It has been a while, since I had a day without some sort of obligation or some place to be . Under such circumstance, I was drinking coffee at the “morning table”, when the day arrived. I listened to the mockingbird sing a prelude, and watched the sun rise, shyly over the old barn. The fragrance of morning, drifted in the open window and this day I could smell the wild privets blooming in the young woods.
For a while, the world was a silent and peaceful place, then a dove took flight, and shattered the spell with its’ alarm of impending doom. When a dove coos, I declare it as a beautiful sound as this world offers. His song is capable of putting one in a trance , in a total state of contentment . . .when the dove flies, its’ song could startle a rock! The dove always seems in a state of panic, when it flies.
Last night I heard a “Bobwhite”. I am convinced, I will always feel young when I hear a bobwhite, for a flood of memories wash over me like a sudden rain, every time. I do not know why, but learning about birds, was as important as learning your abcs when I was a child. The lesson on the bobwhite has remained vivid in my mind throughout the many passing decades. The bobwhite sings his name and if you whistle back, he will answer! I clearly remember when Daddy demonstrated this. I was quite young and was amazed that when Daddy whistled back, the Bobwhite did too! Now, I have never been able to really whistle. Kyle can whistle with clear trills and on pitch. My whistle sounds like something is in dire need – and it is almost too late. . .however the bobwhite , is a courteous bird and will answer the most feeble attempt. I do not hear a bobwhite, without calling back . . .and also remembering the unfaded magic of those long ago twilights.
By mid morning, clouds had moved in, making the constant breeze cool and so very pleasant. I have the usual chores to accomplish and in addition, there is that one last room in the farmhouse, that needs to be scrubbed. I am also going to tend to those awful vines at the back of the property, for left unchecked, they can give shade in just days! There is also the small pasture, now vacant, since the grand children were born. It needs to be mowed. If “idle hands are the devils’ workshop”, as Grandmama used to warn us, then I suppose the rabbitpatch has been a remedy for that.
Not long after noon, I tackled the vines. It is a dreaded task, as you must cut and then pull the hateful, itchy things off their victims. A the same time you are looking out for snakes and bees that sting. The day was almost sultry, on top of that. Of course there was more work to be done than I thought behind the barn. I decided to take a break. On the way to the house, I passed the cherry tree and to my delight-there were cherries on it!! Now, not enough to make a pie, but it was the first time, the thing had produced fruit. I had taken the half dead tree from a neighbor, who had bought it, with good intentions, but left it in the pot a few years. I happened to be there, when they were tossing it in a burn pile and asked for it. That was almost a decade ago. Every year, the tree bore blossoms, but no fruit. I remained on good terms with the tree, as it was pretty in spring and so fragrant. I overlooked the absence of fruit . . and quit expecting it. I saw the cherries and forgot I was hot, dirty and tired!
Christian and I tackled the pasture in the late afternoon. The thick grass was knee deep and you had to mow painfully slow . We used a push mower, for that is what we had. We took turns so it wouldn’t kill either of us. We ran out of gas, with about ten minutes left of mowing. It was almost dark anyway.
I was tireder, afterwards, than I have been in a long time. A bath felt the best is has in a long time, , . .and the grilled cheese, for supper, well , that was the best, I could do.
When I first moved to the rabbitpatch, many days were like today. It mattered little to us, that we didn’t have TV, for we worked so hard, that after a bath and supper, we wanted to go to bed. My elders used to say “hard work never killed anybody” . . maybe that is true, but a few times, it at least came close to that. We made an entire garden, with shovels! It is a big garden sight, too. That was hard. There was the time, the Roofers came, and I had the bright idea, that to save money, we would do the clean up. That remains the hardest work that I have ever done and I was sorry, almost immediately. Shingles are heavy!! I was amazed at at how the young men would toss a bundle on their shoulder and then climb a ladder! By about day three, the yard was covered in broken shingles as we were way behind. When the crew drove up, I was out there with a bucket, picking up shingles and barely able to walk. The men jumped out of the truck, like spring chickens, and began spreading a huge blue tarp. Next, they began tossing the shingles in the middle of it. They told me just to throw what I could on the tarp. Well, this was a different game, altogether. Then, it dawned on me, that the tarp would have to be emptied and the horror of that, sunk in. In a state of panic, I asked, how that could happen? The crew said they would empty it . . .and hours later, after three days of watching them work, in that awful back breaking work, they did, To this day, I am full of admiration for roofers.
Another job, that tops my list, was making the path in the patch of young woods. We did everything by hand. We cut the trees, with hand saws. Then cut them up to burn. We removed vines that had trunks! The vines had been there for years and had choked many trees , that we were cutting. The vines clearly “owned the joint” . Removing the roots of the trees, with a hand tool, was maybe the worst job of all, and when we were successful, we would yell out to one another, our victory. One particular night, I was so tired, I didn’t think, that I could walk back to the house. I was filthy and my back was hurting, so that I stepped oddly. I came in, put a sheet on a sofa and laid down. I was too tired to even eat. The phone rang several times, but I was dozing and let it ring. Next my young neighbor, Molly came bounding in the back door, calling out “Michele, your barn is about to be on fire!” I sprang off the couch and nearly ran! Molly, was the one calling . . .and she was right about the circumstances. The fire I had started and put out, was made on peat soil and peat will burn underground. Smoke was rising in several places, a long ways from, the burn pile . Now, we had to carry water, in buckets from the house to the woods. Her children helped and they were so very young. Kyles’ friends drove up, and in the midst of their greetings, I interrupted and screamed, ” bring water!!” Hours later, it was all over. Molly had saved the barn . I have never made a fire, on that soil, since.
I remembered these things, tonight – and many other such occasions , of the same nature, as well. Of course, I was younger then and blissfully ignorant of what it would take to make a home, out of the remnants of a farm. . . but the rabbitpatch proved to me . . .that it can be done.
“Everything is coming up roses’ at the rabbitpatch! The rose bushes are full of blossoms and it makes a stroll through the territory a grand event . Miss Sylvias’ irises are blooming too. They are so named, in her memory. Their watery blue color is striking and so cheerful, at the entrance of the drive way. Now all of the grass is green and the lilies are up and full of promises. New leaves adorn the old trees and quiver tenderly in the constant breeze.
The morning dawned silvery. Not long after a light shower fell. Tres had spent the night here, but he had stayed up pretty late with , Kyle and Christian, for someone who was smoking pork at six am. Christian, was up first and he made extra coffee, as Tres loves coffee as much as I do.
I decided, to take it easy today and just do what was required for housekeeping. Maybe I would cut the wild vines as they grow with great vigor. It would at least keep them at bay, for a bit. I have often wished vegetables grew with the same vitality as those hateful vines. I had laundry washing, by the time Tres and Kyle were up. We had a light breakfast and then Tres went out to inspect the car and the mower. That is my Tres. He reminds me so much of my daddy, who always walked in my house and found repairs needed somewhere. Once, when Jenny was little, she piped up and said “Granddaddy, you just want something to be broke!” She was maybe four, but had learned the circumstances, – and ( had not learned to use the word, Broken, instead.) I still chuckle, remembering.
Tres left around mid afternoon and so the holiday was officially over. I did collect some branches, that were strewn again, all over the place – and I did cut some vines. I packed another box and that was about it. I also spent some time in front of a window fan, which I declare is as pleasant, as can be. It is a worthwhile practice and I look forward to using fans each year.
This time of year, at school we are preparing for the folk dance program. The dances come from all over the world. This means that I am outside all day watching the children perform and dancing with them often. On the day of the program, the children will don clothing that reflects the country they have been studying. They will also prepare foods and display art from places like Colombia, South Africa and the Dominican Republic. These days, I sleep especially well, but few things are as lovely, as children dancing in the sunshine , in spring.
The fireflies are back! With such good weather, I am back in the habit of going out each night to bid the world good night – and so I have seen them twinkling, this past week. The first one of the season, flew very close to my face, and I was sure a star was falling on me! It was startling – but I laughed a good bit later, about it. A night or two later, another thing happened . . . I keep the windows up, this time of year, and I heard rustling sound just outside the window, by my beloved morning table. I ignored it, but it kept getting closer and closer. The boxer didn’t seem concerned, but I was. Surely the sounds were footsteps and were approaching the back door. It was just after twilight, and I couldn’t see a thing, so at last, I mustered the courage to go see. I stepped cautiously out, and “screamed like a banshee” for a young rabbit hopped onto the door step with me !
Now, the sweetest month, May has arrived, like a well loved friend, that was sorely missed. It is no wonder to me that the birthstone for May is the emerald. . .for in May, the fields and woodlands are all shades of green and even the most hesitant flora, will bloom in May. This is the month for picnics, if there ever was one, for pesky creatures, like mosquitoes are scarce for now- and so are the dreaded flies of summer. Once, I brought a baby home in May and how delighted I was to sit on a front porch swing with Tres when he was but days old. Maybe it is for that reason, that I am very partial to May.
Every May, I remember, that children were allowed to go barefoot, on May 1st, when I was growing up. But in those days, of long ago, things were different. I was richly blessed with a lot of loving adults, who indulged us with rich memories. We were children, but highly involved in the day to day tasks, meals and all aspects of life on that little farm. Looking back, I do not know how the grown folks did it all. I learned nursery rhymes, songs and Bible verses in the old barn, and in the garden and in the kitchen. There was also the faithful clothes line and the back porch, where beans were snapped or shelled. Stories were told and songs were sung. We wrote our abcs’ in the dirt, for the first available adult to check. . .and the World Book Encyclopedias, was a required reading.
Sometimes, however, a task just did not require the assistance of a child and so we were sent to play untethered . . mostly. To keep us safe, all sorts of notions were put in our heads. If we played in the ditch (by the road) we would surely get the “ditch itch” – and that is the way, we were kept out of the road. No one ever talked to me about the possibilities of snakes or black widows, being under the house . . for the devil himself, lived there! I can say truthfully, not one of us met our demise under any house. The well would swallow a child whole, so none of us drowned either. If you stayed out after dark, you were not only late for supper, but there was the chance, that a bat would make a nest in your hair-hence no one was late for supper. We kept our shoes on too, . . .to avoid the “Hong Kong” flu, which would kill you, . . . before the first of May.
In this way, we all managed to live to grow up. . .and tell about it.
Dear Diary, I love the gentle, fair time of May, when the wild becomes tender and “flowers appear on the earth.”
Yesterday, was a big day! Yesterday was full of celebrating, food, family and surprises and commotion. I, who shy away from parties given for me, wouldn’t trade yesterdays’ party, for “all the kings’ horses”!
I turned sixty years old, a few weeks ago. . .and my family wanted a party to mark the occasion. No matter, my protests, they just would not let the subject rest. Finally, I agreed, being worn down by their pleas. Today, I am glad of it.
I always enjoy family gatherings, but to be the “center of attention” has always been overwhelming to me. When Tres wanted to make his smoked barbecue, and was willing to spend all day, on it . . .well, that made a difference. Mama and Delores made plans whether they had my approval or not and so, I felt selfish to deny, the love that was behind, all of their desires. Mama came up with the idea, to surprise Brant and Sydney with gifts for the baby-and that sealed the deal for me.
Jenny joined forces with Mama and Delores . . .and so, we had the party.
It was almost cold in the early hours, when Tres started smoking the pork. I was not allowed to arrive too early, for Mama and Delores wanted to decorate. Though, they all insisted, I not bring a thing, I finally convinced them otherwise. I busied myself with my “light duty” tasks, til just after noon. Chuck and Melissa, Chris and Ano, Delores and Dana were all there when I arrived. The men were around the smoker. Delores was setting up a “corn hole” game and Christian was running extension chords, for his guitar. I floated around, free to roam between the groups and visit.
Will and the children, and Brant came shortly after, while Jenny and Sydney went to pick up chicken. Lyla bounded into my arms as if we hadn’t seen each other, the week before. I took Brynn to “show her off” to everyone, but Brynn, being a shy baby wailed pitifully at the first unfamiliar face. I calmed her, Will calmed her, but she remained on the verge of tears, and cried til Jenny returned.
Christian played his music in the shade of an old tree, with daddy sitting close by. Neighbors came over and we begged everyone to stay and join us. One neighbor, who adopted the puppy, the boys found months ago, abandoned beside the road, brought the puppy, now known as “Buddy” over. This thrilled the boys to see the pup happy, cared for and with such a loving owner.
Delores organized a corn hole tournament of sorts, which she took seriously. Dana had made Lyla a magic wand from a stick and ribbons and Lyla was as “happy as a little lark” with that. Brant, who can not be still, climbed on the roof of the house, and removed branches. Lyla was very concerned about this and kept her eye on him, the whole time. Sydney grazed on sweets, as she can not get enough of them these days, though she is as tiny as can be. Ano and Melissa sat on the porch . . .and Brynn slept. I sashayed around, like a “big shot” surveying her kingdom of loved ones. This is the way the hours so sweetly passed.
By mid afternoon, we had the meal. Brynn had awaken from her nap and was more tolerant of her predicament. Since the day was fair, folks ate outside and inside. We always make a big production when the cake is presented, but this time, when we all gathered for the cake, we shocked Brant and Sydney with our gifts for the baby instead! There were little shoes, sleepers, blankets and matching Christmas pajamas! I almost cried with sheer delight. Next I opened my gifts. Delores and Dana mad me a plaque that says “Welcome to the Rabbit Patch”! I got flags with rabbits and “Honeybees” , even cookies with honey bees on them! Some cards had money, there was a bag of fine chocolate- a little book, people had written greetings in -goodness what a storehouse of things! I have to mention, that Delores gave me a teapot with tea that blossoms! Edible blossoms unfurl, in to tea! Now, that is fancy and all of the women were struck by such a novelty while the men sat stone faced and unsure of how to react. None of them felt that tea made from flowers was appealing. Of course. I am quite anxious for a tea party with Lyla!
After all of the joyful commotion, Dana and Lyla joined Brant, Christian and I for a back yard concert. Dear Diary, I have to say, “that was the icing on my cake”.
Ano and I cleaned the kitchen while Jenny made plates for Mama and Daddy to have an already prepared Sunday Dinner. Tres packaged barbecue for folks to carry home. Kyle and Christian loaded the cars. Delores was supervising her on going tournament with total dedication, as she was winning! Lyla was worn out and starting to get cranky.
When I went out say good bye, Melissa (Chucks’ wife) said “This was good ” and went on to talk about the value of family. That was the perfect conclusion to the end of a spectacular day.
I came to Elizabeth City on Monday , in fair weather. Hundreds od blossoms adorned the lawns, the woodlands and even the roadside. The three rivers were as blue as could be and all of the world seemed to be singing.
Lyla had been at the window, watching for my arrival and she did not miss the moment I drove up. She always greets me with a long and joyful greeting- It is a treasured moment and typically, I hear her scurrying and calling out “Honeybee!” I drop all my bags and she is in my arms quickly, for a long embrace, whether it has been a few weeks or a few days, since “we were together”. Little Brynn smiled at me and it seems at long last, that she considers me “familiar” now.
Each morning begins with feeding a pair of ducks, from the porch. I so hope they show up one day with ducklings. Will, often has coffee on the porch and Jenny and the children, follow, shortly after. I am usually up first, and while the coffee brews, I sit on the back deck, to collect my thoughts and watch the birds and squirrels. I saw the yellow tanager twice, the first day! She was flying hastily, but the yellow bird did not go unnoticed. There are several pairs of cardinals and there are always robins. One morning, Lyla and I watched a blue jay, gathering nesting materials. Lyla was very amused, at his antics.
On Tuesday, Lyla and I went to the grocery. We had a long list and so it took a while to gather the items. Lyla is quite helpful at finding the items and reminding me to “stick to the list”. When we got back, the day called to us and so we all spent the afternoon in the back yard. Lyla is learning to swing and she takes it quite seriously. I was reminded of the poem, “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Lyla memorized the first stanza and recited it for her dad, when he came home. My own children memorized poetry regularly and I remain glad, for a semester of poetry is hardly enough. I still remember my third grade teacher reading “The Duel” (E. Field) to us-and then “Fog” by Sandburg. Of course, I prefer the old classic poems that have a rhythm and rhyme. I am on a mission to revive the lost art of many things, for my grandchildren, . . which includes meandering, and pretending knowing the name of birds and flowers . . .and poetry.
On Wednesday, Lyla rode her tricycle to the laughing river. The water was a deep indigo color and along the way were irises and a mock orange – and a hodgepodge of oxalis, violets , buttercups and coral bells in the yards. The breeze blew the spent blossoms of dogwoods in the air and I told Lyla, that it was raining flowers.
When we got home, Lyla and I began making a banana pudding. After supper, we carried some to Miss Thelma. I have been giving Lyla lessons on good manners, which I think is another “lost art”. The visit with Miss Thelma, gave Lyla the opportunity to practice and she did everything just right. Good manners mean you are thinking of someone else, pure and simple.
On Thursday, Lyla and her mom had dental check ups, and errands to run. I took Brynn out for her first solo stroll. The day was as glorious as could be . It was a short walk to the river and Brynn seemed to enjoy the cheerfully laughing water. Brynn is a happy baby and so very beautiful. She has learned to clap her hands and what a precious sight to see her laughing and clapping like a little doll.
After baths, everyone settles in for a quiet evening. It is always the same. One night, Lyla gave a violin recital and recited her poetry, for us. That was a special night.
One morning, I woke up and “out of the blue” . . it was Friday! It seemed like as fast a week, as I have ever lived, had passed . Time is much shorter when it is measured, I think. (This is why, in the summer, I abandon clocks altogether and the calendar is only useful for bill paying and birthdays.) The early morning smelled like rain, and the heavy clouds confirmed the chance. Today was the day to pack . . .for all of us. Will and Jenny are coming back, for a gathering, on Saturday to celebrate my sixtieth birthday, which was on the 18th. Tres, Brant and Sydney, my sister, Delores, niece, Dana, and cousins, Chuck and Chris are all coming. I am not the sort that wants a party for me, but this is almost like a reunion and I am looking forward to it.
There are a few things in life, that I can not get my fill of-springtime and grandchildren -family meals and Christmas -leisure strolls and the nights when we all sleep under one roof, again. Dear Diary, The older I get, the less I know, for sure. . .but these things are certain. These things, I hold in my heart . . .and will abide for now and be treasured every year, hereafter.
It is a beautiful Easter morning at the rabbit patch. The sun came up brightly and the birds have been singing their hearts out. Now, there is shade in places, where weeks ago, there was not – and there are more roses than there was. Dogwoods and azaleas are blooming, which is especially fitting for the holiday.
There is a small turkey in the oven, because after a long spell void of Sunday dinners, we are having one today. Regular readers know, that I am as “happy as any lark”, under such circumstances. Daddy is “holding his own” in his battle, with that hateful condition, that mimics Parkinsons – and Mama is right beside him. They are in this together – no doubt about it.
There has been a lot of good news at the rabbit patch, lately. I do have some one very interested in the house – but that is not all, and pales in comparison, to the best kept secret of all. At long last, I can tell, the beautiful news . . .Brant and Sydney are expecting a baby in September!!! We found out yesterday, that it is a boy. My first grandson-and Brants’ first child. Only Lyla, was disappointed, as she wanted “a baby sister, cousin”! Thankfully, the cupcakes were served, shortly after the blue balloons were released, to announce, it was indeed, a boy. (Lyla had her heart set on a little girl, which she would name “Rosie” . )
The weather was perfect yesterday for the “gender reveal gathering”, hosted by Sydneys’ parents. What a beautiful area, they live in. There are rolling hills and lots of trees and farms, though they are on the outskirts of several large cities. Her parents were friendly and made us feel at home right off. Sydneys’ brother greeted us and took Kyle and Christian under his wing, immediately. Everyone I met, was just delightful, cousins, aunts, grandparents . . .all new people to love and to share in the grand gift of this little son.
Sydney was quite sick at first, but since, has been feeling much better. All of her doctor visits have been full of good tidings. The baby is healthy and the doctor said “He had a beautiful heart, a few weeks ago -and though I am sure that statement was made from a medical stand point, I took it, as I always do . . .spiritually and my own heart , lept with joy -for God talks in such ways. I have been praying for the baby to have a beautiful heart, a clear mind and good health. One can have a brilliant mind, or good looks, and these things are useful tools, but it is the condition of the heart, that matters most, I think, for it does not fade in time, nor lose its’ value.
While the turkey baked, I found lots of things to do. There was a lot more than turkey to cook . . . and I am leaving for Elizabeth City tomorrow, after all.
I was making the gravy when Christian walked in the door. He had to work this morning, and so how glad I was to see him, in time for the Sunday Dinner. The biscuits were a warm golden hue and I pulled them out, just as Mama and Daddy were coming in the kitchen door. We had string beans , corn, brunswick stew and creamed turnips and potatoes . . and the grand finale was banana pudding with a meringue, that could be bragged about – if I were that sort.
Daddy was moving slow, but he made it to the table. We all enjoyed the meal and then Daddy and Christian strolled around the yard, while Mama and I packed food up for them to take home with them.
I cleaned the kitchen up and still had plenty of food left, for Kyle and Christian, for two meals. I am always sure they will starve, when I go away, for a few days. If I am not with Jenny, I am convinced she isn’t resting enough-Tres could stand a home cooked a meal and I hope he is keeping up with school and work . . . and so you see, the habits of motherhood remains as constant as the North star.
In the evening, the boxer and I took a stroll around the territory. A thick blanket of clouds covered the countryside and hushed everything. There wasn’t a bit of movement and the air was cool. it would have been a wonderful time to entertain lofty notions or at least gather my thoughts, but the peace of the moment didn’t allow such things. I was simply there walking in the twilight, with my dog without a thing that would occupy my mind long enough for me to ponder. I noticed the beauty around me. Some late blooming, wild daffodils fairly glowed in the absence of light and there was the mightiness of the old oaks . . .but nothing would stay put , in my mind, long enough for me to dwell upon. It was a rare and beautiful time. It felt like a sacred time.
And really, Dear Diary, all of life is rare and beautiful . . these last few days, especially.
Typically the forecast for April, is “rain, likely” . . hence the saying. “April showers bring May flowers” – Today was no exception. With that being said, I started a fire in the garden . . .again. There is but one corner left now, to burn. I put the house plants out to collect the rain. Not long afterwards, a gentle rain began falling.
Christian was up early, as usual. He took a look out and said “It’s a good day for you to write.” I do not know why, but I do especially, like to write when it is raining. Rain hushes a farming community and so the rabbitpatch is quiet and so very conducive to thinking great thoughts or entertaining notions, when it rains . and I do like to get still, more than ever these days.
I grew up in a world, where you worked steadily and made the most of your time, but rushing was limited to bad weather coming, and clothes were on the line or there were strawberries that had to be picked for company. Rushing was not a habit, in those days. Now, we live in a world of convenience . Folks, mostly buy their berries and very few yards have a clothes line. Yet, everyone is in a hurry. Porches are seldom occupied and supper is often from a bag . . and I declare, we have lost, something beautiful.
Of course, in spring, I am least likely to rush. I do not want to miss “the time of the singing of birds” nor the sweetness in the air. Should I live to see a hundred springs, I will not get my fill .
Since, it was raining, I concentrated on housekeeping. I made a bold decision. I packed my winter clothes up – shoes and all. (This is surely a testament that I believe in Spring . . . and the sale of the house. ) The only thing I have had to unpack, since my huge packing up, in the fall . . was my spring clothes. I have been quite surprised, at this, for there are at least forty boxes, scattered through out the farmhouse. They are in every corner, stacked neatly and labeled. Of course, I have not made a trifle or done any decorating in a long while. The china cabinet looks dismal, without a thing to brag about. So do the bookshelves, but all and all, we have still lived comfortably.
I tackled the linen closet next. This was an easy task as I had at least cleaned it out. Packing up the few extra sheets took no time. In the meantime, a man came to fix the lawn mower. The repairman was kind and fair, thankfully. Though it was raining, he mowed a streak or two, to show me his success. Now, I must wait, for a fair day. No matter, my enthusiasm, . . I will mow around the flowers .
Sunday was born like a lullaby, softly sung. The birds did not even raise a ruckus as the light shyly ascended on the rabbit patch. Not long after, I rose, it started to rain. I still love rain. We have had the rainiest year on the local record, but this has not dimmed my love for rain a bit. Of course, I love sunshine, and clear bright evenings, but the sound of a gentle rain, has a beauty too. Many times, I have planted flowers in a spring rain. It is a an awful mess, but the best insurance of success with the young plants, that I know of. I do not like to drive in rain, though.
What delightful moments, the season affords! On Monday, the first rose of the season, bloomed at the rabbit patch. It is a fragrant , yellow rose and was quite a surprise for me. Another good thing about Monday, was that at long last, the rabbit patch territory got mowed. I hummed as I cooked supper, listening to the sound of the mower. (Kyle did the honors.) How it lifted my heart to see the rabbit patch being restored to its’ former glory. There is still much left to be done, but there is less than there was.
On Tuesday, I heard a whippoorwill sing. Few things are sweeter in the evening air, than the song of the whippoorwill. He sings as if all is right in the world . I remember clearly, listening to the whippoorwill, in the quiet evenings of childhood. In the lazy hours, after supper, we would often sit outside til dark. Mostly, the low hushed voices of the adults made me drowsy. The later it got, the less anyone said anything. We would always look for the first star and then the big dipper before we went in.
I doubt any one of us, would have ever guessed that a half century later, the simple substance of those evenings, would still be treasured- more so than any “Kings’ ransom”. or written about. After all, no one could have convinced us, then, that “our way” would be lost, nor that . . . those evenings in spring, would have made all the difference, for me. Dear Diary, Bless that whippoorwill, that made me remember.
Sunshine has been scarce the last dew days. Spring is full of flowers – and rain. Though we did have, a fleeting storm, Monday night, mostly the showers have been light. Days are born in mist and how lovely the blossoms are in mist, I think. Suddenly, the woods are green! They are the color of jade now, as the trees are adorned with young leaves, The dogwood has a few blossoms, too. . . and now, the birds sing, celebrating the time “when flowers appear on the earth.” You would think, that all of this splendor, would make for a merry heart, naturally. . . but yesterday, I cried.
Being sentimental, I will cry at the drop of a hat . . .at beauty. Kind words, make my heart well up as does acts of kindness. When something good happens to someone, I cry tears of joy, whether I know them, or not. This has always been so . .but this was not the circumstances, yesterday. Yesterday, I cried because the lawn mower wouldn’t start!
Kyle was caught completely off guard, by my behavior and stood there looking stunned. Before, you consider me totally mad or “fragile”, be aware that the territory is about three acres of yard – and I went through this all of last summer. Had it not been for my neighbor, Susan, I do not know what I would have done. If the grass gets too high, you will need a tractor, which mows it like a hay field -and it is very costly. It is no small thing to be behind in mowing, on the rabbitpatch, and I am just weary of this predicament. Still, it was much ado for an untidy yard. I did apologize to Kyle for my outlandish display, but I am ashamed, that recovery,did not come swiftly. I counted my blessings – and I have so many. This is the best remedy I know of, for such occasions. By the time I went out, to bid the world, good night, I had calmed down from my tantrum, and felt foolish.
The stars were out, after all and the faint smell of clover hung sweetly, in the cool air. There was a chorus being sung, by tiny little night creatures -and a killdeer pierced the dark, with great excitement. An evening in Spring, is lovely.
I slept soundly, and convinced myself , that in spite of myself, all was well. Life is more than one moment, thankfully.
I rose the next morning, to an “early bird” singing like his life depended on it. It mattered little to him, that it was still pitch dark. It mattered even less, to him that the grass needed cutting. A new day was just over the horizon and so he sang an especially sweet prelude, because of it. Today, I would not be ill tempered, I promised the Heavens.
A few hours later, I was driving past the quiet pastures and the fields of winter wheat. The emerald grain, is now knee deep. Sunlight flooded the fields in long slanted rays and the once, bright corners of the field, are now shaded.
At school, the children are telling of sightings of young bunnies and finding kittens. . . .a sure sign of April. I remember finding kittens as a child. It was a joyous affair and we would spend a morning trying to catch them, for they were feral as could be. None of the adults ever shared our enthusiasm for the discovery of wild kittens, under a barn. I do not know what Grandmama held against cats, but as it turns out, Mama is scared of them! She is to this day and don’t you know that there is more than one story about that. I did not find this out, til many years after childhood. I knew that when we we would run in the little farmhouse full of excitement,at our find, the adults shared odd glances, with one another, that became familiar over the years. No matter what, children can never be convinced that finding a litter of kittens, is not a sheer and divine stroke of good luck.
Only one kitten was ever tamed. It was a calico and I thought she was beautiful. I named her “Frosty”. She never did allow us to hold her, but she like to be petted. To this day, I love calico cats.
The week passed, with every day fairer than the one before it. It is no wonder to me that people fall in love so easily, in months like April, for the earth itself, seems to encourage it, with the lilacs blooming , butterflies wafting along and all the nest building. Such things conjure up tender thoughts and soften hearts, in the young. . .and in the poets.
Surely the wild hyacinths, do their part, to lend enchantment to the season. A few are blooming by the garden, as they always do. They smell every bit as good as their fancy cousins, even if they aren’t as regal. Beyond the garden . . .the white tufts of clover are abundant. I love the smell of clover – almost as much as the roses in June. Some people do not like the hodgepodge look of such a yard. Many will go to great lengths, to rid their yard of “Aprils’ flowers”, but it is but a few short weeks of the whole year . . so mine abide. . .and the bees are happy.
Somehow, I was able to live up to my conviction, this week and not pitch another single fit. I do hope this is not a short lived affair – for life itself, is a short lived affair. . . .really a sacred one. One of the most beautiful and brave things we can do, is to live authentically, recognizing our truth. . . and some times our truth may not be so charming, and may include things like tantrums. . . but truth is always of great value, for it acts as a compass of sorts, and shows us our short comings, so that with practice, we will get along better as we go.
Besides, there are too many loved ones in my world -and too many hyacinths to waste a moment . There are the fields and the woodlands . . .and a laughing river. There are the robins and young rabbits, to consider . . .and there is “April”.
Dear rabbitpatch Diary, Might I dwell on “whatever is true,whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, and whatever is lovely’ . . . always.