I Wonder As I Wander
Autumn finally arrived here in a day of cool breezes, the bluest of skies and a flutter of leaves sailing through the air and falling to the ground.
My friend Susan came to spend the day with me Sunday, our first really cold morning. I had on long sleeves and had put on socks, my concession to the cold. She wore a thick hoodie. At one point we stood at the kitchen window and I said "Oh look at the leaves!" The Faith Tree had just let go of a spate of leaves, all of which sailed past the window. "I just love fall!" Susan exclaimed next to me and sighed happily.
It was a nice reminder. I've said in the last few years I feel a certain sadness when autumn days began to arrive. Saturday I'd said to John that I felt a little reluctant to feel the cold...But somehow Susan's happiness was contagious. She went to the living room and unpacked the projects she'd brought to work on. I stayed at the window for another minute or two and admired the beauty of the day and the graceful flow of leaves on the breeze and embraced the season to come.
I've made it a point to stop each day at the window and admire the views. They are fleeting in length. The turkey foot oak has gone copper and is lovely. The Sweet Gums remain steadfastly green with a few yellow brown stars here and there. But the leaves still flutter with each passing breeze. It's worth a few minutes time to watch the season dwindle down.
I've been having a bit of trouble writing of late. I'd come here to write and look at the blank page and eventually close it and go away. I decided this past week I needed to employ my journal once more. I have, for the past few months, either journaling daily or writing nothing for weeks on end. I've noticed that when I use my journal I seem to have no trouble writing or finding inspiration. It's not that I do anything special on those days except emptying my mind of the clutter of thoughts. To do lists and thoughts about what happened the day before or the dream I had during the night are all I ever write about in my journal, but it's beginning to work.
There are times I simply long for places in my past. Here of late it's the old church where I grew up.
I long to go sit in the old handmade pews and look out of the wavy glass in the windows at the field next door (or the graveyard on the opposite side which is usually where I sat). I loved the hand made benches, the old kerosene stove, the plain white planked walls, the raised pulpit that was two steps above the rest of the floor. I want to hear the old fashioned hymns and listen to an old fashioned preacher.
But most of all I want to see the old sweet faces of the dear old widow women I grew up knowing. Beautiful white haired ladies with ear bobs on the huge lobes of their ears and a pearl choker necklace about their necks.
I think about those ladies often. Miss Callie with her lovely curling hair and that soft sweet face and her cat eye glasses. I see her daughter Louise now and then in town and it's like seeing a ghost she is so similar to her mother. Mrs. Waters who lived in a story book cottage behind her daughter's home. Aunt Ruth with her tight little top knot of hair on top of her head, adding height to her small stature. Oh how I miss those ladies!
Each of them meant something unique to me and each of them were as familiar to me as any childhood memory. They are all long gone, as are the handmade pews and the little girl who loved it all.
Granny was two years younger than I am now when she was widowed. She never joined the church she attended, leaving her membership in her childhood church instead. I don't know just why she didn't go back to that childhood church for services. Indeed, for all I know, she did. But she continued attending the Primitive Baptist church long after Grandaddy died.
I was 11 the year Grandaddy died. I thought then that Granny was terribly old. I realize now how young she was yet.
I've often thought about what I'd do if John should die, especially while I'm young. Does that sound macabre or bad? I don't by any means wish him dead. I quite like him as well as love him dearly. He's good company. I suppose it's only because Granny and Big Mama both were widowed young (about my age now) and so I do think of it, having the knowledge that it could happen. Indeed at times John and I have discussed this between us. Would we remarry?
We both say, No. I'm not sure John really means it. I know what he does mean when he says it. He doesn't want to deal with new in-laws, step children, etc. Because even though our family came together nicely in the end, it took a lot of guts and sleepless nights and desperate prayers to get us to the place where we had an all for one, one for all sort of family. But John is the sort of person who needs someone to be there as a sort of willing audience. I don't mean that unkindly because it makes him seem terribly egotistical and he's not. He's one of the most humble men I know. Nor is he needy. But he needs company, a companion, a person, a partner.
I on the other hand, do mean it. I married young (as much emotional youth as fact) the first time. I went straight from my parents' home to being married. I had children. Though I divorced, I had children. I didn't date. Indeed I don't think John and I went on a date more than twice and one of those was at my home. We spent a lot of time together, he and I, but with five children to juggle between us dating wasn't easily planned nor affordable.
It seems at times I've spent my whole life trying to please people, doing what I might not have done otherwise, giving up my own desires. It's not that I've always resented it. Mostly I don't. Now and then I do, but mostly I don't. As well, I'm rather accustomed to being alone. It doesn't bother me. I'm seldom lonely. I like my own company. I can find things to do. But I think, were it just myself to consider, there are things I'd do that I don't have the opportunities to do now, places I'd go or stop on my way to other places. I'd visit the children more often. Or spend a day in a little town's dusty courthouse studying records. I'd order my days to suit myself more. How often must we stop mid way of a big project day to prepare a meal or three? It is a selfish sort of life I'm talking about and it would be something to guard against, not to become too selfish.
But it's more than wanting my own way. It truly is. Like John I wouldn't want the heartaches of dealing with a new relationship. I've been married twice and honestly that is quite enough. I've had a sad marriage and a very happy marriage and why chance it again? It's unlikely I'd ever be as happy as I've been with John. And with that in mind even an okay marriage would be quite sad compared to this one. The years have flown past with John, filled as they have been with that quiet steady sense of having someone on my side, knowing that I am well and truly loved, laughing at some silly thing or another every day and touched to the very heart of me at least once a day. What would I miss? Everything. But then I always did before I had it.
After my divorce I did doubt there would ever be a relationship in my life again, but I dreamed of an enduring love with some gentle man....How blessed was I to find it?
Since these posts are truly random here's a random thought: I bought socks last year. I spent all day long yesterday gazing at my feet and why? Because I kept reading the words across my toes. Due to stretching over the foot and odd embroidery, the words appear to say "Mo Nonsense Lisa". It's actually No Nonsense USA.
I wonder who thought it was a good idea to put the wording on top of the toe area of the sock?
And more to the point, how long before I stop wondering why I've got on Lisa's socks...
John and I love to watch old movies. If we had to pay to view TCM we'd be in debt and I mean that sincerely. We watch a movie at least once a day and more often. Without fail most days there is at least one scene wherein a match is lit, either for lighting a candle or a cigarette or to view something in the darkness of a room. It never ceases to amaze us that the matches burn and burn and burn and never get near burning a fingertip. We keep wondering if there is some special sort of match they used, or if matches today are more quick to burn up than they were then. We seldom can get a match to burn long enough to light two candle wicks without burning our fingertips.
Granny and Grandaddy used to go out on the river fishing and camping many weekends. Granny kept a plastic box of matches that she'd fixed up especially to stay dry. She coated the heads with clear nail polish so damp and wet didn't penetrate the sulfur on the tips. It seems to have worked very well.
She tells me that growing up, her father never used but one match all day long. They lit the first fire with it and then lit the wooden match to light any lantern or candle or other fires that needed to be lit. In other words, they used up every last bit of every single match. But again I have to wonder if they weren't of a different sort than our modern day matches.
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