It is that time of year when the rabbitpatch looks just a bit wild. It is always a brief affair and one I have come to look forward to. Not yet, has the territory been tended , other than branches are piled in the garden, for the day that I am brave enough to burn again. All sorts of uncivilized blossoms dot the countryside. There is the wild mustard and the ground ivy . . .and the chickweed. The bees are not complaining, so neither will I. The violets are back. They have a quiet and pure beauty -shy, but dignified – I will not utter a single complaint about them either. How carefully I step along the footpath to the garden these bright days!
The quiet garden, is awake, now too. Old branches don tender young leaves. The bench to rest and dream upon needs painting and there is some tending required in general. No matter how kindly, I speak to the roses, I will get scratched in the unmerciful battle.
Now, the peach and cherry trees have a few “early bird” blossoms in a sort of prelude, to their long awaited finery, yet to come . . .but the spireas are in full bloom. The stark white tendrils of a spirea are dazzling and that is putting it mildly. The spirea is only seen on old homesteads, these days. I wonder how shrubs like spireas and “Sweet Bettys” and snowball bushes -and quince, ever fell to the wayside. Of course I am sentimental about all things. I just never can abandon a thing of beauty.
When ” flowers appear on the earth”, seemed like a fine time to gather, so we did. We met at Mamas’ for a mid day dinner and an Easter egg hunt. Christian played his guitar for Lyla, Brynn and Ryan, while Delores and I hid the brightly colored eggs by daffodils and in clumps of clover. The eggs sparkled in the sunlight and were easily in sight , for this was Ryans’ first hunt! There are few things more delightful than watching young children on an Easter egg hunt, I think. . .and more than ever I deliberately seek the purest forms of beauty, these days.
When a gathering ends, life always dulls and regular readers know I am likely to mope . . but I could not help but brighten at the sight of the winter wheat field, across the road , from the rabbitpatch, upon my return. I was “raised on field and wood” and now in my later years, these things are still as beautiful to me as they ever were. Extreme and rapid progression or” leaping without looking”, has yet to taint, the serenity of a field of winter wheat. It is the greenest green around and nearly shouts vitality and life! The trees are singing too. . .sweet, soulful melodies composed by watery jade leaves. It is no wonder that mornings are filled with the joyful and unceasing chatter of songbirds! Now, with first light and the birds, an alarm clock holds even less value at the rabbitpatch.
Some of you may remember, that a month or so ago, I declared a time of quiet, for myself. I have adhered to it and what results! When one is quiet, observance becomes your means of education. Truth shines more clearly and seems to loom right before your eyes! Truth has always been important to me and I have sought it with great fervor. I have been easily fooled countless times and left bewildered, too. How dull and fruitless it is, “to lean on your own understanding”.
Watching life, does not change the facts – but it sure does require a lot less work on my part. Please understand, that “watching” does not mean a lack of participation. In fact, I am finding that my desire to participate hasn’t diminished at all. The difference, is an increased awareness of how to act… and when to. . in short, how to proceed. “Being still” is all it is cracked up to be.
By now, I am convinced that I have never had an original thought -or said anything first. Many a sage implored all of us, to do this very thing. . .and how many times did my elders say, “Silence is golden” ?
They were just right about everything.
Wednesday, was Christians’ birthday. He is my youngest and the last one at home. No matter, how old he gets, Christian will always be the baby. His brothers and sister, never let him forget it. We had a quiet dinner and a strawberry cake. I had taken Thursday off, as I was going to Raleigh to watch Ryan so Sydney could work on Friday. Sydney usually works from home, but she had an appointment on Monday as well, so I was happy to oblige.
I was up early, on that fair, Thursday morning. I took a stroll at dawn around the territory. Daffodils were blooming, birds were singing and the first long strands of sunlight were washing over the countryside. When I came upon the garden, still half full of debris from past storms. Kyle had recently added a small pile of leaves and so I thought to burn it. I would have time to hang a small load of clothes, after the smoke cleared, with time to spare. I started the fire and went back in to have coffee and read a little as I always do. It wasn’t so very long that I went to the clothes line. To my horror, the garden was on fire!
I was gathering buckets,when Christian was fixing breakfast. I told him, that I intended to wet the yard around the garden, for now there was a strong wind blowing. Christian said :it was not a good day to burn, with the wind . .”but there wasn’t a bit of wind, when I started” I interrupted. I was calm, so he was too. I came back for two more buckets. This time, Christian decided to see for himself. By now, I was beginning to worry as the fire was heading to the the patch of young woods. The wind just kept picking up, as well. Christian started helping, for he was worried. No matter, we could not keep up with fire that seemed to jump over soggy land-and in all directions. We called the fire department.
I was so ashamed of myself and all of the running with buckets of water had taken a toll on this old lady. I apologized several times, and then left Christian to conclude the fiasco. I was drained physically and felt so thoroughly foolish. What a damper, on the otherwise, peaceful morning! When I had recovered and the fire department had left, I continued the plans for my departure .
Sydney was waiting outside while Ryan napped. What a welcome sight.
The days flew by. They were filled with long strolls , good meals and wonderful conversations. Ryan prefers wild life videos and farming videos, intended for farmers. At a bit shy of eighteen months, he talks about plows and combines! Ryan is a small child and quite agile . He knows at least half of the alphabet and the sounds of the letters, which has shocked me. It is uncanny, but Brant and Sydney hadn’t a clue, this was spectacular. Ryan has “beauty and brains “. . .according to his Honeybee, at least. I left on Monday, while the first blooms of the cherry could be seen. It was Daddy’s first heavenly birthday, though I doubt Heaven has clocks and calendars. . .but here on earth, we do.
Hence, my sisters and I had devised a plan to gather at Mamas’. Delores presented Mama with a quilt,that she had made from Daddys, shirts. No one could top that! It was a work of art. It is hard to believe that this is a new hobby for Delores. I am thrilled that her next project is my own celtic quilt.
The day was destined to be a somber one, but it was less so, sharing it with loved ones.
Grief subsides, but it does not leave us. Really, grief is the remnants of love. It is an odd feeling and always an unfamiliar feeling -to lose a loved one. I will never again “lose a father”, so that experience is odd, for there is nothing to compare it too, and it can not come up again. The other part of this sorrow, is losing someone that loved me. I remember first realising that particular sense of loss, when my maternal grandmother died. I was a child, but fully comprehended that idea. Someone who really loved me was gone. Decades later, my paternal grandmother died, and once again, that same sentiment, occurred to me. I was much older, but felt as frightened as the child I used to be. I felt more alone, right off and less brave, than ever.
Grief is a long and complicated business. . . it is also a very certain component of life. Those in mourning, seem to share some common denominators. There are more than a few thousand books written about the subject and always there are “studies”, to confirm this. . . but what do with grief is in reality, a very personal affair .
I am erecting a statue in memory of “Daddy” -in the form of an apple tree. . .and a “Hall of Fame”, for I will tell my fathers’ story til it is”old hat” to his great grand children. I will try to live as he taught me to . . . and make a birthday cake in March.