Monday, May 16, 2011

The Walk

For me the reward for being a mother and raising 4 children has been the grandchildren I get to play with, talk to, and mother.  While I love all of the kids Patience is more than just a grandchild for me.  She has always been precocious, and we are of like mind spiritually and mentally. 

For example when she was three Patience had an invisible friend named Patricia; they argued constantly, and Patience bossed her to the point of being intolerable; in fact, if she hadn't been an imaginary friend, I am sure Patricia would have moved on to a more courteous playmate.  Once I walked in to find Patience yelling at Patricia.  I told her if they couldn't get along Patricia would have to leave.  I forgot I was speaking to a three year old and I told her I didn't like Patricia.  Paysh immediately responded:  Gramma, you don't have to like Patricia, I like Patricia.  Fine.  I told her they needed to knock off the arguing and get along or they would stand in separate corners for fighting.

Needless to say,  Patience is the grandchild of my heart.  We watch movies together, critique each other's writing, laugh and argue companionably.  We have even attempted to take walks together.

When she was  5  or 6 years old I described a flock of sheep which I would drive by either going to work or driving home from work.  She immediately wanted to walk out to see them.  It was a beautiful day, late spring, lots of sunshine.  I agreed that it would be a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, walking out and showing this child what a field of romping lambs and grazing sheep was like.

Each part of a walk (the beginning, the middle and the end) has its own challenges.  Until this day the most difficult part of a walk for me was the start.  To get to the middle of a walk you must make it past the pathway which would easily lead you back to the house.  I had used it often.  Game called due to rain.  However, it wasn't raining, and I made it past the treacherous part, left at the corner and a short uphill walk toward the Abby.  I remember the fragrance coming from the trees we walked past, the blooming rose bushes, azalias and numerous other flowers scattered from yard to yard.  Once we made it to the corner by the Abby the first part of the walk was over and I was in no danger of caving in and turning back to the house.  Our  right turn would lead us past Treager's, a couple of farm houses and fields of hops.  There was also a lovely tumbled down barn which always called  to me.  One of the minor regrets in my life is that I didn't take enough pictures of it so I could paint my own rendition.

Once we reached the barn I began to feel like I had bitten off more than the little tyke and I could chew, but a great view of the field of sheep was only about two short rises and a curve in the road away.  We had been walking for about a half an hour at this point, stopping to look at everything.  But in addition to me wearing out my granddaughter I was beginning to feel the call of nature.  But to have come this far and have to give up?  The child wasn't even complaining.  It was all me.  So, a compromise.  We wouldn't walk all the way to the sheep, but we would stop at the turning point in the road with a view across the field.  We could always see  across to the farm where the sheep resided from there.

At last the point was reached and I was ready to lift Paysh up so she could see what we had come so far to see.  It had been a couple of days since I had driven out that way, but normally the only thing about the scene that changed was the weather, so imagine my surprise when the view was of the grass waving across the acres  and then to the farm across the road to the field, sheepless.  Gone.  Just gone.  They were not in the barns sprinkled among the buildings. In fact, the flock that had been there just the prior week was the last one that farm tended.  There hasn't been a ram, a ewe or a lamb on the property in all the years since then.  We were less than a week too late.

We were disappointed, but this was only the middle of the walk.  I still needed to get to the end and make it to the bathroom.  While it took most of an hour to get to the view point, the walk -- part run -- back was much quicker, Patience really had to move her short legs to keep up with me.

Finally, exhausted, we reached the corner by the Abby, and home was just a short two blocks away.  I count this part as the end of the walk, the part which takes forever to get to: home stretch.  Down the hill, under the cover of the blossoming trees to the street before home.  At last the short cut pathway.  No, not short enough, instead I would cut through the neighbor's yard and make it to my backdoor.  Thank goodness we didn't have fences.

I remember this as my long walk, the stress, although minor, and the physical pain anyone goes through when trying to cut off the urithra tube (do women even have one?) until a more convenient moment.  My walks now are smarter, taken a short distance from my car, which is never out of sight.  I love being out of doors.  But I prefer the comfort of my home.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Dogwood Tree

Dogwood Tree

I am oh, so happy to report Dad's dogwood has made it to it's first spring.  Having gone out to place the spinner I bought at the coast yesterday -- something with a hummingbird on it, of course -- I noticed the dogwood, standing where it has been since we planted it last September.  With all of the hopes, prayers and positive energy aimed toward this tree my thinking was 'How could it not survive?'

But for me, so much was pinned on the tree emotionally, this gift of love from my work friends, planted in Dad's memory.  Mom and Dad had tried more than once to place a dogwood on this property.  They said the trees wouldn't survive; but I wonder if they just weren't patient enough to wait for delayed blossoming.  Who knows? 

My sister Dawn, my dear friend and brother-in-law, Yo, and I planted the tree in a place where we hoped mom would be able to watch it as it blossoms each year.  I have spent countless times (well, at least 5) touching the branches, checking for life.  There had been definate changes, but no real sign of growth to my uneducated eye.  Pods on the tips of the twigs connected to the branches, stretching forth from the small (oh so small!) trunk which reached down into the earth with the tendrils of roots going where no man could see -- how could I really know if this design, which works so well for thousands of other people, would work on the property so lovingly tended by my father for twenty years.  The man had a light green thumb, great ideas, not a lot of follow through on anything other than pruning.

So this morning, having gone to place the spinner, I turned around and could see a spattering of leaves on this little guy.  It caught my breath.  And, while I have no proof, like the theme of The Titanic, I must believe that the heart does go on.