Come on in dears. If you'd been here in the past two days I'd have urged you to shut the door quick behind you. Monday I was sitting here earlier listening to the seed pods being blown off the tree around back. The pods would hit the roof and then roll down the ridges on the front side to the ground. It amused me that the house was quiet enough to hear such small thing rolling about on the roof. It isn't often that quiet here when John is home. It was, honestly, nice.
I walked down to the mailbox earlier and the dogs were glad to see me. I've been trying to do this more often of late. I did it on Saturday but then John came down in the car to fetch me. He was certain I'd find it a hard slog to come back uphill. I humored him and got in for a ride back but Monday afternoon I slipped out while he was napping and walked down and back. As I said the girls were awfully glad to have me walking with them. Blossom kept running up to me as though to say how happy she was, but a bit later, when she'd already rushed down hill, I saw her peeking around a bush to see if I were really meaning to walk down hill. I assured her I was on my way
As I walked down hill, I lifted my nose into the air and sniffed hard at the freshness. I found a beautiful bit of lichen on the ground that looked as though it had bloomed. I scooped it up, accepting the treasure tossed at my feet by the wild cold wind.
I turned the corner onto the main drive. Before me the driveway opened up to the view across the road, and up the rows of the peach orchard. To my right I could look up the dirt road towards my niece's home and see the sun coloring the clouds that had blown up in the wind. I looked at the old oak tree across the road from my driveway spreading its branches wide. I suddenly felt a surge of pure joy run through me.
Honestly, if you knew all that occurred in the past week you might wonder that I'd feel anything resembling joy, but I did. I felt my heart lift high and my eyes feasted on the lovely evening skies and the happy dogs.
Blessed. I thought of how happy I am to be here on this land. I thought of the pleasure it had been to visit with our friends and watch football last night. I recalled the joy of hearing from all my grandchildren who are able to speak and the pure joy of hearing my littlest grandson garble out Gwanmaw. I thought of all the people who joined me in prayer last week and then held me close in sympathy. I thought of my hostess the evening before, a friend and sister in Christ and how Joy shone on her face as she shared happy news with me. I smiled thinking of her as I have all day long and again I felt that surge of deep satisfied happiness of knowing I am loved and blessed in my life.
Given the circumstances or the randomness of sudden Joy, I'll choose Joy.
I've read quite a bit this year, aside from the book I reviewed last week, A Fifty Year Silence. I read The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker. Wow. It was really good and well worth reading. And an Elizabeth Ogilvie book, The Theme for Reason. Both of these books were a bit dark and dealing with sad subjects but ended happily. Earlier I'd read a book by Emelie Richards, an author I like quite well but whose work has proven elusive at library and bookstore alike. I have enjoyed this extra time I've taken to read and I don't know if I'll keep it up at the same pace all year round but it has certainly passed many a pleasant hour of winter. I plan to go by the library tomorrow while I'm out of the house and going through town.
Our local library is housed in the old train depot complete with slate roof and a quaint weighing mechanism on the floor of the building. I think they eventually built book cases around the original scale because children kept playing with it and made the floor uneven. I went in once with my son who did that and he was no child but a rather curious grown man at the time. The librarian was an older woman who was mighty put out as she'd just gotten the floor leveled up once more after a child had played with the scale that morning, lol.
I like our local library building but am less keen on the spanking new, could pick it up at any bookstore selection of authors. The library in the next county/town has rare old books on the shelves and a selection on every subject imaginable as befits a college town. It's in a brand new building or at least it was new some 15 years ago so there are books but it lacks atmosphere. It cost that county $1,000,000 and when it was all done, they refused to pay for landscaping about the place!
I came to that library one morning and found all the librarians and staff at work planting the grounds. They had raided their own yards (or provided from their own purses) and brought seeds or plants and mulches and they made the grounds beautiful. I often think of that morning when I go in to visit that library because it was a real labor of love and sacrifice on their parts to landscape that building's grounds. I also think what a shame the county was too tightfisted to do it! Shame it wasn't city owned because the city has a horticulturist that plans and plants public areas each season of the year and keeps the town lovely. They would have done a beautiful job and made the library a show place, but I confess, I truly like the planting done by the library staff. It's a sort of homey garden and comfortable and seeds self sow and return or they plant a new crop of some new flower so there ends being a mix of flowers that you don't find in most public places.
It has been so cold this week...I must keep saying "Peaches"...and so I put Blossom in her little coat. She wore it all day long and lost it about dark last night. Who knows where? Maddie will eventually bring it home to me. She apparently is the designated coat keeper...and I suspect she is also the designated coat snatcher in the first place. How cold is it? Cold enough that Blossom happily wore that pink coat all day long yesterday and really needed it last night but apparently kitty snuggles are just as good as a pink coat, just so you know. And she does use her head and soak in pools of sunshine in sheltered spots in the yard.
My niece stopped by last week with a sewing project. It wasn't a pretty project but it was a nice one to work on. I'll tell you about that first and then share some of the conversation we had after. Her husband has a rather worn blanket from his childhood that has a satin edging. The edging was coming unstitched and trailed all over the floor. That was the repair she used as an excuse to bring the blanket to me. The rest of the project was her own idea and a clever one. Jason's dad died some time ago and Jason had kept a box of old shirts that belonged to him. They were well worn and showed the work he did in them. Ashley laid them out on the blanket and asked me to stitch them on. She'd found a new shirt that had never been worn to lay on top of the others as a feature shirt.
Well I knew it wasn't going to be the easiest sewing, nor the hardest, I've ever done. I'm between projects myself at this time, not having gone off to purchase items needed nor having weather cooperate with me for the projects I do have stuff to work with, so I happily accepted. It took a bit of work but it went smoothly enough and I was able to put in several hours on it over the weekend and finish it off by Sunday afternoon. It was an early Valentine's gift from her to Jason and she texted me later in the evening that he was very pleased with it. I'm so glad because there were hundreds of stitches added to that blanket and if he hadn't liked it, it was going to be a big deal to pick it all out, lol.
After we'd discussed the project a bit, we sat down and talked together and I found myself whining a bit over an old complaint...and that's when I looked at Ashley and told her I really didn't want to hear myself whine any more on the subject. What I wanted was to leave all this excess baggage by the roadway and just journey on without it. And I so mean it! Old hurts remembered, even if forgiven long ago are just so much extra weight in a life and who needs to drag that mess along?
I couldn't help but think just now of how many of the old western movies show wagon trains that travel across desserts or steep mountain terrains and all these things the settlers brought along with them become just so much extra unneeded weight. So they dumped it along side the trail and went on without it.
Well that's how I want to be. I want to let go of the old hurts and the memories of them and just move on without continuing to haul that unnecessary weight along with me. It's more than forgiving; it is forgetting and letting it be nothing once more. Easily said, and harder to do, but I truly believe this is the next step for me, a necessary one if I'm to ever move forward as I long to do.
So of course, I found myself yesterday whining about something along the same subject line to John yesterday. In honesty, I was over tired, having awakened at 2:30am and never gone back to sleep and the day had been spent with a negative Nelly who wears my resistance down and had done her job quite well. But I brought myself up and said to him as I'd said to Ashley. "Let's forget it and talk of something else. I am ready to leave this sort of stuff behind me." I'm sure I'll have more than twenty or thirty reminders to myself before this even begins to sink in, but I have found it is like any other habit. Repeat it often enough and one day it is a new and far better habit.
Ashley and I had a good long talk, about marriage and about parents and about parenting. On the subject of marriage she amused and pleased me the most when she said "I want a marriage like yours and Uncle John's. Y'all are just so cute!" lol Well we are and we aren't. Here we are in our middling towards later years and a young one hopes to emulate our marriage which is awfully nice. It's not all roses but it sure as heck isn't made up of all thorns either and while we have our moments of being at odds mostly we are of one heart and one spirit and we manage rather well. I like him and he likes me and that is the most helpful thing of all. Love is nice and lust don't hurt, but liking is the key I think to making it all work.
I was pleased to hear that as a parent she thinks being able to say to her children, "I was wrong and I am sorry," is the most important thing of all. I happen to agree. I can't say for her Mama, but I know for sure her dad is not one to apologize to any child, and I can say assuredly that not many parents do not feel it is necessary at all. I happen to be of the same line of thought as my niece and so my children heard often enough that I was sorry for being hasty in a word or action. Gracious we can get awfully wound up and frustrated at times and yes, we will surely snap at our child or in the heat of a moment accuse them wrongly, but the greatest gift we can give a little one is showing them how to apologize when wrong. I think the second most important lesson is teaching them how to accept an apology! Now it seems to come naturally to most children to be forgiving but some adults do hold on to unforgiving and worry it like an old bone often enough. And they can be horrible about letting you know just when and how often you trespassed and no apology is ever enough. I've experienced that and I can tell you that eventually you realize that it isn't that the apology wasn't nice enough or sincere enough it's a lot more enjoyable to that person to recall how they were a victim of thoughtlessness or hasty words. I've heard from a senior woman about a minor episode in her life when she was in her early twenties. Honestly, it is not that big a deal but over the past 50 odd years I've heard the story often enough and each time you'd think that it was as fresh and new as the day it's being spoken of. Which kind of neatly pulls us back to where we started in letting go of old weight and moving on, doesn't it?
Will you be doing anything special for Valentines Day? Here in our house the big deal was always to get a big 50% off candy heart but I've told John not to do that this year. I refuse to spend money on flowers that reach new heights of cash on a single day (and drop immediately the following day) and really I've no desire to eat out. We're not the dancing sort of folks. I have all the real jewelry I want and nothing in particular strikes my fancy at the moment anyway. John is working that day anyway, I figure it's kinda nice just to have him come back home safe and sound once again.
I used to want that grand gesture of romance and John has provided them in the form of a single red rose or a really nice dinner out at an especially fancy place. He's given me jewelry before and huge boxes of candy and beautiful cards that made me weep with the sweet sentiments inside. Some of those gifts came in years when we were just plain broke, so I know they were sacrifices in being offered to me and I think that has increased their value even more. But I suppose you just reach an age where it's enough to know that the person by your side is by your side and has been there through the worst times as well as the best ones. And that's enough, really it is.
As usual our weather has been loopy. It was lovely and cool all weekend long, then downright blasting cold and right now feels positively balmy outdoors at 60F. I am sure we're due rain. First there's been three mornings of heavy frost and second the county has come and scraped the road and that almost always seems to preclude a good rain shower. I suspect this warming trend may bring that in, unless of course the snow flurries we saw here and there on Tuesday happen to be considered rain. Did you know that about three frosts bringing in rain? I wasn't familiar with that but someone told John it was so and he shared it with me and there seems to be some truth in it. It's one of those things old farmers seem to know that proves to be more right than wrong, and the odds in their favor seems to be a great deal higher than the weatherman's predictions for the most part.
I know this is shorter than usual but it's really time to wind up my chat for now. John is on his way in from work after being gone 36 hours and until that moment when he relaxes and falls asleep before the television he's going to want at least 70% of my attention focused upon himself. So off I go and I do hope we can get together again this month to chat a bit more.