Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wind Work and Blackberry Winters

    It's after ten p.m. and I'm thinking about going to bed. My son tells me that he prepares to go to bed by thinking about sleeping and how good the bed is going to feel and just in general gets his head around the act of sleeping before actually getting into the bed. He is, he says, asleep as his head hits the pillow. I'm not sure if his father prepares himself the same way, I just know that by the time I am ready to start thinking about going to bed, he is already way ahead of me, sound asleep. While I am lying cocooned with my blankets and pillows, I do wind work. That is what my grandmother, Ms. Nancy Douglas, known by us as Mammy, called it. Wind work. Wind, as in that unseen entity (only seen if it contains leaves, sands or fluttering birds in its thrall). Work, the thing our hands and minds do when they can't be still. Why I've built patios and retaining walls with my wind work as I lie abed, waiting on the quieting of my spirit to allow me to sleep. I've designed gardens and planted bulbs, I've outlined complete areas ready for planting and envisioned the pruning of the trees.  I have written the Great American Novel, revised it, spell checked it and retitled it.  This is wind work.  Pretty soon I am relaxed enough to allow my body to slip into that healing coma of sleep and prepare me for another day of joy in the garden.

     Last April I had some pretty serious surgery on my left foot called a Pantalar Fusion.  I had to keep my foot  and leg elevated by laying flat on my back for the first three months.  No weight was allowed on it til October.  It was a miserable summer.  With Mac having to wait on me hand and foot (pun intended) he had no time for my flower beds.  He did work that garden pretty though.  So this spring finds me reclaiming my flower beds, clearing the patio and planting...and this is not wind work,this is back breaking manual labor.  I am loving every second of it, though.  The Iris are blooming, thanks to my weeding and loosening of the soil around them.  They were nearly to deep to bloom until I pulled a lot of the surrounding soil from around the tubar.
.  The beautiful sweet faced pansy has always been a favorite of mine and I plant them with the ever fierce Snapdragon.  They complement each other so well.  Our friends Billy Eddins and Letha Moore were over a couple of Saturday's ago and Billy mentioned that we were having a Blackberry winter.  I remember hearing this as a means a cold snap while the blackberries are blooming...and are they ever blooming!  The temperature that morning was a brisk 41 degrees.  In other words, cold!  The roses have enjoyed the longer than usual have I.  

     Well, I think I might be ready to go to bed now.  Wind work is calling...lets see what visions I can call up.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Button Can Memories

It has been a rainy week for us here in Chesterfield County, and we needed every drop of it.  See God, not one complaint out of me.  I always fear that if I sing the old "rain rain go away" song, it will do precisely that.  l thought about the rainy days of yesterday and how we spent the time stuck inside.  There were only  three channels back then children, and just like today when we have over a hundred channels, there was nothing on.  My grandmother Nancy Douglas was a teacher til the day she walked over to the other side.  She had lessons to teach us all and most of my memories of her involve a lesson she taught us.
Rainy days in the summer involved teaching us patience.   I know that most of you had experience with a button can.  Mammy's button can had place of pride on the bottom shelf of the right hand side of the pantry.  (It was a large Prince Albert can, not the smaller hand held can ,for easy cigarette rolling.)  Buttons were expensive items then as they are now.  Worn out clothes had many uses.  The brightest of the material went into separate rag bags for quilting and rug making, the faded and threadbare into the bag for cleaning rags.  The buttons went into the can.  This was true recycling before it became the chic thing to do.  So on rainy days, Mammy would take down the button can and dump the whole thing onto a sheet spread out on the handmade rag rug in the middle of the dining room floor.  We would be given large safety pins and allowed (?) to sort through the buttons and match them up.  We put our matched up buttons onto the safety pins and laid them aside.  There would be some amazing buttons in that collection, filled with  beauty and mystery.  Where had all these buttons come from in the beginning?  What stories could they tell?  We often exclaimed in true joy when we came across one that was too beautiful for words.  Hard for the youth of today to understand the call of a button.  I wonder what their button can memory will be when they hit their 60's?