I just had such a clear realization that this who I am now…an old(er) woman in my reindeer pajama pants, a tie-dyed shirt, hiking boots, with the ensemble completed by my comfy, old faithful snowman bathrobe, outside filling up the bird feeders. And I’m so much more than fine with this. I’m contented, happy.
It’s Monday morning. I’m sitting on my porch and realize it’s quieter than most Mondays. It sounds and feels more like a Sunday, but it’s Memorial Day, the time for remembrance and honor, a day off work and school for many, a day of barbecues and picnics and the kick-off of the summer vacation season for others.
Even though this is a more somber holiday, and in fact I’ve often wondered if it’s appropriate to say Happy Memorial Day when we are honoring people who have died, there is that holiday expectant feeling in the air for me. It happens without intention. The occasional car I hear, I wonder, where are they going? What are their plans this day, this week?
The weather is cool, like earlier spring, so that I could almost use a sweater, as I have goosebumps on my arms. The begonias and Christmas cacti here on the porch seem none the worse for wear, though, after a chillier night and morning.
I love the mornings, the way the young sunlight filters through the trees, the glimpses of pale blue sky. I adore the stillness and quiet, though traffic is picking up, and I hear machinery running across the road somewhere, the occasional human voice and slamming door, then suddenly it’s quiet again for a brief few seconds, which seems right for a day of memorial. I’m alone, yet I’m not. Nature is all around, and its own little sounds of bird call and breeze are comforting and nurturing. The birds know nothing of Memorial Day as they sing and call and chirp and flit from tree to tree, nor the bunny as he basks in the sun over in the driveway, nor all the other little critters in the yard and trees, as Nature goes about another day.
I’m thankful for this day, this time, and for all those who gave their lives to help make this life possible for me.
Yesterday, I was reminded of this quote from Thoreau (a quote I’ve actually shared before):
“The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”
It wasn’t a rainbow, although I’ve seen my fair share of beautiful ones here, but as I was driving up my hill I caught a flash of yellow. I stopped the car and this beautiful Iittle goldfinch was sitting on the branch of a shrub right by the driveway, then 2 more flew over and the three of them went flying off together. I would have loved to get a photo, but I didn’t dare move and startle them. Besides, sometimes it’s okay to not have a picture but simply a memory, like a delicious little secret between Nature and me. I see lots of birds in my yard, but it’s very rare to see goldfinches and never that close. It was just such a perfect little unexpected moment as I went about my day. True harvest indeed.
I love this article about the “Rock City barns” from Smoky Mountain News SMNXtra, written by Cliff Kevill, especially this line:
“To spot one of these sentinels is to catch a glimpse of a time gone by when families in sedans and station wagons took to two-lane highways in search of adventure.”
Makes me feel nostalgic, bringing back lots of good memories. I come from a family, apparently going back a couple of generations, who liked to pile in the car and go on a ride — day trips, weekend getaways, Sunday afternoons. Later, after 4-lane highways made their appearance, I always wanted to go what I would call “the people way” — which meant 2-lane roads through small towns and the countryside in between, away from the highway. I always felt the 4-lane was boring and not too interesting to view out my backseat window. I still feel that way. These trips embraced western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, northern Georgia, and parts of South Carolina.
I can’t really think back about my life over the years without remembering road trips to special and beautiful places with family, both as a child and as an adult, and every one of them was an adventure, accompanied by a sense of anticipation and excitement. Who knew what the day might bring?
When my parents were in their 70s, I was the driver and they were the passengers, and we all still enjoyed taking off on an adventure of a day trip somewhere, usually involving at least in part a previously untraveled (by us) road as well as a fair amount of reminiscing. Now that my parents have passed on, these are precious memories I can hold on to.
Oh, and by the way, yes, I have actually been to Rock City.