...no, no, not that kind. (But you clicked, hah!) Hey, even *I* know what sells 😉
Last night I actually got off work before dark! While it was a baking, sticky, humid day, the evening turned nicely. I was able to spend time outside, doing a bit of weeding, some sweeping and some soaking up of a sunset. I rarely get these pleasures during the week due to my job. Weeding and sweeping might not sound like ‘pleasure’ to you, but I do find it there. You’d have to read Berry’s “Economy and Pleasure” to understand perhaps.
As I was weeding and watching lizards eat each other – well, technically, a gecko eating baby lizards, grabbing my camera to capture emerging roses, sniffing Plumeria on the breeze, I pondered my few very close friendships. I am a thinker (perhaps, an over-thinker…) I was trying to find the connections between the people that I am so close to. Those people who have settled into my heart and who are secure there despite time or other constraints.
My best memories of my youth all involve things outdoors. Surrounding the tawdry events back there are some wonderful things. I recall planting and harvesting; the smell of warm, humid earth. A calf that my grandparents raised, the wetness of its nose and the incredibly long lashes that it had. Silkie chickens running loose in their yard (and subsequently being eaten by ‘coons). Camping trips on Jekyll Island, where I touched the tent wall during a rainstorm after being told not to 🙂 Seeing mountains, prairies, giant redwoods, Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon, Salt Lake and the Grand Tetons, on a six-week road trip from one coast to another. One particular memory stands out from that trip over all of them. Straight up rock walls on either side of the highway, with a pebble-strewn dashing creek making its comfortable burble along the way, the water icy cold. Oodles of chipmunks, brand-new to me. I never wanted to leave that place. I walk barefoot on a pebbled creek bed for the first time there. Although it is forty-odd years ago, I remember it vividly – so I never did leave. Staying in the Ocala National Forest in a house older than anyone living, with a tin roof, the rain alternating from pelt to caress to whisper while I lay on my first ever feather bed. Exploring ruined homesteads overrun with vines and moss was like being inside of a Sprite bottle – the hush and the light.
Everything good in my life came from the earth – sounds, sights, scents, memories. All of this ran through my mind while thinking of my friends. They all love earth; they are passionate about it. They all garden. They are all artists too, in varying forms. One a sketch artist and amazing photographer. One a painter and restorer of antique furniture. Another a pending writer and excellent painter of natural landscapes . And yet another a talented and published widowed writer.
I make my deepest connections with those that love the earth and who cherish the things both in it, and upon it. What do these things have in common, I wondered? Two things – faith and wonder. To plant a seed and trust it will grow takes faith. Faith in things continuing as they always have; faith in what you know and what you don’t know. It also takes wonder, to garden. Most of all, it takes wonder to be creative and expressive, to invoke life from memory or imagination. To see a salt marsh,and color it with alive from one’s memory. To render a weedy seed head, and capture its architectural form and showcase its beauty. To see an old piece of furniture, envision a new life skin for it, and then send it to live with me. To take an adventure, and turn it into a story after rolling with laughter as that story was being told. The ones that I love have a child-like appreciation of all that is good, noble, and living.
My late husband and I shared this same joy, the small sense of adventure in living things. He never minded when I ogled salamanders, took fourteen photos of a blooming Bloodroot, protected baby birds, and he even hopped fences to take camera in hand to capture a wildflower on a hike. We shared silent awe at cavernous waterfalls, touched and felt our way through the woods and rocks, stalked armadillos over sandy trails, admired views from atop roadside rest stops. He took the time to help me overcome some very deep-seated fears. It is with him, and from the loss of him, that my passion for living is ignited.
With all my friends except one, due to distance and funding, I have shared time on the earth with joy and pleasure. Hiking a Midwestern plain hunting rose hips, sitting by a crackling fire near a lake, watching wild bison roam and gathering wild grass seed. Digging deep in a garden and assisting with harvesting and weeding, sharing a vision of a future home while walking red clay paths, setting fence around a garden. Hiking two properties and digging hands into long-dead tree trunks for black gold, gazing at and gauging creeks, surreptitiously observing deer with whispered excitement, watching shooting stars by a campfire. By their connection with the earth, shared roots have been birthed, intertwined and nurtured. To me they are as the earth – steadfast, deep, rich, warm and full of promise.
All of these thoughts kicked off as I approached my apartment, sending Gulf Fritillaries and Zebra Longwings alight. Marveling at waist-high ferns, and the slanting sunlight as it bounced off of red-toned plants, Sheer sensuous pleasure went through me as the scent of Jasmine, Plumeria and Tea Olive greeted me. I am passionate about life- you will find that in my musical appreciation, my photography, my writing and my poetry – and so are my friends. They value, treasure, and nurture life; in their families and friends, which I am privileged to be numbered among.
So many times I write about hard things, difficult things, painful things. Today I wanted to share with you joyful things, moments of contentment, warmth, stability – the shrug of friendship.
Life is fleeting, as I now know well after being widowed so young. I encourage you to stop and look around you. Pick up a phone and call a friend, or send a quick E-mail. Tell those that you value, that you value them. Don’t let it wait, ever. Be passionate about the people that matter to you. You do not know when they may be gone – or you.
To my friends that read me – yes you, I mean you – I love ya 😉
Keep smiling. Open your eyes. Breathe deeply. Love hard. Forgive quickly. Stop, and smell or touch something living. And pass the wonder on.