How on earth did it get this late?? And work sure does come early in the morning. It is the end of a 3 day weekend for me, and I accomplished much. Gardening, painting, reading one of my manuscripts, bicycling the community trail… dang! Life is good…
Ziggy and Tim stopped today for a late lunch. Their big day quickly approaches… and after they left, I spent some time outside conversing with the sky, the wind, the trees, the dogs 🙂 any old thing that had no chance of answering me. I needed to muse on a few things…and I really was in need of a little solitude, to hear my own thoughts.
Ziggy is my first-born. My awakening to a world that was much larger than me. I was 20 years old when she was born, and she was this beautiful little bundle of blonde hair and blue eyes. If I had not already loved her, I could not have helped but falling in love with her. My tiny daughter, 6 lbs. 11 oz. that was completely dependent upon me for protection from the world.
I read a book, years back, "The Thornbirds" and in it, one of the characters describes her daughter as no mystery at all… it was a mystery to her that sons came out of her body, but there was nothing to wonder about giving birth to a daughter. After becoming a mother of a daughter (and later 2 sons) I never found an ounce of understanding in what that character said. My daughter was this wonderful mystery to me, like a present that I got to open over and over again… from the moment that she began smiling a toothless grin at me while I fed her, until today, when I looked at her, all grown up and facing her wedding day… just a note* Ziggy’s real name came from "The Thornbirds" and when the Catholic priest was talking to me about her baptism, he actually asked me if I made up the name 🙂
So, life is coming full circle on another front, and I wonder what to tell her about life… I don’t know what I really have to share with her. She was born nearly grown-up, always wise beyond her years… and I can say that I have learned much from her…
I would want her to know, that all of the dreams that she had while growing up must never be cast away. Life gets busy, but keep those dreams– and let them lift you up on a day when the world is holding you down.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you have limitations. You don’t. You are my shooting star, and we know that only shooting stars break the mold 😉 So, aim for the stars… but keep your feet on earth.
You are wise and beautiful… beauty fades, but wisdom grows if we keep an open heart and an open mind.
Your pappy used to tell me, and if he were here, he would tell you too, "ask yourself– a hundred years form now will anybody know the difference?".
It is okay to cry, never let anyone stop you from crying when your soul needs to bleed… we are hopelessly human, and emotions are just part of life…
But, you get more mileage out of laughter than out of tears…
Maybe we can ask ourselves pappy’s question, and if the answer is no– then we should try laughing instead?
Everybody has a story– and most of yours is yet unwritten… make it a best seller… romance, adventure, comedy…
Oh, I should have started this earlier in the evening, but alas, it is late now…
Ziggy, you are amazing… can we sing a verse or two of "You are my Sunshine"? because, you are 🙂 I see a little girl, with Shirley Temple curls boucing as she runs down an old farm lane…and she is laughing. It is a warm summer day, and she holds out her chubby little hands to reveal her fingers tightly wrapped around a stubby bouquet of daisies and little pink flowers. You are so proud of your accomplishment, and so eager to give them to me… where did the years go??
I wish that for you, Zigzee… children that love you, and bring you stubby little bouquets. Love, smiles, tenderness and joy. A Life of sharing the trials and the wonders with Tim… and that you know your dreams, look them in the eye now and again so that you never lose sight of them..
I could curse the rain, or I could enjoy the rhythm, the tickle… I could hide, inside…or step out the door and dance with unadulterated joy.. I could feel the silliness rising inside of me, as I remember landing in a puddle, dead center, feet side by side, and splashing a boss in the process, when I was, perhaps, all of 45 years old 😉
Rain has a purity to it, a cleansing of the mind and of the soul. For a time the mind has such clarity to search for meaning, to understand, and our very souls become stripped naked by the water that washes over us…
So, have you recently allowed the rain to strip your soul bare?
When I got home from work today, I took a walk–even though the called-for rain had already begun. It was a nice light rain that tickled my brow and dampened my shoulders as I made my rounds. The columbines that I have waited for two years to see bloom, are delightful. They flutter and sway like pink, purple, and lavender butterflies in the slightest of a breeze, or the touch of the most delicate raindrop. The pansies remain in the "spectacular" category. That is not a surprise as it has been such a long, cold, and wet spring.
I walk to the flowerbed behind the house. I have to smile at what a haphazard mess it is right now. False solomen’s seal stands in the back, ready to bloom. The flower buds hanging at the ends of the zigzag fronds tumble toward me– and the sun that would shine over my shoulder, on a different, cloudless day. They lean against a riot of blueviolet irises that smell mildly of grape PEZ. There are hostas crowded at the front, that were heeled in a few autumns ago 🙂 you know, just for the winter, yet here they remain, relishing the rich earth and the shade of an old butternut tree.
The flower bed is a mound of dirt, pushed up with a skid-steer when Dave put in a drainage ditch. When he did it, it looked ugly as dirt <wink> well, it was just a big pile of dirt. So he set a couple of big rocks in front of it to hide the dirt.
Four years later and countless hours of dry-stacking rocks, I have a rock wall in front of the big pile. I know 🙂 two over one, one over two… but I did the best that I could with what I had. I have already heard the criticism… but I think that it looks awfully nice. It is still a work in progress.
<sigh> like all of my art– unfinished…
The stone wall now has various sedums tucked here and there between rocks. The whole bed is an excercise in varying growing conditions. High and dry, part dense shade, and a foot or so of dappled shade, then intenese heat and sun at the front, down across the rock wall. Very few things tolerate dense, dry shade, let alone thrive in it. It is one of the more challenging growing conditions that a gardener can face.
Just on the edge of the pile of dirt, at original ground level, is a witch-hazel that is full of bird feeders. Then the terrain gives way to steepness, and the engulfing canopy of trees as the land drops away down into the hollow.
I look out from where I stand, beside the witch hazel, and I view the larch trees. Odd things that they are; I loathed them when I bought the property. But I hate to cut down a tree, so they remained. I often thank my lucky stars for the reluctance to call in Babe and Paul Bunyan.
The chartreuse feathers that they bore a month ago, on the tip of each and every tiny branch, has given way to the palest shade of mint green… dusted with a fine mist of rain right now. And the tall softwoods beside them are changing from a pale green to a deeper shade of summer green. The trunks have eyes where branches broke off, or died off as the tree grew. Much like the famed white birch trees get eyes.
As the rain strikes each leaf, they twist, and shimmer… I smile to think about summer days, late afternoons, before approaching storms, how they turn their undersides to reveal silver, and then they sparkle like diamonds in the sunshine. I know the science of why they do it–flattened petiole tht causes them to shake from side to side… but when I look upon a huge stand of them, sparkling like gems in the wind, it is whimsy and fascination, that engulf me… it is dreams and fantasy that take over my mind… life is like that some days…
The world grows mightily silent when it rains…wonder why that is? The birds have quieted, with the exception of that desperate brown thrasher who has yet to find a mate. He sings his song of courtship. Even I know why this one is still singing the first week of June. The songs should be immitations of other bird’s songs, and they should be sung in couplets, tweet-tweet, pretty bird-pretty bird, drink your teeeeeeeea-drink your teeeeeeeea…but he has them all mixed up… drrrrrrink! Prettybird, driiiink your teeeeeea, poor tom peabody peabody peabody peabody peabody…driiiink! I kind of giggle thinking about the poor bird! He sings to attract a female, and ornithologists think that the females judge him by his song. If he has the couplets down pat, and a good repertoire of bird songs, he is accepted quickly. If he knows few songs, and he sings them more or less than twice each time… well… I can tell you from observation that there aren’t many brown thrashers singing perfect couplets come June 🙂 Those ornithologists must be onto something 🙂
Time to go inside… the rain has accumulated enough that it is dripping big drops from the trees…
I enjoyed the walk through the mist, hearing the silence of still air, and the song of rain as it lightly fell. I cannot choose to wait for sunny days… I find that dreaming comes more easily in the rain…
I changed into dry clothes, and am comfortably in bare feet… and I walk to the windows in the kitchen. Four of them in a row, with a view of the valley. There are no gutters on the lower side of the house yet, and I watch the rain drip and splash on the back deck… and I find that I am for a dreamy moment, so very, very much, one with AE Housman… I understand, I am fluent with the emotion that he had to have been filled with when he wrote "Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now".
"Of my threescore years and ten, twenty will come not again
So to the woods I will go, to see the cherries hung with snow."
How the heck did I arrive here? Here, where I am living the essence of his message?
And "living" is the key word.
I came across a quote by Jonathan Swift from Gulliver’s Travels, that embodies my remaining time…
"I hope that you live all the days of your life."
It just says it all
So let the rain fall… and I will embrace the world, and the life within it, as fully as I do on sunny days…
What do you think? Are you living all the days of your life? Or is it time to start?
This evening is silver…no other way I would want to describe it. It is illuminated by the half-light of dusk. Beyond tender leaves backed in downy silver, a charcoal sky deepens in the distance. It is spring in my part of the world…
Lady slippers have unfurled in the crinkled leaf litter, and trilliums sway in the temporate breeze. I wonder at the steadfast return… a year of seasons coming full circle.
Just as assuredly as the spring returns, and the clock spins forward, so does my mind spin backward. When I was a small child, I wandered field and woodland, searching for spring flowers. I was maker of bouquets. I reckon that they were actually nosegays, such tiny bouquets– violets, hepaticas, wood anemones and forget-me-nots.
I guess that the forest contained my first flower garden 🙂 But my first "real" flower garden was a rock-lined rectangle that contained pansies. It was next to the big old stone cellar steps on the southwest side of the house. Heavy clay and far too much sun for a pansy’s liking, made it a failure by most standards.
But, failure or not, I loved it. I spent hours next to it, daydreaming, and thinking. Pansies are, after all, the flowers of thought.
I daydreamed, amongst other things, of other flower gardens that could be built, out beyond the spring, next to the hemlocks, in the unbounded wildness… bounded, contained, controlled, conformed… and they dazzled in my mind’s eye.
The years rolled onward and, somewhere along the way, I became absolutely enthralled with flower gardening. It evolved and changed with age, just like me.
I ran the gamut of simple gardens, gardens of symmetry, statuary, wood chips, marble chips, sun gardens, shade gardens, landscape fabric, named varieties… <heavy sigh> and all the while I fought to control the bounds of the gardens…to keep my garden in and to keep the wildness out.
Today, I stood in the vegetable garden, small by any former garden standards. It has been eeked out of the corner of the property above the house where once wildness ruled. This year, once again, the encroaching edge of nature had to be trimmed back to make room for the garden, the place where plants stay where they are planted, and behave…they are bounded, grown in a box, conformed, constrained…oh so civilized.
The wind raged through the trees, singing around branches already dense with leaves. They tossed and heaved in the way of the approaching storm…
It made my heart pound with an exhilaration that I cannot explain.
It really made me think, though, about the wildness that I have tried so hard to control. Yet here it is, singing and swaying with a beauty so wild and so pure…
I thought about the last few years of gardening, and how soft I have become. How my focus has been on blending the civilized plants into the wildness that dwells under the shade of all those tall hardwoods. I have planted named varieties of ferns, hostas and heucheras…next to wild foamflower, false solomen’s seal, and native ferns that nature planted…
The gardens that I am creating are far from what I had pictured. The neatness, the tidiness, the distinct lines between wild and tame have become blurred at best, nonexistent for the most part.
An evolution? A continuance of the unavoidable evolution?
In the distance, off to the west, the thunder rumbles; I feel it as much as I hear it. The wildness within me responding, perhaps?
The gardens are trying to teach me a lesson, I reckon…a lesson as old as the time gardening began. Only so much in life can be controlled– or more importantly, only so much in life should be controlled.
For years, I lived my life like I planted gardens, so conforming…so controlled, so civilized, as I denied the part of me that struggled to exist, to even be heard– the girl who first gardened in a forest of wildflowers…
And as my life matures, I see so clearly how tame and wild co-exist. They compliment each other… the tame provides a place of predictability and comfort, while the wild beckons "Come, sway and sing– dance in the wind while the thunder beats out the rythm."
Life "ain’t" all about neat little rows 😉 Sometimes it comes down to feeling the rain, the wild heart that beats in your breast, and embracing the wild and innocent soul that cries to exist, to even be heard… and to gather your flowers in the forest instead of in the formal garden…
Thanksgiving… what do I give thanks for? Oh my! The list is endless… Most recently I have to say for that dear, sweet, little, babygirl who attended her first Thanksgiving today.
She arrived in this world weighing 10 lbs even, after a 24 hour ordeal that ended with a c-section delivery. I sent out a few e-mails with this… that way back in the spring, when I went to work and told the girls in the Culture Lab that I was going to be a grandmother, one of the women who has grandchildren who are nearly adults now, said, "You know…everyone has a hole in them that they don’t even know is there until they have a grandchild to fill it." I have to smile while I say, "Tis true, tis true…"
Oh, where were we? At a BBQ place out in the boonies. We waited for our turn, and watched the stars, and talked. I now felt as though I have know Rose and ND since forever. The place was to close at 9:00 pm, but I think it was later than that by the time that we got a seat inside. Here again, there were autographs on walls and doorways, a few messages about the Aggies and the Longhorns… and while we were eating, a frog came hopping across the sawdust on the floor! Too cool, I tell you! They were out of ribs, so we had BBQ sandwiches that were HUGE, lol, (everything is big in Texas!) and they were delicious too!!
Back on the road and headed north, we did not get back to Rose’s until going on midnight.
Saturday morning, Rose had a few things to do, new tire for her motorcycle, water some container plants… and then we headed south again.
We hooked up with ND and I went for a ride out to Cammanche Peak, nice place with a pretty view. I live in the rolling hills of western PA and the horizon is close. This was something entirely new to me. Get a little elevation and you can see forever! The ride was a lot of fun… ND is a gentleman…
Rose and I headed north again, stopping tograb some wildflowers along the way. This woman is a botany genius of Texas wildflowers. She had identified flowers on Friday while we were driving past them at traveling speed. But just to doublecheck, we picked a few kinds, hauled them back to her house, got out the wildflower books, and yes indeed! Just like she had said! She was right on. 🙂
Saturday evening was a family evening and Rose foes have a sweet, fun and musical family. It was a very nice dinner and good time! 🙂
Bedtime was a bit earlier Saturday night… my butt was starting to drag! Rose is an excellent tour guide too!
Sunday morning…my last day in Texas ;-( (and I LIKE it here) 🙂 breakfast at a place that Rose and ND know of, then to the Fort Worth Botanical gardens. It was almost 95 degrees by midday, and I am not native to that part of the hot world… we walked through the Japanese garden; it was indescribable… weeping willows and understory trees beneath tall trees–that I have not seen a lot of this weekend. The pools and bridges are gorgeous, ducks, turtles, koi… a stand of bamboo that was very cool. That does not grow in PA. A beautifully laid-out garden with a nice porch on the side of the gift shop at the exit. Time for a sit-down break.
Next we walked the perenial garden… just gorgeous, words fail me here…
And then the Rose garden…wow! A long walkway with Roses cascading from the sides, and then there was a formally laid out garden with stairs rising up to a viewing pavillion at the top.
While we were there, we saw a oung lady in a bright yellow dress, it resembled a wedding gown, but was bright yellow. Rose told me that it was a "coming out" celebration. I cannot recall the exact word that she used , but the young lady was there getting her photos taken in the rose garden. Not uncommon to use the Rose garden for such… or even for weddings. 🙂
We left there and went on a bit of a driving tour… a building with bullet holes in it from gunfights on the streets of the old Fort Worth (wild west). And the angel that is at least two stories tall, jutting out from the side of the building in concrete or marble? They shared the story of Fort Worth and Dallas and how the cities came to be…and how the city of Fort Worth was saved–taken back from crime and ruffians by a family that was willing to invest in their hometown.
Then we searched for a parking place (tough to come by due to consrtuction) near the Fort Worht water gardens. As we circled the block, I could see little, and wondered what the big attraction was???
Words will fall short of any description that I try to give. It is fascinating, beautiful, water and concrete. All angles, cubes and shimmering films of water that give way to cascading torrents around cubes that you are standing on at the bottom of an inverted, three-sided pyramid?
I could not stop smiling..it was so cool~ And there was another "garden" that was all mist, and another with cypress trees and big reflecting pool, and on the other side of the gardens, there were the "mountains" a lot of concrete blocks that kids (or adults) could climb.
One of the things that caught my attention (and this was not the first place that I noticed this) was that you could go anywhere. there were no "Keep-off" signs, no "do not enter" signs. I saw a few "at your own risk signs" while I was shown around…but Texas seems to rely on people using the common sense that most people have. Rather than making the decision (like PA) that people cannot be trusted to their own safety. Texas is a really unique place.
It is bedtime. I will finish this soon.
After almost three days in Texas, I am sure that I had no idea what it was like without going and seeing for myself, and I love Rose and ND; they have welcomed me like we have been friends all of our lives…! 🙂
ON Saturday afternoon I filled both of my hummingbird feeders, the larger one of the two holds about a quart and the smaller one is in the photographs. On Monday morning as I was getting ready to run out the door to work, I happened to notice that the larger of the two was empty. Wow, that is a lot of nectar, think that I might have noticed that much hummingbird activity??
I never gave it another thought all day long until I was home, fixing dinner and happened to catch motion out of the corner of my eye. I could not believe what I was seeing!!
Forgive the photo’s darkness on a couple. I was shooting from inside my kitchen with the lights off so as not to spook the bird away. It took a couple of pics for me to decide to turn the camera to a low light setting, which improved the lighting immensely.
So there it is, what I suspect has frightened my hummingbirds away! It is a female red-bellied woodpecker. We have four or five pairs of them visiting for suet on any given day. (this is the first summer that we have backed away from feeding suet all summer long–we were losing entire suet cages to bears or raccoons) Perhaps this was the bird’s response to not having suet to eat?? <laughing> They apparently have found something that they like just as well!
A man that I have developed a great respect for, Emrullah Cemil Tarhan, is running for Congress in Turkey. His views expressed have been unwaivering, and have impressed me from the first time that I read anything that he wrote.
If you would like to take a look at his campaign website(in Turkish) and the ntmsnbc website for news (in English). The links follow.
http://ezete.wordpress.com/ — there are links on this site, for videos with Cemil being interviewed on TV
I have a framed print hanging on my wall… of an "Indian" maiden sitting on the shore of a river, with a big old full moon hanging low in the sky behind her. It hung on the bedroom wall that I shared with seven brothers and sisters when I was a little girl, and now, here where I sit typing, it hangs in plain view.
I guess that it has followed me, and has always been part of my life. I can never remember a time that I was not fascinated by that image… or that I did not in some way, relate to that beautiful face, or to that hand raised in a gracefully-finger extended wave… I have always known that she is a princess, lonely, lost and searching, though she has a place and a time…as we all do 🙂
It is very likely one of the oldest things in my home.
When I was a young day dreamer… <big smile> note that I did not say when I was young and I used to daydream! For I have always (and still do) daydream! When I was a young daydreamer… from time to time I was her…or she was me…in my daydreams.
I was so very far removed from the reality of the life that I lived as a child— in that daydream. There is no crowd surrounding her, I hear only the quiet lapping of rippled waves against a river bank when I look at that image.
But I have always wondered what my big attraction was with that particular image. As long as I can recall, I have said, "I want that ‘pikcher’ someday!" And I spent countless hours of my early days, asking "Who is she waving to? Why are they there? Do you think that there are other people that we cannot see? Do you think that two women really paddled their own canoe like that? Why does she have one braid and the other girl has two? Is there a fire behind her?"
So, here I sit, some 47 years after the first time that my infant eyes probably gazed up from a crib, and made eye contact with that lovely woman.
The outside world today is serenaded by angry bluejays; I can hear them scolding other birds over only the skies know what?
The fog has burned off and the sun, the breeze, and the leaves are working together to make a dappled dancing pattern on the oriental rug at me feet. <smirk> it goes so, so well with the native American things hanging on the wall. I bought the rug though; it is optional–there is no emotion forcing it to stay, however, the things on the walls? They have been gifts, inherited or in some other way, come into my life with a story.
Silence for a moment. I glance out at the bird feeder and see that the gray squirrel is cleaning it out again. The jays have momentarily moved on, simply given up. Nature can be such a case of tenacity! Who has the most?
The artist of the print? I have never been able to find anything on it, and in truth, to me it resembles prints done of silent movie stars… but I know so very little about art, and life is so short. Learning about art is not very high on my list.
If I did not have to work those 40+ hours outside of the home, I might be brilliant and know danged near everything, <laughing out loud now> but the reality is this; I don’t know who painted the original, and I have ceased to wonder about it. I simply appreciate it for the beauty that it brings to this retreat in the far end of the house.
There were years when I rarely glanced at it. years when I forgot about the simple peace that I felt when I looked at the picture. Years when I was so damned busy, that I nearly forgot who I was… and surely, not in any way, was I that Indian maiden…
The seasons turn and years turn, bringing new seasons of our life with them. I had spent countless years searching for who I am, and searching for understanding…and searching for peace… and one day, my eyes fell on that old picture. That same picture that had hung on the wall of my grandmother’s home for no less than 70 years before it moved to my new home, where it has hung for almost five years now.
I felt peace settle through me, like a drug spreading through my veins… and I was once again consumed with daydreams and memories…
I looked into her face, and I can see now, that she is searching too… and I believe that she is sad. That there is something that her eyes gaze toward, but never really see… and I used to think that she looked toward a person, that she was greeting someone, but now I believe that she does not look forward with her eyes, but instead, she looks back behind her with her mind– and is letting go of something, or of someone…
I never knew the place… I had never seen such a shore until I was in my late twenties, and another summer at the river, night after night sleeping on a boat finally showed me where the artist could have looked for his background.
It was on the far side of the Allegheny River, fifty miles upstream of Pittsburgh, where the riverbanks are still lonely, dark and silent. Overgrown with wild grapevines and studded with mammoth sized boulders along the shoreline… this was it…
The long straight stretch of river ran east west here, before making its next wide sweeping turn toward the south. And in the warmth of a July evening, I watched a big old yellow moon clear the low riverbank upstream where the Kiskiminetas river had carved away the inside bank at its mouth.
It was the summer after my father had passed away. His soul walked away from this world on May 4th. He hated hot weather, and I always kinda figured that he chose to move on before the worst of the heat had arrived.
So there I was, looking at the background of the Indian maiden painting… and searching my own soul for the meaning of life…and for the first time in my life…the meaning of death.
I sat on the edge of the dock, with a toe dangling in the warm water… the current slow, lazily drifting downstream. For a brief moment, my meandering mind settled upon this thought: I recalled the morning at the bus stop at the end of that old farm lane, Six of us waiting for the school bus, killing time.
We glanced at the pond above the road, and chatted about how Karen and Cheryl’s grandpap caught the snappers in that pond, and then there was a big "turtle soup’ day held at his house…
And then, for no particular reason, I started talking about that creek, that creek that sprung from a spring up in the pasture above the road, the spring that my grandmother’s only brother died beside, in a meadow beside a gas well…
And how that nameless creek that had carved out skunk hollow fed ruff run, which fed the Buffalo, which fed the Allegheny, which formed half of the Ohio at its headwaters, which fed the Mississippi…which flowed out into the Gulf of Mexico…
It was an epiphany for us! Suddenly we all identified with it, with the world…and we understood how simple it was to get to some place sooo big, from here—which was someplace soooo small! They all stared at me like I was a genius! Like I should be making maps, or teaching geography! But I was ten years old…and those things were far beyond my years, lol, and never the intention of my shpeel.
We all had a moment, brief though it was, that it just went on and on, unplanned, even if we let go…
And I never looked at that little creek the same way again! I could never look at its rippling and gurgling surface, and not see the tiny part of the greater thing that it was…
And I had many long thoughts over the years, as I watched it flow… about molecules of water… changing, moving and how MY water, right here, in this stream, will see foreign places that my eyes might never behold!
And here I was, years later, sitting on a dock, watching the water flow by me… and I held my hand up, in true Indian-maiden-painting fashion, and ever so gracefully extended my fingers at nothing in particular…
At my dad? At life? At death? Or hell…was it the Gulf Of Mexico?
Or maybe just the peace of that moment. Maybe a moment when I could feel what is inside of me, without the torment of what surrounds me… and I can give a wave at what is behind me… while my face wears the look of one who is searching.
So here I am today, in the company of bluejays and squirrels, high and dry with no shore in sight, save the shore behind my Indian maiden in the painting…
I feel the warm of the evening air, hear the gentle lapping of the waves, and see my own shoulders bathed in the pearly yellow moonlight. I am awash with, and I feel her, peace, her pain, her moment of letting go…
There is no understanding to be had… about life, about death, about where the endless current takes us…
And nothing is changed by letting go, save this; the peace that we gain when we learn to do so…
I walked down over that steep hill, to the field in the lower property. I had to check the peonies and the cabbage roses. I have a clematis in full bloom…one that my daughter gave me for mother’s day three years ago–"Margot Koster"…
I meander amongst gardens that have become so overgrown…that I wonder at the wisdom of trying to save them. A few I have gotten to this year, but the rest, it is likely too late to do serious work on them…I mean serious– as in digging up clumps of weedy overgrown perennials and dividing them, spraying what remains in the bed, adding new compost to the bed, then replanting the divided perennials…
Studies have been done, and it is proven that it is MORE work to have perennials that re-emerge every year…than it is to just work up your ground in the spring and then plant annuals–the one season flowers.
Ugh! Sometimes I am sooo tempted!
Today, my little corner of heaven is a world of cloudless climes..brilliant azure skies and rippling breezes that move the scents of pollinator’s seductions through the air…
As I walk, my mind wanders as it often does… and I think of the many things that I have enjoyed in the Junes of my life.
Of all the moments that have filled all of the days of my life…June moments are the ones that call out to me. They will not let me pass by, without a backward glance. The voice that beckons me is in the green of the leaves, the smell of the earth, the blue of the sky…and the very heart that beats under my breasts.
June moments…the wonder of life, the raucous joy of living! Singing in the sunshine…and in the rain!
I suppose that my recognition of early June days, started with my education at St. Mary’s school. The last day of school was always a day of turning in your books first thing in the morning…games in the classroom and then a picnic– which we were all expected to bring a lunch for.
The finest memory of St. Mary’s that I have…is of a last day of school…wandering out past the playground, through the cemetary, and then venturing into the center of a very large hayfield. I can still see the waves of grass blowing on the breeze, and the puffy clouds drifting across an incredible blue sky, and a whole herd of boys in black pants and striped shirts…voluntarily separated from a herd of girls wearing pale cotton dresses.
We sat in the shade of a mighty tree, that one lone tree that farmers often left in their fields. And there we ate, comparing what we had packed in our lunches..
When we finished eating, we gathered up arm fulls of drying hay that had been raked into rows, and we piled it as high as we could. Then we took turns jumping into the hay… pale cotton dresses and all.
And that whole day…as far as I was concerned, summer vacation had started already! This was freedom; the sunshine on my face and the wind in my hair…being wild, just as wild as an animal, set free. I must have been all of 8 years old…that last day of school…in early June…
Many early June moments have been caught up in my mind… and they vary from wandering fields, woods and streams…to when the horses came onto the farm. And then early June was always a celebration of sorts… riding in moonlight, unencumbered by the necessity of sleep…for a school night.
There is the brilliance of a June day, the softness of a June evening…and in the clarity of a June night, I learned to identify the Big Dipper (ursa major) and the little Dipper (ursa minor) and to see how the two end stars of the Big Dipper pointed to the north star (polaris). And I learned that a test for your eyesight is to look at the second-to-last star on the handle of the big dipper…and if you can still see that there are actually two stars there–you have nothing to complain about!
I have picked more bouquets of wildflowers in June… the yarrow, the deptford pinks and the daisies….and yes indeed, I have made more daisy chains than most, I reckon. I made them and I wore them…and fair princess was I, in my kingdom of boulder strewn streams, cow pastures, and fields of tall clover.
I have been stung by honey bees in June, as I raced, barefoot, across lawns abuzz with bees drinking the nectar of cinqefoil. I have walked along an old country lane, and breathed the promise of species–dog roses… and witnessed the promise of endless beauty…
I have fallen in love in June… and have been abandoned by love…in June.
I learned to water-ski in June, and learned to return the breathy, whistled call of the mourning dove…in June.
I recall one summer evening, when my two older children were just toddlers, and my youngest had not even been imagined. My brother had to go to a neighboring farm a couple of miles away to pick up a gravity bin. I sat on the fender of the tractor with my daughter snuggled against me, while my son sat on my brother’s knee and ‘helped’ him drive the tractor.
Dusk fell ever silently and softly across meadow and field as we drove out along Hull road. The road was named for the Hull family homestead… and the sole remaining member was an old bachelor who lived alone. Failing in health, and pitied by most, he counted the days until he joined his kin. His last remaining brother perished on the Edmund Fitzgerald…
We next crested the top of the hill, a high point for sunrises and sunsets…and picked up speed as we moved down the hill…
Finally we turned back an old farm lane… lined with weeds that leaned over, heavy from ripe seedheads, and past old gnarled apple trees that looked like the silhouette of old,stooped-over forest spirits. The fireflied emerged…and I felt it, so clearly.
It is a moment that stands, leaning forward and looking backward…with the weight of expectation balanced by the weight of a day well lived. A moment of hope… Not really the day, but not yet the night.
An old woman emerged from the house as we pulled in and my brother backed toward the barn. He stopped to talk to the farmer, and the woman invited my children and me in the house.
It was ancient, with creaking floors and single pane windows…and the comfort of ages spilling from within. I looked out the windows at the views and thought that these old farmers who built these houses…might not have been carpenters, but they sure as heck had an eye for a view.
The woman doted on my kids, hugging and pinching…and the only sadness that I noted in her, was a wistful second, in her eyes, when I asked her about children and grandchildren.
The farmer outside was her only child, and he had never married and never had any children. It was the first visit that I ever had from the ghost of the life yet to be lived.
We drove home, in near darkness, with the steady rumble of the tractor motor drowning most night sounds. My daughter dozed off against me, and my son slumped back against my brother, as sleep engulfed him…
The smell of ripe grasses was present… and the coolness of the valleys sent chills over me…
It was a memory of many combined June moments…and may actually be a memory of my two older children. They might not know the day, the year, the hour, but more, perhaps they sense on a June evening, when they smell the soft scent of ripe grasses…a feeling of all is right in the world. They are loved, and in the big scheme of things…the world is a good place.
The sound of the wind rushing though tall red maples draws me outward into the beauty of the world…today… this moment…
The angle of the sun has changed, and shadows hang low and stretch long across feeder valleys… it is time to head home…
As I wind my way back up the steep hill, and enter under the canopy of tall trees, I look skyward first. I watch the wind rustle the leaves of the softwoods, their flattened petioles making them seem to almost shimmer in the brilliant sunlight. They are as, to me, diamonds dancing, stars shimmering and the sparkle in a curious child’s eyes!
My feet slowly shuffle as I defy gravity on the return trip. The tender spring flowers have given way to the increased heat and sunlight of June…and have been replaced by true competitors. They have tough-as-leather leaves and stems… the daisies are the most abundant right now and they flank both sides of the road…until the intensifying shade precludes them from existence.
Such beauty, such sweet tender memories…such an easy heart lives in this moment…and life is all about moments…
These woods are full of fleeting spirits and dancing memories, wafting on the wind with the wild scents of early summer…
I know, that the existence of all that is good, and is full of hope, wonder and beauty, is not in peril in moments like these…
If you have any art that you have created with your keyboard, this is the place post it! 🙂
Murdoc was first, neat huh?
Hey Willow!!! This for you.
5 days ago