damage.  . .and I know it is sound advice.  There may very well be some crack in something important, looming in my future.  

There is another twist to the story.  For several weeks, and mostly when I was driving, I kept hearing the sound of an impact.  It happened at least a half dozen times.  At some point, it spooked me, but  I never said a word.  Even so, I was caught “off guard”, when it really occurred, though very oddly,  I knew I had been prepared and so I did not panic.

Things like this have happened before, to me and to Christian, too.  I suspect it happens to a lot of people.  Now, scientific minds that thrive on proof, may dismiss such things.  I hardly claim to be “holy”, but I do declare  this. . .  God does work in mysterious ways.  I do not need to understand everything nor have some sensible explanation . . . and very rarely, do I have a clue as to what is happening next .  . . . but I know Who does – and that is enough. 

 

 

 

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October is a Lovely Time


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A light rain was falling on Wednesday, in the hours before light.  It did not come as a surprise, for I had heard the forecast.  More than a few leaves will find their destiny, today.  The rain seemed to sing a lullaby and it was so very enticing.  Rain has been scarce at the rabbitpatch for a long while.  I have declared my affection for rain, countless times and so it took sheer willpower to go about the usual business.  

I believe, it all comes from growing up when I did –  and where I did.  Things were much slower then.  Work was harder with no end in sight, for the adults.  Children worked too, but our chores were reasonable, looking back – and besides we didn’t know any other way.  And even with chores, we had more time to play, than most children do now.

Rainy days meant everybody was close to the house.  It meant the kitchen stove was at full tilt and we were most likely to have a cake, after supper.  We cut paper dolls and my sister and I played dress up, with old pocketbooks and dresses, grandma kept in a chest . .  and looked at the World Book Encyclopedias. . .unhindered by any schedule.  Those were merry days.  . .and I remain glad for them.

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Of course, it goes without saying, that I spent the first few days of the week, mourning the departure of my children and grandchildren.  There is just no remedy for that, but staying busy, doesn’t hurt.  After work, each day, I would clear one or two piles of branches, from the territory.  I am almost finished with the yard, but the little pasture, has not been touched.  Before the grandchildren, I would not have been able to think of anything else, except the pasture being littered with branches.  Now I wonder, why such things ever mattered so much.   . .or even at all.  Besides, I suspect the branches will wait, til the spirit moves me . . .as everything else does.  Not once, has dust scattered in my absence.

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The rain fell  gently all day on Wednesday.  In the evening, the wind blew.  The October wind was brisk and there was a chill in it.  I had to put the windows down in the farmhouse and don my favorite winter robe.  The moon rose brightly shining  and it seemed a shame not to admire it, so I went out.  Leaves were flying  in the wind, now and then crossing the glowing moon.  There I stood, in the silver moonshine with that wild wind blowing and the dry leaves swirling  . . .for a long while.  October is a lovely time.b61e9c19d5d925933828131b67f89f91

Thursday dawned bright and with enough snap, to warrant a good sweater.  How lovely the drive to work is!  The sun is just rising over the woodland and sets the fields aflame  til a common field of soybeans looks like a golden sea and the ordinary swamp flowers are not so ordinary, in those first hours of light.   The woods are just a faded, watery shade of green, in the days before their glory and the wisps of mists, that hang over them,  makes them look even more hallowed.  The whole affair, of an October morning is like a silent hymn. . .sung tenderly and  felt deeply.

Jenny and I talked in the evening, as we usually do.  I was torn between spending the weekend in Elizabeth City or staying at home to tend to the sprawling house and territory at the rabbitpatch.  Every weekend for a month has held some sort of delightful obligation.   . .and the next few weekends, do too, so reluctantly, I decided it best to stay home.  I plan to cook and clean . . and maybe clear a bit of the pasture.   

I am looking forward to it,  though what a shame to spend any minute away from the grandchildren, who are determined to grow up before my very eyes!   . . and I agree with Lyla, under such circumstances, “a week is a long time.”

Friends of the rabbitpatch, know the joy that I derive from work.  I find it “therapeutic”, to use a current term. Physical work is also one of the best ways I know of, to find solutions to complicated matters and if need be, to heal.   Now, I am thankful for a job- (and my banker, son- in – heart,  Will declares, that I must always have one).  It is a beautiful thing, to have a paying job, that allows for fulfillment. . .but it is not the jobs that are meant to pay the electricity bill , and keep tires on the car, that I am writing about.  It is  work that is directly related to home and hearth-and whatever patch of earth you live on.  Rarely are any of the task  glamorous, nor scarce.   . .but  there is a reward, none the less . . .even if you are the only one that knows about it.

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