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THE WOODS ARE BEARING GIFTS


Last week, in a moment of exhaustion and frustration, I opened my mouth and out came the most horrific and cruel words.  Words that stung so deep I felt sick the moment they came out.  I prayed that time would stop and I could pull them right back in.  But, you can never "unhear" something, and my days and my nights have not been the same since.  
 
 
 
The truth about words, is that you can string them together so beautifully that they can touch hearts, move souls and bring a person to tears. You can also tear those hearts and souls to shreds in a matter of seconds and bring them to tears just the same.  
 
"Words never fade away but echo on for eternity.  Let your echo ring sweet."  (Richelle Goodrich)
 
 
The woods are turning a lovely bright green, bringing new gifts everyday.  I'm trying to let my echo ring as sweet as the early spring.   

THE STORY OF A BLUEBERRY FARMER

 
Growing up, it was sometimes difficult to be the daughter of such an articulate, analytical father.  The little things that made him such a respected scientist would often drive me nearly mad, especially because even then, I was as far away from having a scientific mind as he was of dreaming about writers and poets.  He was a very measured man and there was little room for exploration in this thoughts. I would enjoy a conversation today with him, but as a young girl, I dreaded them.  The pause between each sentence made me want to crawl out of my skin and escape to my books or my friends.  Despite that, he was born smart and I was always in awe of that.

I did love to go his lab.  It was exactly like what you would picture a (mad) scientist's lab to be, microscopes and test tubes, stacks of medical journals piled high, refrigerators with equations and formulas written on them in bold black marker, notecards and more notecards with pencil scribbling, and my favorite..the lab coats...oh, I loved to wear those.  I would sneak the little white mice out of their cages and hide them in the pockets.  I'd go to the girl's bathroom, lock myself in a stall and try to hatch a plan to sneak one into our house. (that never did happen, though in high school I did steal one from the science lab in protest of animal cruelty. Predictably, it escaped and ran across the kitchen floor right in front of my mother) ☺
 

 
I always thought of him as an interesting ( and beautiful ) blend of a man, a skilled marksman, a deep sea fisher, a scholar, a true conservative, a born again Baptist, a mathematician, a doctor, a debater, a gardener, a jam-maker, a father, a husband, a loyal friend . . . and a blueberry farmer.  I told him once that he would make a wonderful character in a novel that I would one day write.  He laughed at that and said, "just don't give him my real name."  I wouldn't even need to be that obvious, it would be obviously clear who my inspiration was.

I've been thinking about him lately, especially in the morning when I sit at my kitchen table and design the garden areas of this little acre and a half we have.  I need it to be efficient, to provide us with the sweetest fruits and vegetables all year round and to fill baskets and shelves of the little cafĂ© / market I dream (plan) of having.  I've sketched it out, filled notebooks with ideas, collected bricks already for pathways, talked to local farmers and yet, something has been bothering me. It was blueberry bushes. So I spent two days at the farm, and if you've read my other farm stories, you will know that it brings me such peace.  Especially when I'm there alone, I feel like a tiny little speck in the middle of something big and beautiful.  But, truthfully, I never feel alone there . . . . 

 
 
I feel my father everywhere.  He's the water and the meadows, the new daffodils and the spring green maple trees.  He's the deep lake and the old swamp, the pine tree forests and the rows of sapling berry bushes.  He was this farm, he made it, he nurtured it, he loved it. He dreamed it, sketched it, journaled it and talked about it until the hour he died.
 
I used to think we were as different as night and day, but I guess we were more, "like father, like daughter," than I ever thought.
 



 
We're blueberry farmers.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOWS

Near midnight there is a white circle that lays on the wall above the mantel. Slowly, the minutes pass as it drops down, getting lost in the fire.  There are a million stars above my head, and without the city lights, they really do twinkle.

By morning, tiny finches have found the birdhouse I nailed to a tree.  I can see it perfectly from the table, that's why I chose it.  Sometimes they peek in, and sometimes they go right to the seeds on the ground, all strewn about by the squirrels.

Afternoons are lovely.  There is a camellia bush on each corner of the yard. They're not as big as the magnolias, but they're mighty and old too, and no matter where you look, it's blooming pink.
 
There are no signs of midwinter here, outside my windows it looks like spring. 






 

THE FIRST MORNING

Today was a big day.  I've been waiting for it for what seems like forever.  This morning I awoke to an empty house and to silence.  Well, not really, the cat was scratching on the window at a bird perched on a branch just outside. After two long weeks of rain, the sun is finally out and I imagine the bird too just wanted some warm peace and quiet.  How he must have been annoyed at the interruption. Our guests have left, the kids are at the cabin, Chad was at work, and so it was...the first morning, the first morning of real life again.  The first morning waking up in the new house, all by myself with nothing to do.



Well, there are a million little things to do, ones that we put aside in order to make sure bigger ones were done so company could at least shower and sleep in a clean room.  I'd rather be decorating or gardening, but I keep telling myself that we're here now, everything will fall into place as it should, when it should.  I once knew someone who said, "there's no time to hurry."  The older I get, the more true that is to me.  And so, as much as I wanted to put on my gardening apron, I put the work one on instead.


Mornings here remind me a little of mornings at the cabin, minus the geese and the heron.  But I'm surrounded by trees and birds and squirrels.  I have back steps to sit on and acres of pecan trees that catch the sunlight so perfectly.  I put up birdhouses on the trees in the garden area and my dear father-in-law put a birdbath under the magnolia tree just outside the kitchen window.  I do believe the kitchen table is my favorite spot in the house. When it's just me and the trees and the sky and the birds...I'm happy.  And after nine months of homesickness, loneliness, ambitious restorations, sleep depraved nights, big dreams smashed by reality, and many tears, I am so happy to be happy!


And so like that, as long as it was and as quick as it was, it's time to figure out what to do next.  I'm inspired by the views from my window, and sometimes all it takes is a little new inspiration.