It is 8:50 a.m. here in Alabama and it is a warm morning with clear blue skies. Up early, I went for a long walk and along the way began working over in my mind exactly what I want to share about growing up here in the southern United States when I get to Romania.
Never is it an easy thing for me. Yet some of the best things in life require a waiting time- Pecorino Romano, Brioche, wine, beer, Blanton’s… Yet these are things to be looked forward to, and therefore the wait is different; anticipation tempers.
Currently, I am waiting for the heat to break, the weather to change. I am waiting for a long, slow soaking rain that lasts all day and into the night. I want to hear the constant roll of thunder and the soil so sodden that it is feels like mush beneath my feet. You see, in the South we are on the verge of a possible drought; the ground in my back yard is so dry and cracked it resembles an ancient map.
When did I begin waiting for summer to end? When I was a child that was definitely not the case. I had mourned its nearing end and tried to stretch those last few days out as far and as long as I could.
I have friends who are waiting too -for other things. And I wonder, is it really wise to spend our days this way? What if yesterday was as good as it was going to get and we let it slip by while we were lost in want? Goes back to what my mother used to say about working on something you can be proud of while fitting in a few things you enjoy, here and there. “Makes the day worthwhile,” she would smile and say. Being hopeful is essential of course, but taking action is as well.
Maybe that’s why my summer projects overlap –because I can’t stand the in-between time. My moments of deep languid thought must come quickly, before I remember something else that needs immediate attention. There is this irritating necessity to be active. I tried meditating but I’m pretty sure it is not supposed to be a painful experience. So, I tell myself that when I am busy, my mind gets the same sense of peace and I’ve something to show for it.
I am waiting, too, on a visit from Isaac that isn’t coming anytime soon.
Recently, I’ve found myself padding an empty nest. Whenever I heard women speak of this in the past, I always shrugged and thought, Whatever! I am so busy, how could I complain over peace and quiet? Let me tell you, the first few weeks are a miserable thing to experience. I went through it to a degree when my daughter Anderson moved out at the young age of 17. But, her brother, Isaac was here to buffer that gaping hole her leaving created. He recently left for Troy University. And here I am, a momma without any chicks to tend.
Reminding myself I now have time to write, I gather my journals and scraps of papers (I’ve a tendency to make notes on the back of envelopes and receipts) and put Madeleine Peyroux on the hi-fi. The joy this brings works like a charm. (There is background noise of ice tinkling in a highball glass, the smell of a glorious amber liquid.) Memories join me and I begin rummaging through my old journals until I find the recollection there in writing.
I read it again. It takes me back. And, I smile.
Perhaps, there is nothing more detrimental, and yet necessary, to a woman’s heart than nostalgia.
Taken from a journal so many years ago:
And So It Goes…
the winds call out,
tugging and tempting with their persuasion,
to steal the beckoning sounds of a nearby farm-
of cows seeking some comfort, the drone of equipment where a
worker labors his heart for home. The winds lift them,
float them upward,
where they sing pleasantly upon my ears.
Place and rationale are easily forgotten;
engulfed in the warm blushes of sun and wind,
I stand languid in luxuries most pure
as the mind drifts off with daydreams.
Distant, sharpening booms ring out
so suddenly close upon the ears,
full of meaning and clarity-
startling, and yet expected.
how hopelessly he zigzags across open fields,
pursuing sanction in oaks that
alas, he will not reach.
And so it goes
that the young bond with the old,
the heart becomes one with the land
and the boy, through some strange passage,
is likened to the man.
With gaze seized upward,
I eye the not quiet green of the oak.
Harken the crackling dryness of leaves as a wind’s rustling therein
makes known their age!
They are ever slowly losing luster, yet refuse
release –like the mother,
observing childhood’s nearing end, stands fast
and clutches to bosom what cannot remain.
It is a time of between
as nature, in her ancient copious melee,
dances betwixt seasons, hesitant in relinquishing
summer’s sweet hold,
even as the glowing across the field grows dim.
With emotions sewn
like virgin woolen thread
unacquainted with fuller’s earth, unready
for the cast of dye, unreceptive
even for salty baptism in a lathered, timeless ocean-
I stand and watch
the fields receive their dusting from heaven.
out in the wide unbroken expanse of godly land,
that is not the drifting of weary leaves
seeking to rest their breadth upon warmed soil,
but rather the drifting of gentle down.
Elizabeth Mozley McGrady. Isaac’s First Dove Hunt, September 11, 2004
* Poem from WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, a memoir.
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We Share the Same Sky, a memoir