Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Iced Tea Chat: Peaches and Tea
Oh Hello! Come on in and let's have a nice little chat. Peaches are in the fruit bowl. They are the lovely free stone variety I prefer and so juicy and sweet. I shall enjoy peaches daily for the next four weeks or so while they are in season.
So...I didn't mean to disappear. I truly have been so busy about the house, reading, getting out, reading, praying, cleaning, reading...Get the drift? I've done it all except writing and I have struggled with that. It happens at times that the flow just quits and so I am priming the pump by being creative, reading and thrifting and seeking inspiration all over the place. So far, not a peep. But it will come eventually and then you all shall find a spate of posts coming.
I'm all alone and while I'm not blue by any means, I wanted someone to talk to, so I've conjured up a tea party just to have a bit of company. That's all right with you, isn't it?
I tried to have a tea party last week but the whole thing felt such a sham and wouldn't come around right no matter how I tried, so I tossed it and started over. One thing about typing away on the computer screen is that there is NO satisfaction at all in wiping a screen clean. It's so much nicer when you can rip a sheet from a typewriter or notebook with a satisfactory outraged zzzziiipppp and then crumple the paper noisily and toss it into a trash can across the room. It's a lot like not being able to slam a phone down on someone who has annoyed tar out of you. No satisfaction at all in quietly pressing a button marked 'End Call'. Anti-climatic.
But there is satisfaction aplenty in a fresh blank page waiting to be filled with whatever pops...if only it pops! I've been rather flat lately, haven't I? No pop at all.
I said I'd been reading. I posted a review of the book I finished Monday morning by Sarah McCoy. It was a very good read and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I sat in my chair at the end and contemplated the story overall and felt a warm happy glow. Very satisfactory story. I sat here and contemplated the book a bit and looked over at the bookcase across the room and decided it was looking unkempt because books are stacked in front of books and atop other books and such.
Well I got up to clear the strays and stack them all neatly together and found the Jan Karon book I purchased before Christmas as my book present to myself, Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good. I'm about halfway through with it. I can't say it's one of her best. It's a little disjointed at times and I find myself scrambling back over a page or two to see if I missed something that would explain where I got lost, but no, usually it's not my inattention it's just the way it's written. I'll let you know for sure at the end of it if I like it or not.
I truly have been busy these past three weeks. I went out shopping and to lunch with a friend I caught up with just before I got ill. We'd been trying for three full months to arrange a day to visit together. It was nice to find we both had that particular Sunday free and so we went off and spent the whole day out. I walked and walked and enjoyed every second of it. Which proves yet again that I am a happy woman if I can walk with purpose somewhere but to do it for no good reason except to call it exercise... well it's not for me.
Once upon a time I walked this land, the whole of the farm, front to back and back again and never once thought it exercise. I did it to see the place, to see what natural elements had changed with the season, because it was my playground as a child and familiar, because Granny wanted to check fence lines and have company, too. Now my brother owns the bulk of the place. He's the sort that feels someone is up to something if they walk through his lots, so I stay home. I have driveways of my own but there's little of interest along the way. There's the dirt road that runs from one road to another but gracious people fly down that narrow dirt road as though they were fleeing an army of invaders. I'm sure I'd come to an end choking on dust kicked up by the car or worse, hit and tossed in the ditch.
So I did indeed appreciate the pleasure of walking about looking at things I didn't want, need and in many cases, couldn't afford. It was good therapy, lol.
We talked girl things... you know about the children and catching up on acquaintances we both know and decorating rooms and household concerns and all the things that flood a woman's mind that no man yet has actually listened to. I needed some girl time. John is a good conversationalist, and we have very interesting discussion but he tends to start to look cross eyed at me if I start telling him about nail polish colors and the difficulty I had choosing one, or talking about decorating a room (he just sees dollar signs, even though most of my redos seldom cost him very much at all). I so appreciated a girl to talk to. It was good therapy there, too.
I went in for lab work as per usual and the elderly woman who works part time at the reception desk was at work that day. She's very nice. For some reason this time she chose to take a few minutes to talk to me, perhaps because the lobby was otherwise empty. When she discovered what area I was from she asked if I'd known Nancy. Nancy is the young woman who died about a month ago, the one who was Katie's best school friend's mom...I nodded and she shared with me how much she had enjoyed knowing her and how sad she was that she'd died so young.
Truth is I knew Nancy fairly well. Her younger years were quite unhappy and she suffered with depression all throughout her adult years. Having been depressed for years on end myself I understood her need to withdraw and go into her hiding places. It made for an uneasy acquaintanceship though. I understood and yet, here I was free of that particular demon. I won't say she resented it, but I think perhaps she felt I didn't understand because she never knew me depressed. I don't know if she got a grip on it at last or not. She was far more active in the community than she'd been and was getting recognition for her photography skills. It made me unhappy to think that she'd struggled so through life and died so young. And what could I say to this woman who knew her as an acquaintance only? I could only agree how sad it was and appreciate that she'd known the fine qualities Nancy had.
John and I made a trek over to the mountain this past week. We deviated from our usual way in to avoid the rather dicey crossing of a major highway. Instead we drove clean into Warm Springs and turned off that road into the park which worked so much better. It was quite a new thing not to screech at John, "Stop! There's a car coming!" because the crossing is truly a blind spot for going over that roadway.
We had the spot to ourselves for a bit and John spoke his prayer. I sat there on the stone wall, sun in my face, weeping. I got about half my prayer said and then a spate of visitors arrived. I was frustrated. I hadn't even gotten deep into my prayer, not to the heart of what I wanted to say, but patience was necessary. I wouldn't have wanted to be huffy and marched off because the last time we were there we'd had the loveliest longest conversation with complete strangers that touched on heart matters and you never know really if that isn't part of God's plan.
This group was three loads of teens with four adult escorts from Tampa, Florida. We aren't sure if they were a church group, but they were from 'flatlands' and they'd not seen mountains before. It was fun to watch them, and more fun to know that they weren't my responsibility, lol. But I've noted that John and I both tend to perk up and pay attention when youth are about. We like seeing how others interact with teens. We like remembering that at one time we were a family with five children. We miss those days, but only a little. We like these empty nest days, too, where we finally have time for one another.
We needed that hour on the mountain. For some reason, when we are there we are able to lay our burdens down and be at rest. I suppose as long as we live there will be burdens that we carry, for ourselves, for our children, for others, for the world at times. Things just seem to be difficult all around this year. I hold hard to God and wait. I'm not always sure just what I'm waiting for, but I wait and eventually He will reveal His way.
So we had our moment there, a time to reflect following our heart cries, a time to appreciate where we are now in our lives. A time to be grateful that I could sit there and share that spot, that lovely spot, one more time with my husband, my dear heart, my spiritual mate.
Well...that is enough of that.
Our weather here has been very hot and dry. It's rained in Reynolds just three miles away. Just Thursday I stepped through puddles and mud at the peach shed. Nary a drop had fallen here. Our grass is crispy and brown, the poor potted plants look horribly pitiful. It breaks my heart that where there were flowers there are black stems. I know the rain we had Sunday will be beneficial. And I hope it breaks the cycle of dry spell we've been in.
More this year than in many years past I've noted beds of zinnias. They are a hearty lovely flower, which do well as cutting flowers. In years past I have had a big bed of zinnias and cosmos mixed and flowers graced my flower bed and my tables indoors. I'd planned this year to plant Zinnias...but I had none of the seeds and so I planted cosmos instead, which did nothing at all.
Granny never planted Zinnias to my knowledge. Her flowers were all perennials except for petunias and those eventually reverted to the original form and popped up where they chose. One summer her whole yard was knee deep in pale pink and lavendar blooms. It was so lovely and oh the aroma of them on a summer evening! Petunias are a wonder for sending forth their scent.
I remember when I was living in the only house I've deeply loved, that old railroad foreman's cottage. My ex-husband had a friend whose wife wanted shrubs and we had a lot of overgrown nandina and shrubs about the house that just masked it horribly. I agreed to digging all the shrubbery up. The result was that the house shone forth. It wasn't an attractive home but it was solid and pleasant...The removal of the shrubbery revealed the patched portions on the ship lap siding where the original porch had once been attached. I loved seeing the house revealing it's history to us simply by removing shrubbery. But the best was yet to come. The next spring, the bare ground where the shrubs were filled with the old fashioned petunias. Hummingbirds loved them. Summer evenings I sat on the porch surrounded by the hum of their wings and sniffing the perfume of the petunias.
I still miss that house, for all the work it needed...I told John the other day it was the one home I've loved above all others, despite it's homeliness. Despite the fact that he and I never once dreamed of each other in those days long ago when I lived there. I don't know just why I loved it so, because there I suffered, going through two nervous breakdowns, making foolish choices, watching my marriage dwindle to an end. It was a place of endings not beginnings. But I don't blame the house, only those who lived within it. The house was something on it's own, aside from us.
Perhaps it had seen enough living to understand that it was something separate from the people who lived there so temporarily. It was solid. Steady. Making up in steadfastness for what it lacked in looks. A plumber told us that we had chestnut beams and they were so solid no drill would ever go through them. It always made me wonder if the house weren't older than supposed and maybe that was the secret. The wisdom of far more years than any one living there had had seemed to be part of it's very walls.
Our current house itself is comfortable and it's just the right size for two and the occasional guests, but it feels a bit snug for a family of five or six, as we've learned. But all in all, it's a pleasant home, with windows enough to give plenty of natural light and lovely views outside those windows, and nice porches and really all I could ask. I've been far happier here than at any other place I've lived. So why don't I feel the same deep abiding love for this house as my long ago former home? It's the lack of history I suppose. This house is not even as old as Katie.
That is not to say I don't love where I live now. I so appreciate that we have all this land about us and it does grieve me that I have neither money nor equipment to clear it properly and fence it as it ought to be and maintain it all. It's all we can manage to tend to the three clear acres we've kept mown. But the land does have history. There's the graveyard just over the fence to show it. There's the memory of the pre-revolutionary house that stood on the road just a little ways from here. And the old old home that we lived in above Granny's that likely dated from the mid-1800s. The land has the history where our house has none.
I sound very sober overall don't I? I'm not sure why.
But I confess, that solemnity isn't far away at present. I was mighty anxious this morning and felt befuddled all day yesterday. A minor thing that I'd wondered over became a consuming thought last night that I puzzled over again and again. Now I'm not a fool. I know perfectly well that the minor thing wasn't truly my big concern at all, but it took the place of the big thing that I'd pushed far away from me. So this smaller worry took it's place and grew all out of proportion to itself. I didn't sleep long enouh at all last night and was up far far too early this morning. I got the small matter worked out on paper and saw it was truly just as a minor a thing as I thought it was originally...and then my mind took over again and I began to feel frustrated and anxious and angry over little things, things I have been waiting patiently for help in doing for quite a long time. Which increased my frustration, which increased my upset and it turned into a viscious cycle.
I finally wrote it all out in my journal and went to the porch to feed the pets. As I sat there I felt something in my pocket and there was my medication I was meant to have taken at supper last night...Right back to that befuddled feeling state of mind...Sigh.
So I did little things: I colored my hair, because I might not have materials to rebuild the front steps but I did have hair color to wash away my gray. I stripped the bed and hung the sheets to dry after washing. I think freshly washed linens are good sleep therapy. I mightn't have the wherewithal to do a lot of tasks but I've got elbow grease which costs nothing more than labor, and a few materials which mightn't be just what I want but it's at least something I could work with in the here and now rather than wait for a distant point in the future. I mightn't have fresh plantings to set out but I could pull a half a bed's worth of weeds. I find too often that when I'm feeling as I did this morning it's usually because I've stopped looking at possibilities and focused instead on the impossibilities.
I went out to run errands.
I stopped at the local bank and smiled as car after car got patiently in line for the drive thru window. The bank got progressive a couple of years ago and put in a second lane with a vacuum tube. But most patrons still wait patiently for the window. We just plain like interacting with a real person we can see!
I took a long cut home (that's the opposite of taking a short cut!) this morning, after I'd been to the bank and drove north a little ways, still within my county, taking different roadways homewards. It was such a beautiful day that sometimes the long views across hills and valleys and fields and such took my breath away. I kept breathing out "Oh! God...." when I'd come across a view unexpectedly. There is nothing lke real beauty to help calm the anxieties, especially when the views are tranquil blue and green fields and woods patchworked across the hillsides.
There's been a fairly steady breeze blowing all morning long, which dried the sheets I hung on the line in no time at all. The clouds were huge puffy things, the sky so blue it seemed painted, and there's been just enough rain to bring out the green in most of the fields. It was truly just a beautiful morning to be out riding along county roads. I found myself singing as I drove along. And inspiration began to bloom. I began to see all the possibilities before me of things I might do right now, without waiting, to improve the areas that are bothering me. I even came up with a few inspired fixes for things I hadn't bothered to think about at all. I found myself hurrying home, eager to write out my lists and plan out my tasks.
That was what I needed, just a bit of time to get out of the house, away from myself really, and clear my head. When I sat down to write out my list, I addressed each room of the house. I was pleased to note that for a few rooms I wrote down that everything was fine as it was. Which alleviated some of my feeling that every thing was all wrong in too many areas. The only thing all wrong was my disproportional thinking!
And so ends this iced tea chat. I think I'm going to go drag a few things from the freezer to thaw for meals in the next day or two. Then I'm going to take my broom and dust cloth and tackle one of those areas on my list that needs some attention. A good cleaning is always a good place to start, agreed? No need to let this day flitter away from me without some sense of accomplishment. That's another way to push frustrations and irritations away.
I've a couple of ideas for posts. Not sure when you'll see them up but by all means, keep a lookout!
Talk to you later!