Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sustenance and Solace

As the sun lowers in the sky

I take up my stance in my patch of earth
The good smell of dirt fills my nostrils
Spade after spade of brown friable dirt

The shovel bites into the earth
Spade after spade of brown friable dirt
The sweat beads upon my brow
"From the dirt you came and to the dirt you will return"

He used to meet us here
"In the cool of the evening"

All my people turned the dirt
From here came their sustenance and their solace 

Grandma, her bonnet shielding her head and thick brown stockings upon her legs
From the dirt she grew faint images of the Garden 
Bits of the bounty and the beauty

Leather worn skin housing a heart 
tuned to the One who had exiled her from the Garden

A worn copy of her invitation to the Throne
graced her bedside table
Spade after spade of brown friable dirt
The sweat beads upon my brow

Grandma peers out from across the divide leaning upon her hoe

Encouraging me on

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Everyday Pictures

Lenten Roses

Snow Drops

I came home from work one day recently and I was pretty exhausted.  I have a difficult schedule on Monday and I had errands to do on the way home.   When I drove into the driveway I noticed that lots of birds were out.  I spotted one bird that was unfamiliar to me.  I was suddenly energized by my interest in in the birds in our yard.  I pulled out my camera to try and grab some shots.  Amazing how our tiredness can be "fixed".  

Mr. Crow was perched on the very top of one of the trees in the woods.  With birds the shot has to be taken quickly or they will flit away before you have a chance to focus. 
Mockingbirds don't seem to be a perturbed by my blundering noises which make them much easier to photograph.

Blue Bird 
Dogwood blossoms
Violets are blooming profusely all over our yard.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Sisters

The sisters and their husbands...

Mama and Daddy
My mama was one of six children.  Her brothers and sisters were incredibly important to her.  My mama  talked to her sisters on the phone pretty much every day. Our phone rang off the hook on a regular basis and Mama would come close to breaking her neck to answer the phone before someone hung up.  There was no caller ID in those days.  The telephone was her entire social media. Mama would sit for hours with that old black rotary phone stuck to her ear talking to Aunt P or Aunt C who lived in the closest city to us.  Mama would then talk to Aunt J and Grandmother who lived in the next little burg on the other side of us.  We lived  in between those little cities and it wasn't a long distance call for Mama either direction.  That way they could all stay in touch every day without long distance charges.   Mama was disabled and it was hard for her to get out often.  Her sisters and her own mom were her main contact with the outside world.

The sisters' catch phrase was a molasses slow "uh hum", that they all said  repeatedly in conversation to each other.  I never really paid much attention to what Mama was saying over the phone, but they shared all of the important and unimportant details of their lives. On that well worn black phone recipes were passed back and forth, information about their kids, spouses, extended family members, and former neighbors became fodder for conversation.  They also talked about the soap operas that they watched.  They discussed romance novels and the important transfer of hand me down clothes and extra garden produce.  They listened and they validated each other's lives.  They were a genuine support system to each other.

 As far as I can remember Mama was the only one of her sisters who never took up smoking.  My aunts took Mama in the bathroom one day when they were at our house to try and teach Mama how to smoke.   They were all smokers and they wanted her to be able to enjoy it to.  No one back then took the dangers of smoking very seriously.  I doubt that daddy would have ever gone and picked Mama up any cigarettes, so it is just as well that she failed at that task.

The sisters came alive when they were together.  It was a talking and belly laughing extravaganza.  Mama was the least expressive of the sisters and the most private.  From my aunts I saw glimmers of my mama packaged just a bit different.  I saw strong women who loved their kids and who knew what it was to stay  married in the good and bad times.  Each of the sister  had real difficulties in this life.  They experienced heartbreak, sickness and suffering in some form or the other.  I never knew them to bicker or bad mouth each other.  Whatever life had to offer, they kept their chins up and a joke on their lips.  They stood in hospital rooms and funeral homes but refused to let that keep them from living.  They just kept on making strong coffee and enough food to drown any sorrow or at least put you in a food induced coma.

By mid life after birthing their babies into the world they were packaged on the larger size.  I think it was necessary though because their hearts were so incredibly big that it took extra large packaging to handle all of the love and compassion that each of them had. Their lives aren't cataloged on Wikipedia and the world doesn't know their names, but their children and grandchildren have them permanently engraved on their hearts. I miss each of them.  I just never imagined the day would come when every single one of them would leave us behind to carry on.  I don't need some kind of celebrity role model to teach me how to be a woman.  I had my mama and my aunts.