I think I am in heaven. Really. And oddly, just a couple of days ago the place that I am so contentedly sitting right now would have been unbearable. It is amazing what a little time can do. I knew this day would inevitably come…it had to after all. After July comes August, then September, then October…that is the way it works. I’ve learned that if I can wait patiently during times that are less than pleasant, and keep in mind the sage words, “This too shall pass” that everything will work out. Tracy McMillan says, “Everything works out in the end…if it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end.” I really believe that. That doesn’t mean that once things SEEM worked out that it will stay that way! Hardly. We have respites…temporary places of satisfaction…small places to rest and reflect before there is something more than needs to be done or another lesson that needs to be learned. I hope that I will always, for as long as I live, be growing …heading somewhere new…expanding my horizons in a physical, in a mental and also in a spiritual way. The truth is, we cannot stay where we are…just like July has to move on to make way for the months that follow…and the leaves have to fall to make room for the new blossoms that are destined to come…and as much as I wish October could stay for a while…I know that it won’t. There will be dark times, cold times, bleak times…while I am a human being living on earth it is inevitable.But then that will pass too. Eventually. The knowledge of what I can expect because I have faith…the knowldge that I can hold on until there is a better day…that it is all a part of the journey keeps me from ever staying in a hopeless place for long. Joyce Meyer says, “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God, I’m not where I used to be. I’m okay, and I’m on my way!…Wherever it is we are headed, we are not going to get there any faster than God takes us. We must learn to do our part and trust God to help us enjoy the journey…I believe I change daily…this time next year I will be different from what I am now…the good news is that I have discovered the soul-satisfying secret of enjoying where I am on the way to where I am going.”
Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton sing “When I Get Where I’m Going…there’ll be only happy tears/ I will shed the sins and struggles I have carried all these years/ and I’ll leave my heart wide open. I will love and have no fear/ Yeah, when I get to where I’m going? don’t cry for me down here.”
But in the meantime…while I’m still down here…there are going to be times that come my way that I pray won’t stay around for very long.
After a hot and humid Southern summer comes not only the beginning of school and SEC football… but best of all seasons, in my humble opinion. And along with Autumn comes cool breezes and colorful leaves. The orange hues of Auburn, Tennessee, Florida…the gold of LSU, Vandy, Mizzou…the reds of Georgia, Arkansas, Ole Miss, South Carolina…the Crimson of Alabama, Mississippi State and of Texas A & M (so strange to include Texas and Missouri! Southeast? Oh, well. whatever.)… all the colorful jerseys mirror my favorite, colorful exciting time of year. The change from Summer to Autumn is more than a page turned over or removed from the calendar. It is an electric, energy change and charge. It is an I.V. to my weary, scorched, dehydrated self. Oh, and even though it looks like we should forget about them this year, (1-4 so far)we can’t forget Kentucky. Their blue is my favorite color, even though it isn’t very “Autumn-ish”… it can represent the crisp clear Autumn sky. Remember I said that October is my New Year? energy…electricity… color… coolness…a clear wide-open, ready for anything world.
So where am I that is so great? Where I have gotten to today…where I have landed as a spot of respite on my journey for the next little bit is on my own back deck… my own. That in and of itself makes it heavenly. And the cool temperatures that blew in with a rain last night chased all of the mosquitoes away… And as fortune would have it, before the rain came yesterday afternoon I FINALLY moved all of my potted plants and flowers to my deck, strategically placed them in happy spots, cleaned off the glass table tops. I was creating a space that I knew I would use. I will live out here unless it is over 85…under 55 or storming or I have to go to bed. Actually, I would probably sleep out here if there was a screen…but I have seen a racoon out here at night, and that kind of freaks me out a bit…so I probably won’t be out here in the dark either.
Before my outside retreat was ready for day time habitation, I had to remove leaves, limbs and a thousand little acorns.
Call me crazy, but I adore acorns. An acorn represents much more than an annoying nut to avoid stepping on bare-footed. For me an acorn represents a magical childhood. Picture a farm…rolling hills, several ponds and barns…mounds of hay to jump into…cornfields and tobacco fields…herding dogs, and rejected dogs that needed a home…wild cats, and a few domestic, yet always outdoor…dairy cows with their Mayfield black patches on white…an occasional pony. There are views from the high fields of bold, sometimes snow top covered, purple mountains majesty Appalachians. Envision huge oak trees in the front and the back yard surrounding a white farm-house. The trees in the front offer shade for a tottery metal swing set, a 100-year-old rotten wooden porch swing and precariously perched metal monkey bars(…sounds like junk, but one man’s junk can be a child’s treasure). One giant oak tree in the back holds a two or three-foot section of 2×6 inch board suspended by thick ropes looped over strong branches high above. The swing is wide enough to easily accommodate two small child sized butts. All of the trees can be used as hiding places for the many games of “Kick the Can”, or “Ghost in the Grave Yard”, or “Midnight Witch”. The Oak trees rain their acorns down on the corrugated back porch roof making a terribly wonderful racket. The oak tree babies are not a nuisance…they are gathered up into buckets and old gallon milk jugs….they are put inside of tricycle baskets and glass canning jars and aluminum pie crust plates. They are the money traded for bubblegum and candy and gasoline at our pretend store. They ARE the bubblegum, and the candy that we pretend to eat and the gasoline that fuels our Big Wheels and Crazy Cars. They are animal feed for our pretend animals. They are our meals at our pretend restaurants. They are fences and gates and hedge rows built to keep in our pretend livestock. They ARE our pretend livestock. They are worth more if they have their caps still on. they are worth the most if they are connected together…the more to a bunch the better. They are cute if they are tiny and freakish if they are large. They are edible, but pretending to eat is preferable because they taste terribly bitter. The uses are endless. The games were hours on end of pure imagination.
Mark Wills, another country singer (imagine that!) sings in “19-something” ” It was 1970-something/ In the world that I grew up in/ Farrah Faucett hair-do days/ Bell-bottoms and 8-track tapes/ Lookin’ back now I can see me/ And oh, man did I look cheesy/ But I wouldn’t trade those days for nothin’ It was 1970 something.”
Yes, that is when I grew up…was born in 1970. Before anything really. No computers, cell-phones, video games, i-pads..before 3-D or HD TV.
There was NBC, ABC, and CBS… they went off the air about midnight…played the national anthem before signing off … then until dawn there were colored bars or static and the unceasing, continuous “eeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhh” that comes with “this is a test of the emergency broadcast system.”
There were only cartoon on Saturday morning. There were the shows that were too taboo for me to watch – “Three’s Company…Maude…Soap”. My favorite shows were the Classics – The Munsters, The Adams Family, The Three Stooges, The Little Rascals, Leave it To Beaver, I Love Lucy…Gilligan’s Island. And at night Love Boat, Dallas, Dukes of Hazzard…and Fantasy Island, although honestly A LOT about Fantasy Island CREEPED me out.
I watched a lot of TV… too much I am sure. But when I played, I played hard…and I used my imagination.
I am not going argue about what time it was best to be a kid…I only know what I had and what my kids have and I am certain they would all say that my childhood was archaic. But I have to say that, in my opinion, too many details, too realistic graphics, constant access to anything anytime can not foster the kind of imagination that comes with creating something from nothing…from creating an intricate life with shops and stores and restaurants and barns and houses and pets and friends…money, transportation…a barter sytem…all from acorns.
I am sentimental. I am sensitive and silly and I suppose some people might say I am sriously stupid. But I like simple. ( I also like alliteration:))
I wouldn’t like to live in a place with no diversity…been there, done that. And I don’t want to wipe away the good progress that we have made in so many areas. I don’t want to go back to Mayberry…or 1970-something. But I do want people to know what it is like to have silence…no noise or distractions…a place to be able to hear a heart beat or a child laugh or a bird call or God’s voice. I want people to stop…to be alone but not lonely…to be still long enough to feel the presence of God. I will leave you with the words of another country song:)
“Sometimes it feels like this world’s spinning faster than it did in the old days. So naturally, we have natural disasters from the strain of a fast pace. Sunday was a day of rest. Now, it’s one more day for progress. And we can’t slow down..’cause more is less…It’s all an endless process…Sometimes I hear this old earth shoutin’ through the trees as the wind blows. That’s when I climb up here on this mountain to look through God’s window. Now I can’t fly but I got two feet that can get me high up here…above the noise of the city streets. My worries disappear.” Rascall Flatts
That is where I am today. UP on my own mountain top. Above the noise. On my OWN back deck enjoying my New Year. A temporary respite until the next thing comes to shake the ease of the moment. But how will I face what comes? With dread or with the knowledge that it is all part of the journey to where I am going. I don’t know where I am going…exactly. I don’t know how I am getting there EXACTLY… or what route I am taking EXACTLY. I am going to trust each day to bring me what I need to get me where I need to go. I hope I will see you on the way, and that you will know that magic can come from the most unlikely places…that a tiny acorn can grown up to be something special…forever. A seed can grow…and from that one tree there are so many possibilities.
Tomorrow in my series “Less than 1200 words”, I will include some of my favorite quotes to think about for the week…or month…or year…or life.