Let me tell you how much a writer will avoid writing. We don't know why. We love writing. It's what we were born to do and I say that in such a way as most of us are not good at some other things. Sure, there are other writers who can build an engine or knit a sweater but safe to say I can not knit or build an engine. I can paint. But that's not something I should take up professionally no matter how many times Mama says she thinks I could get hired to do this and maybe make a little money.
This morning I am finally updating this blog which has been in hyperspace hold all because I was moving my website to another host engine which meant building another site and migrating all the material over there. That hasn't happened. And everytime I thought of blogging I thought of that job and how I had not done it so what was the point in blogging something that needed to be moved somewhere else anyway? This is what my friend Rachel calls my Gypsy Logic and no offense ever intended for any Roma readers or travelers. Gypsy is a nickname for me and something I wear proudly. So there I go.
WRITING AVOIDANCE AND BIG SPIDERS
Today - I was avoiding writing by spraying for spiders. Big spiders. Outside. Of course I have the big professional spray with the handheld pump to make you feel more official when you decide I will just do this job myself. After my unclose and personal run in with a brown recluse biting me in MY BED at five am last summer I am not open to spiders taking up residence. That instance for those of you who dabble in spiritual mysteries seemed to be an attack straight out of the pits of hell and should be a level of Dante's inferno which I am reading now. The brown recluse level. The spider bit me at 5 am. in the inside of my arm where one is given a blood transfusion so it went directly into the place it needed to to cause the biggest damage. Thankfully, because I immediately woke up with a sense (and maybe this is why people call me a mystic) that I had been attacked by something evil in the way of what I suspected to be a brown recluse I pulled back the covers and there the bugger was trying to make a fast escape so I grabbed the closest thing to me - a sock and gently detained him and then grabbed another close item which was Michael Ferris Smiths match box for The Fighter - so appropriate - and stuck spider in box. With my arm stinging and red and growing in pain I got dressed, called the doctors office and said I'll be coming in for a brown recluse bite. Then I finished a conference call about a writing project (cause that's the kind of girl I am) and went to doc. When They asked me (what makes you think it was a brown recluse?) I pulled out the match box and passed it over. (this is repeat news to some but new news to others) and they put the little snarfblower under the microscope and said - Well, yes. It is a brown recluse and we are impressed with your spider roping rodeo skills. I'm just that kind of cowgirl I told them.
CREEPY BIG BAD BITES THAT PEOPLE SHOULD NOT SEE
Fast forward to a creepy arm (the people who saw it or saw photos said I really should not have showed that to them thank you very much) a book tour back in the old days when we did those and three months of ever stronger antibiotics and constant - and I mean contstant- ice bags to try to freeze the pain.
TRYING TO WOMAN UP TO THE HOUSE PROJECTS AND WORRIED I GOT BAD BONES
All to say - this morning I was avoiding writing by spraying for spiders because I figured I had to woman up and do it because these are some of the things I have to talk to God about. God, I have spiders and maybe some snakes in that tall grass that needs cutting and I need some steel wool put in the cracks under the house to keep the mice from getting in when winter gets here. God is pretty good about staying calm and reminding you that you can't do it all and thankfully did not seem to inspire me to buy steel wool and crawl up under the nasty crawl space under the entire house. Thank you, Jesus (that's a southern joke) - So buying the serious spider spray seemed the easy go to on the list although I stood and looked a long time at weed eaters and border things and chain saws which seemed the best idea - to just chain saw down the stuff but I have a fear of cutting off my fingers which I use a lot. For writing.
But my conundrum of should I spray the piles of leaves with spider spray before I blow the leaves or blow the leaves and then spray was just enough to send me over the edge, to throw it all down, make another cup of coffee and decide to blog. This is how you find me here. still day dreaming that the property brothers (or someone like the property brothers) will show up by surprise because I have won some sweepstakes I didn't enter about fixing my precious house on the hill and they will sweep in and tell me how great it is and will be and we will put in a bay window here and big windows there an take the living room out to the porch and build a huge screened in porch of the new living room and have stone steps down to the barbecue area and so on and I'll get my perfect claw foot dream of my life tub and a stained glass window somewhere anythwere and a basement (not a crawl space) which is not filled with spiders and mice to hide in during tornadoes. They will say things like good bones and I can envision - but what I just know they are going to do is say you have NO BONES. This house has NO BONES. I don't even know how it is standing. My God woman how long have you been here? Sigh. My idea of remodeling on a budget is to plant both kudzu and bamboo all around the walls of the house outside up close because you can never tear down bamboo or kudzu. You may not be able to see us but by God we will have a roof over our heads that might even stand up during a tornado.
HAPPY SPIDERS ON ALL SIDES
So the spiders are still humming spider songs outside happily spinning along not realizing death awaits them and she wears really worn out tractor supply cowgirl boots and is fixin to kick some spider weaving butt. In the meantime and other news.
WHY I DON'T COOK - BUT I DO - BUT I DON'T LIKE IT
Mama takes great pride in telling me that they have discovered you can get ebola from bagged salad because I like the convience of anything that has to do with the kitchen because kitchen things can eat your entire life away. Cooking and buying food to cook and washing up all the dishes from cooking THREE TIMES A DAY can kill you. You look back at your life and realize that's all you've done and nothing to show for it. This only applies to this person because I miss my Memaw and my grandmother and my aunt Kate doing just this like the wizard women they were. I loved being called to the table and have been good at showing up to the table all of my life. And I really enjoying cooking once a month. When it is cold outside. And I am cooking chili or gumbo or anything else that fits in one bit pot because I consider that civilized.
ELECTRO MAGNETIC PULSES ARE REAL
I have a new watch. I am a watch girl. If I had millions of dollars I would have several nice watches and by nice I mean $$$$$$$$$ watches. I have one to pass down to each little in my life for their inheritance. Which they would toss in a drawer and never wear because they have phones or chips or something. But I am a watch girl. With my phone in my hand I'll look at my wrist to tell the time and become frustrated when it isn't there. I don't believe I want an Apple Watch although if I had several $$$$$$$$ watches I would throw one in the mix. Normally, I cannot wear a battery with a watch because of something having to do with my elecrtonmatic field. This is a pretty true statement. My body kills batteries. Or they just stopped working which is the same thing. So for years I wore a Seiko solar watch that kept pretty good time as long as it got a good dose of sun on a regular basis. After we had days and days of rain last month it had stopped so while actually watering the plants on the porch I took it as a good time to take it off and lay it on the porch railing. I never saw it again. Mama was with cousin Deb so she didn't sneak out and take it and hide it from me only to watch me look for it for days or weeks before she produces this. Yes, she has done this on numerous occasions. I can't make excuses for that. She thinks it's funny or will teach me a lesson about losing things. It has taught me a lesson I assure you. But not the one she might imagine. So - Mama cannot be blamed for the fact that something took my shiny thing. I have had raccoons steal my shiny things. One was obsessed with a shiny piece of art known as wind chimes that hung just outside my door when I lived in my townhome in Panama City. He came every night to try to take the thing off the tree. I watched him. He wrestled and tussled and cussed and shook and hung upside down and then he went down the tree looked at me through the window and gave me the finger. He came back every single night until finally he had made off with this booty. I really liked that shiny thing. Watch be gone. I have searched the tall grass carefully to avoid snakes but on sign.
WHAT TIME IS IT? MOON TIME
So I finally broke down yesterday and bought a new watch from the little boutique in our neck of the woods we call Wal-mart. It's a Times expedition with indigo night light. Which means at any insomnia hour- when the full moon wakes this wild child ALWAYS -I have I don't have to turn on the light to wonder how close I am to calling what time I think it is. I can just push this little button and there we go. It cost half a dollar sign. It has a strap on band with velcro. I have tiny wrists so this is great. Didn't take anyone taking links out at all. I'm set. For as long as this battery lasts or I replace it three times within three months and if that happens - I'll be back on the solar train.
LOOK UP TO THE SKYS - IT'S WISHING TIME
Comet Neowise is passing by close this month. I think you can still catch it with the naked eye but there are space sites where you can watch it in real time. It's also the month of the Perseids meteor shower so for those of you who have NEVER seen what we call a shooting star this is your chance. Look up, look up, look up August 11-12 will be the prime viewing nights. And it's worth setting your alarm clock and going outside parking in a lawn chair in the dark and letting your eyes adjust. Give them a good fifteen minutes and keep your eyes on the stars. DO NOT take your phone with you so that you are texting I am outside waiting on the star shower and looking at the blue light on your phone. If you must do that - do it before you go outside. Lots of sites like the American Meteor Society or EarthSKY can give you more details.
THAT OLD FARM
Where Big Dog Titan wandered down the hill to visit the goats and they locked him in the pen thinking he was lost so he didn't get to wander back up the hill and come home. The next day when they stop being afraid of his big mouth they read his tag and called me. When I got there he was inside the little house with the old woman who was taking care of her 93 year old mother who kept saying He Ain't Nothin But A Baby as she fed him chicken and cornbread. So It was with a heavy heart I saw that the old farm was sold. And feared that condos would be built and that I'd hear bulldozers for years down the hill instead of a donkey braying and the morning crow of a rooster. There used to be cows in the field and the property runs round down the little creek we have to cross with a bridge as we keep our eyes peeled on that field and that little old White House. Finally there's been some movement and they've cleared a stand or two of street up against the hill. Wall straight up that hill and you'd be in my overgrown yard if you can call it a yard. Mama doesn't. She calls it a drop-off to your death. She will always be a flatlander she tells me. Aside from that - I saw a man pulling up to the gate and waved for him to wait a second. I pulled over and rolled the window down and asked him if he had time for a story. He said, sure. So I told him about Titan going missing and about the goats and the old women and the chicken and cornbread and how we had always loved that place. He said he wasn't the new owner but his friends were and they were gonna treat the land right and be good to it. Said they were also getting some cows. Thanked me for the story.
While I'm counting those shooting stars this month I'm going to add a few wishes. That maybe my new neighbors will get a donkey and just one good rooster.
I'll keep you posted.
Today it is raining on the hill. That old rooster down the hill has been crowing all morning. There's still no dawn just this slice of grey hanging over us and I think he is confused. Or he thinks the next crow will be the one that splits the sky open and ushers in the sun. I for one don't mind if he crows all day and the rain never stops. I'm upstairs in my office, the window open to the world, the green so thick I can't see beyond to the ridge. Every year I threatened to cut down a line of trees, to clear my vision, to open up my world. But then the trees, these living beings, I consider them and I don't. Maybe it's silly. Maybe my son calls me a hippie for thinking things like this. I was a little kid I tell him.
"The sixties happened around me. It wasn't like I was smack in the middle of them going to Woodstock."
"I don't care," he replies. "You're still a hippie."
More likely just an artist who knows trees are alive until you chop them down.
What stops that process more than my pretending the fallen trees will be cut and stacked for firewood and in that way keep on giving like The Giving Tree (that hills too steep. No one is going to bring that wood up here. Not even if I pay them.) is that I know in due season, in the fullness of time (one of my favorite Biblical quotes) the leaves will change, thin out, fall. The view will evolve little by little until the trees are bare then the little valley will open up before me, the ridge rise up from the other side. At night I'll be able to stand at this window and look out, watch headlights from the cars a mile or more away, from far, far down the road, circle and climb the hill. As much as I long for that view now I know that there is something precious in this change. Something that would be lost if I had it at the ready ever day. It's the exchange one makes for the aging of the leaves, the falling with grace and entering into the more silent, solemn moments of winter. With age, we turn from this new year and see that our view of life has changed. It is my birthday month. One that affords me the luxury of considering the passage of time of what it reveals and what it packs away.
The rain continues. Thicker now. This is good. We need the restful quiet.
Yesterday, I dug weeds from around the broken porch that needs to be replaced. I tilled the ground - well, that at least sounds poetic. I scratched at it furiously with a hand tool with pointy things. This is more the truth of my gardening abilities. I turned up 1 snake skin that had been shed. (No sign of the snake which meant I kept my eye open for said snake, 1 Giant toad that had been hiding deep down in the dirt (how was he breathing?) and one large spider that decided he would just go find another home with a quickness that eluded me. I don't like spiders or snakes or frogs. I wanted to be working on getting the word out on my new writing classes but Momma said, "I guess I will just have to go outside and stand on my head and pull weeds even though I"m not able I will try." She is like this. She says these things to me because she knows my head will spin and blow off and I'll pout and put on boots and stomp outside. She is very, smart this way.
Stop right there. I have to give you a little backstory.
If you have been reading these blogs you know Mama moved in with me about three years ago. And that she has a green thumb and I have a brown thumb. But that I now have flowers all around the front porch and back porch in my attempt to please Mama and to honestly brighten her day. And, it has. It has also given me plenty of opportunities to act like an exhasperated fourteen year old that wants to slam the door to her room. You want me to water the plants now??? You want more Rose food when??? I need to dig up what????? What I realize is my mother glories in this. The process of it. The actual work of it. As she said yesterday standing on the porch as I was digging, "I just hate it, hate it when something dies on me." And, I'm thinking - Well, this digging could just be killing me right here and I don't see you worried about that.
Don't get me wrong. The lilies we are planting in all that dirt came from Daddy's Creek. They bloomed for years. They are the largest most amazing lilies you have ever seen. I will adore seeing them in action once it happens. But the process? Not so much. Not like my Mama who loves every step of this. "Keeping things alive is hard work," she says.
"Yeah, well so's writing books when you can't ever get to the page," I say back. She ignores me. She gets sick of hearing me talk about a)writing b) not writing. These are two of my constant subjects because either I just finished x number of words I'm pleased with or I am lamenting that I haven't written any words. Which makes me a little crazy.
I dig the weeds, I pour the dirt. Mom has actually been working hard and adding dirt to potted plants, replanting ones that are root bound. She is ever so good at this. She looks over the railing at the end of the day at my weeded plot of fresh dirt and says -
"That really looks good. I'm proud of what we accomplished today."
I confess I take a little bit of pride in that. It's not that I can't put on rubber boots and stomp in the mud, pulling weeds with the best of them. I put my back into all that I'm doing. I have a good work ethic but I usually save it for having fingers laced around the keyboard. Unfortunately, to some degree all other work pulls on that string that says time, ticking, time ticking, words not written.
Except for when the grands, those Charmings or Adorables enter my world. Then I will stop the clock, close the laptop, shut down my world to be with them. To create magic in the normal spaces of their lives. The watermelon feasts, and sparklers, lightning bugs, and movie nights. Books and naps and nursing boo-boo's.
This month is also my baby boy's birthday. He is a grown man now but still - I took the Charmings shopping for his birthday. But Bless my Heart honest to goodness thought I could do it while I also took Mom shopping for her groceries. It was a master plan until it wasn't. She had a list. I had kids. Getting in the car was one job and getting out of the car at the store was another job and by the time we made it through the door and into two buggies I began to think maybe I have made a mistake.
Now, we have a downpour. This means my driveway is washing away. Again. Yoga breath. Heavy Sigh.
The store. Mom takes the nine year old to help her with her list. I take the four year old and six year old to buy presents. We make it to the cards where one child says he must go to the bathroom. I ask that question that parents have asked in stores for a thousand years - is it number one or two? TWO! who declares and then I ask the next question that parents and grandparents should never ask. I ask this in spite of being part of the potty training brigade for years. Offering to read to kids on the potty, give m&m's to kids on the potty, sing and dance and do a one woman show for kids on the potty - JUST STAY ON THE POTTY till it works. BUT now, on a birthday mission with a Mother buying enough canned goods for the apocolypse that will need to unload I ask - CAN YOU JUST HOLD IT TILL YOU GET HOME???? - Of course the answer is NO. Which is fair because you shouldn't ask that question. It's a bad question. To the bathroom we go. Which turns into a potty party in the handicap stall with lots of conversation going on between the four year old and the six year old and me getting tireder by the moment.
Out of the potty. Wash the hands. Wash, wash, wash the hands. Back to the cards. Then to Pajamas and shirts and the other kid says - NOW, I HAVE TO USE the BATHROOM. Two? You have to do two? Really? Now? Really? Wow. Just, wow. No you cannot use the Man's room. No, I don't care if you are a man. No I am not leaving you in the mans room. Back to the women's bathroom. Back to the stall only now I have to wait outside the door while the four year old and six year old continue to have plenty of conversation. I want to go home. Out of the Potty. To the sinks. Wash, wash, wash the hands. To gift wrapping. Call Mom. She is half way through with her list. I ask her what is left, just go, go go to the register. I'll get the rest now. I don't need the list. I'll memorize it. Run, run with the wind.
This is how I am crazy. This is where my crazy comes in. I am obsessesed with leaving the store the fastest way possible. I rush between milk and bleach and papertowels. I rush to the register. My mother is far, far away with her buggy. Looking for a living cashier. There are no living cashiers in the whole, entire world. Now, I am yelling like a cartoon strip southern character of which I swear I am not - THIS WAY, MAMA, JUST COME BACK AND I'LL DO IT!
We make it to self check out where the four year old stands up in the buggy like he isn't supposed to and starts putting things on the belt and the six year old is doing all the scanning and they think this is the greatest thing in the world. They are as invested in this process as My mother is those plants. I'm shoving things in the bags like a maniac. This one is for presents. Present, present, canned stuff, canned stuff, more canned stuff. Wait what is this? Ice Cream, ice cream and more melting Ice Cream? MOM! WHAT IS THIS????
"Well, they need a little something sweet! It's good for them."
Canned stuff, oatmeal cookies, more ice cream. MOM!!!
"I don't care. They can eat it in the car."
Present, present - wait - WHERE IS THE CARD we spent 45 mins picking out because you guys wanted to read them all? It's missing. Never mind. I bag, bag, bag- I'll go back and get another card while you guys go to the car. JUST GO TO THE CAR. MOVE TOWARD THE CAR.
Crazy. Yes, I know.
I must take the six year old with me because he moves too fast to leave him with a group where someone isn't designated to catch him that might not be fast enough. This is the truth. HE's like the flash.
New card. Out to the car. Forty thousand bags of stuff. Presents. Ice cream that now my mother and the other two children are eating in the parking lot. There is melting ice cream running down their hands. I open the paper towels and pass them out and say Get in the car. Just everybody get in the car.
The children are ever so happy. They have pottyed. And ate ice cream. And bought presents for Daddy. Life is good in their world. UNTIL . . .
The Signing of the card. Which must be done in the back seat while I drive and Mom is in the passenger seat feeling a little better because she had an ice cream pick me up. I am not feeling better. I haven't had an anything pick me up.
A discussion ensues over what will be written on the card and who will do the writing. It is my understanding as I'm driving that the six year old has decided to dictate to the nine year old what will be said because he says he has better handwriting. Then the four year old declares that he wants to write too. Which brings on WWWIII in my backseat. With - HE SNATCHED the Pen Out of my HAND and STOP TRYING TO BREAK MY ARM YOU CANT have it BACK.
And the six year old who is slightly OCD is freaking out because as he says his brother RYDER CAN'T EVEN WRITE AND HE'S JUST GOING TO SCRIBBLE ALL OVER OUR PERFECT WRITING.
And I say, DRAW A CIRCLE ON THE BACK OF THE CARD AND JUST LET HIM SCRIBBLE IN THAT.
And my Mama is laughing and asking me, "Are we having fun, yet?" And I say, "Oh, so much fun. SO MUCH FUN!"
As the boys continue shoving and screaming and fighting with a pen in the back seat as the six year old has a nuclear melt down and the four year old scribbles OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE HE'S SCRIBBLING OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE ON EVERYTHING HE'S RUINING IT ALL!
And I pull up in the driveway of Daddy's house where Mama says, " I think I'll just wait right here."
As I tell the boys ok, here we go everybody get ready to say SURPRISE! And sing happy birthday and one of them takes the present bag and one of them takes the card and they run up the stairs and open the door and scream SURPRISE and they are beside themselves with happy and that grown man baby boy of mine has a look on his face that is absolutely a wonder.
And then he smiles as we all sing Happy Birthday TO YOU! And says, well, you did it, you actually surprised me. And the kids are all grins and giggles and they are so proud of themselves. Happy Birthday, my baby boy and this Mama has got to go.
Mission accomplished. Lilly's and dirt. All in a day's work of being a daughter, a mother, a Zaza.
It could rain all week I don't care. A blanket of rest, a great book, a nap. I could use these things. And if the driveway is gone nothing to worry. We've got enough canned goods to last till Spring.
I hope your life is just as full of love and wonder, of moments to treasure, as it is it's own kind of crazy and that you enjoy your messy, mixed up life to the fullest!
Wow! It has been way too long since I took time to write and share with you a little news from the hill. In my mind I'm always talking to you, sharing stories and the odd, quirky little things that fill my days. If only you could read my mind. And, I believe some of you can. :)
The green has come in so thick it's wrapped it's arms around the house. Near bout. Almost. The grass is so high out front and going down the hill that the rabbits have moved in. And they have to practically STAND UP to see them. Yes, the grass is that high but did I mention that now the rabbits have moved in and there isn't much more peaceful in the morning than seeing the rabbits nibbling out front while the rooster crows. Not my rooster and I don't have to feed him but I sure would miss him if the folks down there somewhere got rid of him.
My mother missed the sound of a rooster crowing in the morning at the house where I grew up in Panama City. So my uncle got a little rooster and put him in the backyard for her. You just can't take the country out of people who grew up in the country. The rooster would sit up on the chainlink fence every morning and get his crow on. Which is steady and starts when the dawn cracks the edge of light. Mom could hear him bright and early from her bed and it sounded like good old home days. Until the morning that she also heard some neighbors feet running fast and furious past her bedroom window. Then the rooster went missing. No more crowing. Some people just can't appreciate when country comes to town.
I can see Nashville from my porch. Kinda. Well, at night I can see the lights of Nashville as a glow in the eastern sky. That's how close I am but also with all these big trees and birds and raccoons and rabbits and owls and roosters you would think I was a hundred miles away. I have put up bird feeders for Mom and there is a chance that the birds around here have gotten lazy. If the seed runs low they bang on the window and go, Whazup? The hummingbird wars begin right after the rooster sounds off so we have lots of wildlife activity. Some nights the coyotes take up a howl and it stirs me with a wildness. They are in sync and they know something. I think they sing the lament of their people. Of the woods going away little by paved little. And, like that rooster, it's hard to bring a coyote home.
Recently, I took up walking down by the river. There the breeze if there is one will find it's way and the water always brings me back to where I began. It's not salty and it's not the gulf but it's more like my Daddy's creek. It smells some the same. Last afternoon I was there about three or four people stood at the edge with their poles in the water and lines stretched out. Just their profiles, that scene, at once so familiar and a tug on my heart made me smile. I was raised with that simple refrain, What'chu catch? Usually preceded by my Daddy's whistle as he wandered down to meet a boat pulling in at the landing. You can while away a day looking at what people caught and what they used for bait and be the better for it.
Father's Day approaches. I saw a card that read - Still Daddy's little girl. If I could only give it to him. But I have to settle for whispering - Still your girl Daddy. Always will be. And then go on about my business.
That business has been a whole lot of Make Momma Happy Mode. Now, I know what you might say. You can't make anyone happy they have to be happy on their own right. BUT - surely you know some things that people have done for you that has brought love to your door and brought a smile to your face. Mama's soft spot is her plants! OF which she gave away and left many behind when she moved to the hill. So, I have spent some days helping her pot new ones and fixing up the porch for her and she has rocked some and smiled some and so I look at Daddy's picture and since he always loved my Mama something fierce I feel like he is smiling at me just cause I stepped out of my laptop box and did the dirt thing.
Ok, to tell the truth I lost my laptop. That is, I hid it from myself. No, I hid it from any laptop crooks that might break in and steal all my hard work. But then I could not remember where I hit the thing. Hide nor hair. So, I was forced to be constructive in some other way. It never would have happened if I had been able to put my fingers on the keys.
Alright, much more news afoot but I know you have things to do. I'm back on the radio live on Wednesday's at 1:00 on WRFN 107.1 and 103.7 in Nashville. Check out the link for the show to stream live under the ON AIR in menu. I'm working on the final edits for CONFESSIONS which will be out March 2019. The Undercover Reader Posse is such a good time it should be illegal. I'm loving our Secret Saturday calls and you can learn more about that in the link under Reader Posse. The Phonebook Writer Series is about to kick off a great Summer Session so for anyone interested in writing fiction or creative non-fiction stay tuned and check it out. PLUS I have promised to finish my Patreon page and intend to do so by Saturday morning. Mark my words.
Blogging - I am so proud of my students that kicked off their blogs with a bang. More on them and their links soonest! And I am introducing a new Friday Blog series titled - GO ASK MY MAMA! So that you guys can get some of that winning wisdom that anoints my life everyday. :) Get your questions ready. Move over Dear Abby and Lucy in her Psychiatrist box. No one breaks it down like my Mama so you have problems? Issues? Life little balls of string that you can't unwind - Don't worry - You can now GO ASK MY MAMA!
In the meantime - till tomorrow! Love and blessings Ya'll.
The sun is still lazing it's way through these Tennessee hills. Hasn't broken ground yet. The birds don't care. They are singing as if Spring has sprung. An old rooster crows from down in the little valley and it bounces right up to us. I thought I heard a donkey but that could be wishful thinking. They are good for something and good company. Donkeys stuffed and otherwise have been my friends.
Rescue Kevin says he doesn't need to come inside to shake off the midnight cold today. He is fine thank you in the drive waiting for the sunrise and I should join him. He takes a bone and digs a hole, hides, hides, hides, it with his nose shoveling dirt and leaves and rocks to nestle it. No other dogs can walk around the yard because he growls when they draw close to bones buried for a year. It's like an easter egg hunt but not.
Last night I dreamed of things that could have been. After all this time. But I was tired the night before, had cried a little at carrying on but carrying on we must. Realizing we get tired of our burdens but then we are only human and that a little rest, a little tea and all will be well. Or better. Or different. Or all of these things. I woke and looked out at the dark and went back to covers. Now the sun is promising to rise on a new day.
A sign went up down the road on a large piece of land. It will be sold at auction soon. The sign said in just one tract. It is the most beautiful little meadow that meanders along Little Marrowbone creek, a ridge rises up behind it and in the middle against the hill, a tiny, white house sits silent like a chapel. Although I can't see it from the hill this is my view, the air that rises up above it. Down in the valley is that meadow and that house. For years hay was baled and rolled and before that cattle roamed freely. Beautiful, majestic.
Once Big Dog Titan loped off and went missing. For a day and then a night and I was beside myself with worry bordering heartbreak panic. Then a phone call reached me at work where I'd been writing a million dollar grant for Nashville State and the phone rings. A woman asks -
Are you missing a dog?
I say, Yes, I am, I am.
And she says -
I think I have him. Is he real big, and white?
And I tell her, Yes, he is. And she says -
I'm sorry but he is so big I was afraid to reach under that big mouth to read his tag. We locked him up in the goat pen but this morning we saw he was friendly.
Friendly was an understatement.
She said we live in a little, white house. There's cows out front but just come through the gate and then on down the path they won't hurt you.
I told her I knew her place and passed it everyday and I'd be right there.
My Big Dog! Oh, happy, happy, joy, joy!
I stopped to open the gate and drove in and closed it behind me so the cows didn't get out. Then I drove across that field up to the little, tiny house nestled up against the ridge. A grandmother's house. A great-grandmothers house. From times gone by when people didn't need so much of everything.
The door was opened but the screen shut and there stood Big Dog, in the tiny house now. The woman met me at the door.
Well, I can see he's yours. (This after a Titan hug as only he could do) Then, come sit down. I am 74 and this is my mother she is 93 and it was just the two of us here so we didn't know what to do. That's when I locked him in the pen.
'But he ain't nothin' but a baby,' her Mama said. "And he likes chicken.'
When I figured out this morning he was friendly I brought him in.
'He likes collards, too,' her Mama said, "And Biscuits."
Big Dog took up half the little kitchen, was bigger than the Mama.
She smiled at him and said again, "He ain't nothin' but a baby."
After some time the cows were gone. The field was empty but every year it would be baled for hay. A truck would be parked and I wondered. About the woman, about the mother. Big Dog passed away last year and I think of him every time I drive pass that spot. (You can click to read his eulogy.) I need to stop and take a picture. Because things will change now. Someone will buy that tract and like everything else around here begin to dig up the ground, plow it under, pour concrete. It will be houses upon houses or multiple apartments. People will move into them. The noises down my hill that rise up from the valley will be different. And in due time that will be okay.
They will be good people with children who will play in their yards and whose voices I might hear until dark. Then they will go in at night and turn out their lights, maybe say a prayer or be thankful at least they have a roof, a place to lay their heads. They will grow up and grow old but they will never know they live on holy ground where once upon a time there had been cows and a little white house and an old, woman who'd fed a BIG White Dog biscuits from her table while they waited for his human to come carry him home.
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