Yesterday was just one of those days that I felt productive, satisfied and appreciative. And so I woke up today with a smile and a stretch. Sleeping on a lumpy, bumpy hot pink, third hand futon is a test for my body’s restorative powers, lol!
I am so thankful for the opportunity to come back to Sunflower Solace; my employer could have said no. I am thankful that a neighbor allows me to use their home and internet, since what I estimated would work simply won’t handle the workload of the immense data transfer bandwidth that I utilize in the day-to-day work environment. I am thankful for people here whom I’ve known just a short time really, who have been so gracious, so thoughtful, so warm to me. When I reflect on people, I think of so many who have been good to me, and the others kind of fade into the background. I am thankful that I have a job that pays a decent wage. I am thankful for the well-seasoned wood that has heated my home amazingly when it’s been chilly here. And so much more.
This property is the first home that I have loved. It really is hard to think that it is not mine any more. Maybe because it is the first place that was ever all my own. But more likely it is because it is just an amazingly beautiful piece of land. It has an aesthetically pleasing component, like a home in a secret place, even though the house sits closer to the road than I like. But it’s not a busy road anyway 🙂 Some of the trees here have been around longer than I have and are still thriving. Some have toppled, some have been twisted out of the ground by tornadoes, and yet hundreds more appear each spring to try and join in on the little plot of ground, to try to grow and flourish and add their sentinel bodies to the mix for future generations. I tried to convey the meaning of this place to someone important to me, but I don’t know if I was successful.
Yesterday when I came home from a very demanding day at work, I still had ‘work’ to do here. The temps were dropping and I needed to make a fire. So I checked and cleaned out the wood boiler of ash. The new owners will need to get the flue cleaned next season I suspect. But the red oak I burn is fairly clean, especially since it’s no longer damp. Then I chose a few logs that I thought would be good for ramping up a slow burning fire. My kindling is still here from two seasons ago, so that, plus some wads of paper which threatens to overtake my life, and a fat lighter, got the fire going. It took me a while to learn about fire building, so my success this year pleases me greatly. Most of the credit goes to the condition of the wood I think, as my first two winters here my wood was pretty wet. I was so ignorant about so much when I arrived here, and I still have so much more to learn if I am ever to be successful in this kind of life again. The older you get, the more you realize you just don’t know! After the little fire got going good, I chose some thick, old logs, silver and heavy. Then I returned to the porch to watch the fading light. Pale pinks, lavender, baby blue and that particular shade of purple that signals dusk painted the sky above the treeline to the west. The birds were noisy in preparation for night, and one of my favorites, the wood thrush, was particularly vocal. Their call is amazing to me, the variety of sounds, some nearly metallic sounding. They are an unassuming looking bird, but their music is delightful. Towhees joined in, along with a downy woodpecker or two, and the cardinals, always the cardinals. I saw a hummingbird check the feeder as well. The smell of the fire was on the crisp air too, which always delights me. I just felt amazingly wonderful standing there, as the white dogwoods glowed in the fading light, surrounded by bird sounds. I’ve tried to relate this feeling to others, but only a few really ‘get’ it. It’s the time of day that your arms think of wrapping around the waist of someone you care about, of leaning into a partner, and just listening, breathing, soaking it up.
Work ran late, as my west coast customer had a lot going on last night. I had to stay and make sure all went well, so I was up later than usual. But as I snuggled down into my warm house, got the covers situated, the night closed with my favorite sound out here – the barred owls hunting and calling to each other. I thought perhaps they had changed territories, but no, there they were, calling to each other in the night sky. I fell asleep smiling big – warm, well-fed, and happy.
May all of you have such a day in the near future. May all of you feel deep contentment, even amid sadness. Reach for the good, savor it, guard it. Make your memories that will hold you until the next good thing, and re-visit them often.
“My life is not an apology, but a life. It is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
Be happy. It is your choice.