Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Coffee Chat - Marching Out
Hello dears...Do come in. I have cookies and fresh coffee. Sit down and let's chat awhile...
Spring seems to be slow this year. I don't mind. Two years ago we had about two minutes of spring and 19 months of hot dry weather in 9 months time. I get quite a thrill these days when I drive over the creek up the road or cross the river bridges and see the water has risen to flood levels, staying within the banks which are quite steep. It's a good sign in our parts and most welcome to see.
I had to run into town the other afternoon and as always I combined as many errands as I could. Coming home there were no errands so I took a little street into an old neighborhood. There's a group of some rather old homes in that little spot and I love to look at them, one in particular that has a very 'creative' type living there. It's a small house, looks like it might have a bedroom, living room, eat in kitchen and a bath (designated by the 'bump out' on the back, a sign there was no such luxury once upon a time). She has decorated the porch on the front of the house in such a cozy way with tables and chairs and rockers. There are wagon wheels and a metal star hanging on the porch walls, and flowers in season. There's a deck around back that runs the length of the house and it's decorated in a cozy way, too. That little house has personality and I love to just go by and gaze at it.
After I do a slow drive by with my neck craning here and there to see if she's added a thing new anywhere, I head on around the corner, across the railroad tracks and drive around the back roads home. This time of year the moss is blooming and is so pretty and golden green in the sunlight. Now and then when it's raining this time of year you come upon a ditch bank with a big patch of moss and it's almost luminous. Just takes my breath away to see it. So I drove along looking for moss and noticed a big patch of dew berries blooming over at one side of the road. And then I saw these little bell shaped flowers hanging from the wild blue berries...I chuckled to myself at that particular patch of road.
A few years ago I came up to visit Granny on my own and she'd fallen out of a tree she'd been pruning so wasn't feeling spry, but it was blueberry season and so we went out along the old dirt roads where blueberries grow thick along the sides of the road. That woman had me climbing steep banks to pick berries and I mean those banks were two stories high in some places. One of her acquaintances stopped to speak to her and he chuckled long and loud as I slipped down one particularly tall and precarious bank, half on my back side and half on my back. Granny had no sympathy whatsoever..."You left just loads!" she exploded, "and the deer will just eat them up! And don't you drop that bucket...", which made the man cackle outright and I climbed right back up and picked all I could see while he drove off, waving and laughing.
For the most part Granny wasn't a hard task mistress. You worked mornings and played all afternoon and evenings, too...except in blueberry picking season. Then you just prepared yourself to pick just any old where at any old time and you didn't quit as long as she could see a blueberry bush anywhere near. Mealtimes came and went, sometimes dark came before she'd let us quit. We'd be eaten up by mosquitoes and red bugs, scratched from head to toe, begging Granny to let us quit, telling her how hungry we were and she'd just stubbornly keep on picking, commanding us to stop eating berries the old hard hearted thing and we knew we'd best do as she said. Now the reward was coming. The next day we'd have a lovely deep dish blueberry pie. There were blueberries to put in the freezer which got shared with Mama and Aunt Mary so we kids had a steady supply of blueberry pies and muffins. We didn't sleep for a month due to the itching, but we had blueberries for the year! She didn't drive half so hard when it came to picking blackberries but those wild blueberries were a chore.
That bit of a chuckle made it a little easier to go by Granny's house this afternoon, which I pass on my way in the back road. It looks so lifeless and forlorn and makes me sad, yet there is something of her still there. I half expect to see her on the porch, or to hear her whistling as she works in the yard. Just before you pass Granny's there is a wet area. When I was a girl the wet area used to cover the road this time of year. Water would come into the floorboard of any car foolish enough to try to come down that road. The wet area fed a creek that ran across the fields and through Granny's pastures. The creek is burbling along this year, a fact that delights my brother no end, as he built his house right next to the old creek. The wet land is well awash in water as well.
The county fixed the road Katie's junior year in high school and put in a big pipe under one portion of the road, built up the road, dug deep ditches either side, so the road was high and dry. I personally miss the wet land that covered the road in winter and spring. It cut down greatly on traffic until the advent of 4-wheelers...and I suspect that's why it's now a dry road. No more trucks and ATVs mud bogging in the middle of the road!
It was particularly hard that afternoon to pass Granny's home. I'd had a text earlier in the afternoon that just broke my heart and to go sit on the front porch and have her quiet steady peace descend around me would have been the best medicine in the world. However, there's another medicine she taught me and it works still: work. I came home and got the rake from the shed and cleaned up all the little branches that blew out of the trees these winter months, and then I trimmed the roses, much too late but it's that new Dawn rose which apparently has decided to multiply and there were canes ten feet or more long. I've trimmed that hardy bush back late before and it blooms right on. I'm counting on the late spring to help me out on this one. We're due TWO frosts this week. As a rule the New Dawn blooms each year around Mother's Day, so plenty of time yet for it to adjust itself.
I found a lone daffodil in the front yard under the Faith Tree, the last of mine to bloom. I was reminded of our trip to see the kids in Athens. We travel old state highways that wander through woods and over wetlands and then through lovely old dairy farms. It was especially lovely this weekend with lots of Red Buds blooming along the sides of the road and emerald green grass everywhere. We came around a bend in the road and there was a tall bank with a beautiful old white farmhouse atop and a shrub border of white spirea...but spilling down the bank were hundreds of daffodils that were just breathtaking. John was telling Mama about it at dinner this week. "It looked like someone had just turned over a bucket and they just tumbled down..." he said. Indeed it did and they really were stunning.
I was reminded yet again that some flowers just make me happy. Daffodils are one of them. I must have more. I meant to buy more this past fall but they were out of them when I got to Lowe's and I saw none anywhere else. But next year...I'll have more, I promise myself I will!
John and I have a flaw...we get lost. We've been going to Athens for two years or more now and we get lost every.single.time. Well, not the very first time, which we should have stuck with, I guess, because after that the kids decided there was a short cut we should take. "It will save lots of time, cut a whole half hour off the trip," they assured us. No. No it doesn't. You see that county has a quirky thing about naming multiple roads the very same name. And just to keep you totally confused, often a single road might have as many as five or six names depending on how far along you've driven within a two mile range. Oh but it gets better. Many of the roadsigns at side roads don't have the name of the road you're on to help you feel secure, it just shows the name of the side street so you might go miles and miles before you discover the name of the road you're on.
We were determined this weekend we would not get lost. We carefully avoided a previous error and then we discovered we'd driven a neat little circle and ended up right where we'd just come from. John kept his temper but I began to feel anxious. He went right back to where we'd come from and took the opposite road. I was lulled into letting go of the anxiety until suddenly there was a sign that pointed in the opposite direction which named the road we were supposed to be on...and the road we were on changed names and became something else. I panicked and texted Samuel. "Go back, go back, go back..." he texted urgently and John decided to get stubborn and dig in his heels and said "No!" We came to a stop sign he turned left. I texted Samuel again, or at least tried to but he was texting so quickly that I couldn't, literally, get my words in edgewise. In the meantime, John is driving calmly on and we come to another stop sign and lo and behold we were on the road we were meant to be on, once more.
So we guessed and turned right. I started to see familiar road names. Then we crossed over a road with the same name as the road we were on. So confusing! Our road ended and John drove by instinct at that point and took another turn and suddenly I knew just where we were, but we'd lost a good half hour being lost. We arrived at Samuel's apartment without a bit of cross words between us save my whining I felt sick due to anxiety and John telling me to get over it. Perfectly right, dears. The time for panic is not during the crisis.
Just for the record: we have this 'shortcut' all figured out now. It's much less complicated. We simply turn right at the churches....she said confidently while the scene darkens...
I had Monday at home this week, just me all by myself. I do enjoy my time at home alone. As a rule it's a productive day for me, in which I work steadily, eat when the mood strikes or the jobs allow and then go right back to work. I had the hardest time getting my get up and go started Monday morning! I mean it. I was up at 5am but didn't even start housework until 11am. Now honestly...a six hour start? Too much even for me, but once I got going I was productive for a good six hours. Then I was done pretty much here at home and meant to go into town to pick up some fresh chicken to cook on the grill Tuesday. I bagged up trash, gathered mail that needed to go out, got my bank deposits all ready and drove into town. It was only 3pm but the bank was closed up tight. I didn't know they closed at 2pm.
I went into the dollar store to pick up an item John wanted to send to Katie. I looked about a little, but in the end walked out with just that one item for the first time in, well, forever, because I don't think I've ever done that at the dollar store before! To the post office to send off the mail, including that item, then over to the grocery where I went in and bought chicken and nothing but chicken. It felt downright strange not to have at least one unplanned purchase in my bag but I stuck hard to my mental list of needs for once. Couldn't help but contemplate how much money might be saved being single minded like that.
I do enjoy my days alone. Along about 6pm however, I am quite ready for John to come home. It doesn't happen of course, but I do start to miss him. Fortunately it was Monday night. That's the night Swamp People comes on. I really enjoy watching those guys hunting alligators...but it's more than the thrill of alligator hunting. I recognize a lot of the ways of thinking and living. I saw my grandparents living much the same way, and to some extent even my parents. It was a combination of hard work and scratching a living together that I recognize and appreciate. The loneliness didn't creep back in until bedtime.
I didn't do anything special yesterday. I did recognize several areas indoors where work is needed, in areas I've not cleaned deeply in about six months. No matter how careful we are, those spaces just need a good clearing out. My closet is such a space. It looked pretty good until about two weeks ago and all of a sudden it doesn't. The drawers in the kitchen, the lower pantry cabinet and the storage for appliances, pots and pans are all looking poorly. I have all those spaces on my list of work areas for the coming week
I'll be alone again Friday. As always on these weeks when I have two days I am torn...Play? Work? No use saying a combination of both because I am an all or nothing sort on what I consider a free day. I can combine both very well on any ordinary day but alone days are 'free' in that I can be whole hearted in my pursuits and I am. Then there is the whole what I do if I work? All depends of course on whether I get all the tasks I've listed above done. Any or all of those would be rewarding for the effort exerted. If I choose fun, what would be fun? Library? Antique shop? Exploring? Staying home and devoting the day to reading? Genealogy? I am faced with choices, lovely choices all of them, be they fun or work.
This morning I got up early only because I like to be up when John comes in from work. I like a hot breakfast to be nearly on the table when he walks in the door. I also like the chance to get a full cup of coffee in my system before having to be sociable. It was cool when John came in but after he got home the wind started roaring about the house. I'm savoring it this time around. We might hear a bit of roaring wind come April but then it will settle into just ordinary breezes through the later parts of Spring and through summer. These northerly winds that blow speak of cold weather and frosts and bare trees and landscapes blown clear of leaves...and flower pots and trashcans and anything else that isn't anchored down. It's the last of the winter conversations, a farewell sort of song.
When I was a girl I loved Spring. The soft gentle rains, the sometimes chilly days that were damply fresh in a way that smacked of brand new somehow and broke my heart with longing for something unknown. As a young mother it was autumn that caught my heart. Summers were hectic paced and busy but autumn slowed life down a bit, rang in all the lovely family holidays, invited being cozy indoors come nightfall and snuggling under quilts, not to mention being so beautiful and brilliantly colorful. It's only in the last few years that I've really embraced summer and winter. I love summer's hot sun, the way the leaves rustling in the breeze sound like rushing water, the smell of freshly mown grass (at least for the few moments before my head aches and I start to sneeze), the blessing of icy drinks in sweating glasses, fireflies, flowers and all the wonderful fruits and produce of summer. And winter...I've learned to appreciate cold and wind, oatmeal on a frosty morning, the way the cold and wind produce static electricity so that your hair comes alive and the hard nip of a really cold day, snuggling under quilts at night, backing up to the heater to warm hands. I think I'm a more rounded person appreciating something about each season than I ever was when I lived for just one favorite season.
Oh gracious! We've spent an afternoon chatting away. I should get up and try to do a few tasks more. Stop in again. I so love company!