Category Archives: autumn

the garden shed

 

 

 

shed

The little red garden shed continues to “go away”. It is a bit difficult for someone like me to dismember the years this little building has served me. The butterfly nets from long ago still hang on the pegboard and the little fish bowl still sits on the shelf. Little by little we are undoing it. With its dismantle comes the memories. I have found my mom’s “Bobbing for Apples” for Halloween bucket with a hole in it leaning against a rotten wall, and a scattering of clay pots, fishing poles and tomato stakes stashed in corners all pulled together with cobwebs and years of old narrative. It has had its life.

 It will come back as a garden shed once again but with new wooden walls painted red and a tin roof. It will also, I am hoping, have a large chicken coop attached to one side of it – that is what I wish for. I will then use my existing coop for broody hens and baby chicks. In all of the years I have kept chickens, I have never had baby chicks from my hens….maybe this spring?

It seems appropriate that our little garden shed comes down in the fall, Nature’s season of death and dying, and will, hopefully, be complete with fresh paint and baby chicks in the Spring when Nature wakes up once again and recreates Herself.

As autumn tries (and fails) so persistently to arrive here in the Deep South I have made a barnyard discovery, I think. It is about my rooster. He came after me today, an actual attack (scary). I suppose the abrupt hostility of the rooster, one I have had since he was 1 day old, must have something to do with mating and maturation. I don’t know this, just observing his possessiveness and aggression towards any threat to his flock. It’s all good, I totally respect him and the job he was born to do but I will have to be more careful when I am near the hens. He seems to prefer the sneak attack and the backs of my legs are his target. Also happening in the “barnyard” … my Americana finally laid her first beautiful blue egg.

rooster

 

“Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable…the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street…by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese.”  Hal Borland

I am waiting for both…

b u

p s

my chickens

long ago

long ago

As autumn tries (and fails) so persistently to arrive here in the Deep South, I have made a barnyard discovery, I think. It is about my rooster. He came after me today, an actual attack (scary). I suppose the abrupt hostility of the rooster, one I have had since he was 1 day old, must have something to do with mating and maturation. I don’t know this, just observing his possessiveness and aggression towards any threat to his flock. It’s all good, I totally respect him and the job he was born to do but I will have to be more careful when I am near the hens. He seems to prefer the sneak attack and the backs of my legs are his target. Also happening in the “barnyard” … my Americana finally laid her first beautiful blue egg. Keeping chickens is so educational…I am not kidding. blue-egg

The little red garden shed continues to “go away”. It is a bit difficult for someone like me to dismember the years this little building has served me. The butterfly nets from long ago still hang on the pegboard and the little fish bowl still sits on the shelf.

shed

now

 

“Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable…the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street…by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese.”  Hal Borland

I am waiting for both…

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p s

 

"How did that happen?"

Life is very different for me now. I wake up on a Saturday morning and I am not scrambling a dozen eggs and juicing OJ; I am making coffee and writing. They are gone, far away gone, from Colorado to the Cresent City. Elizabeth is still here, finishing up the last hoorah but on this Saturday morning she is in Lafayette taking SAT – something she needs to move her on. “On”, will be far away too, it seems. Next year, they really will be all gone. Hmmmm. It is a strange, but good, feeling, kind of mellow.
 The first thing I ask myself on this morning of semi isolation is “How did I do that?” I cannot conceive of waking up to five kids every morning and getting this house in motion. It seems my instinct of survival has blocked that from my memory – too much to absorb, too much to think about? Funny about life, we go through passages almost blindly, doing what we need to do without question and then later, look back and say just what I have said, “ How did I get through that?’ I am not making this declaration in a negative light, it was great, it was magical, it was fulfilling; I just don’t know how I managed to see about all of those people.I’m really not a multi tasker kind of person – I am very, very laid back. I do remember cooking – alot. I also remember the seemingly endless pile of clothes in the laundry room.Honestly, I thought I would live my entire life in that room – forever!  And I do remember the conscious decision to put away my paintbox for those years. I realized early on that that would cause me frustration – to begin a piece and have to go deep into the night to finish it – not worth it. Instead, I think those years and my children gave me inspiration and I think they will manifest themselves in my art – it was the right decision for me.

Anyway, it is early November and I have the day to do as I please – this is a very new deal for me. I am going to enjoy this little piece of freedom for sure but I will always miss my busy home when they all were here and my day was filled with the most important activity of all, being “mom”.

I think of a quote by Jackie Kennedy and hope that I somewhat hit the target, but more than that, I hope they all know I tried my best on that one chance I got ,  just as all of you are…

” If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”
just a favorite pic taken on the 100 year old carousel at City Park in New Orleans  – a month before Elizabeth lost her grandmother, my wonderful mom. She was there on the little bench watching Elizabeth go around and around, each time waving as though the first time – this was a very difficult passage for me as “mom”…still is

 

So, whatever your stage in life is, I hope you are trying your best – no one is perfect, but everyone can be the best “them” (most of the time :)).
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looking ahead without falling behind

The moon is somewhat of a sliver tonight and the air is heavy but soon there will be a front that moves in and tomorrow morning will be crisp and fall – like. I look forward to that.

 I felt somewhat discombobbled today. All day I had thoughts going on in my head, words I wanted to put together to tell you something but I was not here. Now, I am here and the words have vaporized. It is so difficult for life to align itself, for everything to be synchronized; components seem to be missing many times. Or are they? Maybe we just don’t see them.

The fronts are struggling to find their way into this delta but change is in the air for certain. The ground is mottled with intensely colored leaves and the woods are tinted with ambers and burgundies, all under an azure sky that darkens suddenly now instead of the slow dimming brilliance of the summer one– Nature is busy preparing this glorious season. It is the last autumn of childhood for me; next fall only Skip and I will remain here in this house, everyone will be far away in school and at work. It is just as it should be but somehow, so challenging a passage for a mother to go through. They were all just upstairs playing or sleeping, rumbling around through childhood, a safe time I thought would never end. Now, it’s a plane ride to see them and a faceless voice when I hear them. They are (wonderfully) grown. Once again, I think of my mother and something she told me. When the twins started Pre –K, I was feeling like this – happy but shadowed by melancholia – and she enlightened me by referencing her own path as mother and told me how she looked forward to each new chapter of our lives. I suppose it is the best way to look at life, to focus on what is up ahead and just use the rear view mirror for an occasional reminder of how wonderful those yesterdays were.

I go forward with that thought and share it with you while I fill my heart with the wonders of yesterday and wait to embrace the gifts of today. And like my mother, I will celebrate each new stage and try to keep my sentiment on the pages of this blog – I so thank you for sharing this place with me and allowing me to get soppy  sometime .
A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.
Honore de Balzac

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someone is watching

October began yesterday, and I, like you, wonder just how much faster time can travel. I do look forward to this month of Halloween, autumn leaves and ripe citrus on the trees but I am a bit concerned about how quickly it all happens. I feel like I was just planting zinnias.

The cloudy sky hid the rising Harvest Moon Saturday night. This is something that makes me a bit sad – it only happens once a year and, like Sally telling Linus, “I missed it!”

I wanted to post something this morning – there is something about early mornings that make me reflective and “writerly”. I can so easily go right to ranting and that is a faux pas with my goals for this blog so then I jump to nature and what is happening with her but then I look deeper and go into my real thoughts – thoughts brought on by October, time, and nature, and decide to tap out a few lines about that confusion of contemplations.

 It seems each time I turn the page into a new month, I take a look back, sometimes way back and sometimes just a bit back. This makes me realize that things in our heads seem better than things in real time. It’s funny how we can shuffle through the muck of our yesterdays and just allow the good stuff to rise, discarding those unpleasantries and discomforts and all those “problems” we had. I feel certain my memories of late Octobers of childhood are far better than the actual time. I love thinking about it though – it is as it should be, these places from yesterday that warm our todays, that wrap their arms around you and make you feel good – what could be wrong there and why do I need to be reminded of those nasty spots in my life anyway – I got the lesson and moved on – done.

 I write a lot about memories, I suppose it looks as though I live in the past but I really do not, I reflect on the past, a lot. It is somewhat of a guide book for me, it is a “learn by example”.It is a gift from people like my parents that keeps on giving. I was blessed with many great teachers in my life – I am not referring to the classroom sort – and those teachers are alive and dwell inside of my head, teaching. I also realize the importance of what I do and how I handle situations in my life because somebody is watching and someone will remember. Our history is a very valuable tool, perhaps our most valuable. There is no way to know what is ahead, so I do look behind and try to prepare, all the while knowing somebody is “watching” and I too, will one day be the “teacher” in someone’s head.

Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.
Robert Fulghum

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Magic and the Moon

I wait impatiently for the coolness of autumn to find us way down here along the Gulf Coast. It seems to be delayed, as late September is feeling too much like August. The Full Harvest Moon will light up the night on the 29th and I know I will stand in the field where my garden is and wait to see it rise just over the trees and once again, be in awe. This is a ritual that began in my youth; there is something about the moon rising and the sun setting that puts me in a special place; it is a miracle I can easily enjoy and count on.
I think I may be the only person on the planet that would have rather no one land on the moon. I loved the mystery, the romance, the way my imagination could roam on that far away sphere when I was a child. I suppose children don’t bother looking for the “man in the moon” anymore since there was a “man on the moon”. Shame on me, I suppose…

 
Speaking of miracles, I have had my life enriched this past week end by people I have never even seen and may never meet. It was a spiritual journey, one without the interruption and intrusion of ego – the best kind of experience.  The experience was pure, linked to my past, and generated a peaceful feeling that ripples and finds its way into my everyday life, the same feeling I get when I paint or write – just a spiritual connection that fills you up.

 I think of the word serendipity, a fun word that I love, “making discoveries by accident”, and think this would be a fitting way to describe the week end that just past, the one I write of – it was a magical accident. Sorry to be so vague but the details shouldn’t matter; the point is that being in spirit is where you find your truth and consequent happiness. The material things your ego strives for keeps you on the wobbly surface of life and can never give you pure joy – it is as temporary and fleeting as the stuff you buy with it.

Anyway, I hope you look more towards those places in your life that deal with essence and worry less about those places that deal with acquisitions.
And I hope Fall will soon arrive in South Louisiana!
 
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Autumn reminders

I’ve been “away” for awhile – I have been doing many housekeeping things and painting like a mad man. And while on my journey, autumn has peeked in. It was my mother’s favorite season and is now, Elizabeth’s favorite. I , on the other hand, have never been able to decide favorite anythings – especially favorite colors and seasons – I love them all equally – they are kinda like people, all unique and making their own  contribution.

 I do think a lot about my mom during this season, however. My thoughts are about food and her kitchen and my boys when they were little and in the woods behind her house. Those first cool snaps caused me to dig for funny little hats to cover tender little ears and warm socks and shoes to spend the day outside in – I can still so easily imagine all of that. I know I must have had some “troubles” during those years but it’s funny how time has taken them away and has left behind only the warmth. Time is indeed a healer of all things. I do miss those days, days when you knew that there was someone  there to watch over you and to guide you – it’s a difficult task losing that, at least in the physical sense.These first days of fall are reminders of those  days of long ago – pleasant reminders. It’s important to me to make these days warm places to visit for someone else later, just as my mother did for me.
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October 15, 2010 – propped up

It seems fall has finally arrived. It is a relief to feel the coolness in the air that, not long ago, was thick with dampness. Perhaps we can open our windows now and feel the crispness that encourages us to knock down cobwebs and fluff pillows, for soon, the holidays will be here. The dawdling moments of summer have diminished and I see night falling earlier each evening, minute by minute. 
“Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies
a deeper blue, and nights that become suddenly clear and
chilled.  The season comes full with the first frost, the
disappearance of migrant birds, and the harvesting of
the season’s last crops.”
   Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis

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September 28, 2010 – gifts

I could never pick a favorite color or a favorite flavor or flower, but I can pick a favorite season –whichever one is just beginning – that is my favorite. Fall is here and, for now, it is my preferred time of year. I walked through the woods today and I saw Nature’s complimentary colors  – purples and yellows in the fields,  and felt coolness in the air that reminds me of yesterdays, yesterdays that my mind has tidied up and made just right, memories to connect me to who I was that made me who I am.  I look forward to these autumn days ahead and hope that I can focus on their gifts and ignore the negativity that tries to seep into my day . I will make a conscious effort to enjoy hearth and home during this season of harvest and bounty, never taking for granted the richness of my life.
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