Monthly Archives: June 2018

Plant a tree

 

My mom said it was like the Sahara Desert out here, although she had never been to the Sahara or any desert, for that matter. I suppose it may have seemed that way. It was the remains of a pasture in 1984, no trees except the big live oaks that lined the blacktop road. We bought this property in 1984, 2 acres, then 2 more and then more until we ended up with nearly 8 by the late 80s.Except for 3 acres of woods, it was completely barren. I began, in 1985 to change that. I planted every one of these trees you see pictures of at the end of this post(there are many more, by the way), over the next 30 plus years. I was 30 when I began and now I am nearly 64. My fear is that one day, when I am not here anymore, some people will come with heavy equipment and knock them all down so that they can subdivide even more. I watched it happen in Acadiana, it is still happening…we are losing much of our natural connection to our past.

Each tree here has a moment of my life. I realize a hurricane can come and knock them down but I can think of that bearably because it is nature reclaiming what is hers. I would be sad and certainly feel loss but I would not feel anger and resentment; ultimately, they belong to the planet.

Anyway, I am posting this curious post to, perhaps, encourage someone to plant a tree this autumn or even (possibly) hundreds like I have done and also, to say that I hope to spend the next years off my life learning to recognize the birds that live in these magnificent houses that I have spent over 30 years building. I want to know my neighbors. I don’t know much about birds, but, I know that with each hour of the day with each season of the year, the birdsong is different…I want to know who they are. I have spent much time within these 33 years of my life providing for them and now I hope to enjoy the shade and protection their homes give me and the happiness their songs bestow.

The house smells like apple cider vinegar and turmeric…it is still those times in summer to preserve. Today, I am canning more Bread and Butter Pickles. And this evening, when it cools down and I can stand the heat from the stove, a few more figs will simmer.

 

p.s. I am sharing snapshots from my yard because stories are so much better with visuals…but please recognize how messy and NOT picture perfect this place is. I would never want anyone to think it is well maintained…I keep bees and chickens so there is no poison to control the weeds and the woods are nearby so the wildness of it shows up everywhere. I do my best, but I am definitely not OCD and nothing here would ever belong on Pinterst (sp.?)…LOL I feel presumptuous even saying this because you could be thinking…”oh my, how could someone ever post such a calamity of a yard”. Insert another LOL…just focus on the massive amount of trees I have planted…and there are many more outside of the picture frames and while you look at these pictures, know and imagine there was absolutely NOTHING here in 1984. Some of these trees are from my parent’s yard, two, specifically, are from acorns that had sprouted in clay pots that I found when we sold their home…a maple and a water oak. Some are transplants from our woods and some were from saplings we bought for $3 a pack from 4 H…Either way, understand, it is so easy to do and now I kinda have this ecosystem where wildlife can live and flourish…

Paint your canvas,

you will be so happy that you did.

 

 

I close with, perhaps, a challenge…

“Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.”

Wangari Maathai

Okra and Dawn(ing)

I woke up extra early this morning…trying to find more of my day, it begins and ends so quickly. As soon as the sun is just a bit higher, I will go to my garden to cut okra…those are my most special plans for this morning. I bake cookies for our restaurant and a batch is already in the oven; I can smell them as I type. The okra I cut this morning will be for pickling. I have a recipe from one of my mother’s friends from long ago. Anyway, those are my immediate ideas in this very early morning, this time before day break, this time before the splinters of humanity come across the air waves and into my conscious mind.

I will see what the night has brought to my garden and to my pear and fig trees and bring in a few blushing tomatoes for the window sill and have a bit of breakfast under the Celeste Fig tree. These things, those moments, will shield me somewhat from the harshness I suspect will hover through the day.

These days that are nearly unbearable; they dangle like storm clouds, threatening and dark, offering no solution just hounding and taunting, back and forth, back and forth with narcissistic drama and loosely formed opinions… It is my wish that we all look for solutions before we all fall apart. I hope to find my small way to make a difference, a difference that chooses no “side”, except the side of humanity.

I want to listen, I want to gather the correct information, I want to hear you so that I can formulate my own thoughts…

There’s the sun. I will stop now and close with my humble offering, a  quote by Israelmore Ayivor. Who knows, it might help if applied to this landscape of disagreement. 

“Be polite in your speeches. Good information rudely communicated will make no positive difference.”

Figs and Fragments…

I stood at the oldest of my Celeste Fig trees and ate a few ripe figs, warm from the mid June sun. They were tasty, but precocious figs, by my estimation. Just last summer, my sister, Susan, settled the fig arrival conundrum…”They are usually ready around Byron’s birthday (July 10),” she declared and, for me, wrote in stone. But this year….hmmmm, not so? I cannot blame it on a warm winter; it snowed here in the deep Deep South. I don’t know the answer, but what I do know is that I will always think of Susan when I stand under my Celeste Fig tree and enjoy a fat warm fig in summer. It will be in the still of the morning when dragonflies are feasting and the sun is not too high or too hot… It will be a gift she has left me with. Although beautiful,  the memory accentuates this hole in my heart, this void in my life, these tears on my face…I am having one of those days…

It is a day in June, the month I knew would be my most difficult. We were both born in June. I was first by years, 1954, and she was second, 1958.  She, a Gemini, me, a Cancer…8 days apart on the calendar but constellations apart in personalities…the years and the differences were initial barriers we overcame and, eventually, turned into strengths; I suppose we became compliments of one another. Our relationship evolved, it took time and many trials but, as most families can confirm, there was always the bond of love and as you know, it conquers all.

It is “one of those days” for me, a day that you are familiar with  if you have lost someone you love, a day that pops up now and then…grief knocks at your door and will throughout time, uninvited and unexpected and I have decided, it is best to just let it in, to go with it. I will and I will feel better in a bit. It is very difficult to be without her, she grounded me and she loved me like only a sister can and I her…

I think something that brought on this wave of loneliness was a moment in my little chicken yard. I was in the exact spot I stood 3 months ago at 3 in the morning watching the full moon wane and mesmerized by the light it cast on the early spring growth, all the while, unbeknownst to me, my sister was passing, transitioning. I was there, in the same spot, yesterday in the late afternoon and my mother’s four o’clocks were open and had overtaken the fragrance of the outdoors. I stood there once again and I became so lonesome for her and my mother. Anyway, I am glad to have these strong and powerful moments, they force me to stop and just remember and to feel those feelings of love for her.

I don’t mean for this post to be a downer, it is just an expression of a basic human hurt that we all experience. For me, writing and remembering help to pull me along. I feel better now. For the most part, her memory is a beautiful expression in my heart but now and then, my heart hurts. I have learned to just go with it and after a few tears (and sometimes words), I feel better…

p.s. I watched the Secret Life of Bees late last night. 

 

p.s….I do not know where you are on your spiritual journey but for me, I look to Nature for many answers and signs. A week after Susan passed, a female cardinal came to my window and she has visited many times since. Right after I posted this blogpost, she came again…