coming to back down to alabama is, to me, coming home to comfort and nourishment for the heart and soul. lord. i'm sitting out here on the screened porch, under an old wooden ceiling fan, trying to wax eloquent and my father is continuing to interrupt my thoughts with comments about the word "home", as he gazes over here to my laptop screen, and about the spider lilies sitting here on the iron table. i can't concentrate, and he knows this, laughing every now and then at himself, bless his heart. but comment he continues to do, and i love that i am still able to sit out here in his presence and be the daughter that he needs me to be: attentive, and present. period. he drinks in my company like a thirsty pup, and i know how treasured these moments will be to me once they are gone forever. just now he said to me that every time he says something, as i'm trying to write, that i develop a fidgety "itch" on the back of my neck. are you smiling with me? i'm smiling as i write this, as i listen to him talk about the clarity of the little house on the hill in the photograph below.
do you love, as much as i do, the lovely liz lamoreaux meditation flags that i ordered for my mother? do you love how the soft afternoon light filters through those vintage cotton and linen handkerchiefs, how the word "home" shows up like a beacon? my mother has been working for days on end, straightening up her studio that, throughout the years while she still worked full time, gained more and more clutter until this week she could no longer stand it. so in the mornings, before alabama hot september days make an upstairs room unbearable, she is sorting and pitching, hanging and straightening, and i envy her this new crisp space where everything is in its rightful place. "home is where the heart is", daddy says now to me, three or four times. indeed.
this morning i stepped outside, early, to take a few photographs of the flowers that grace a small deck just outside this porch - huge clay pots of crayon colored zinnias, purple astors, yellow mums. there was a little lizard friend within the feathery worn leaves, staring back at me; and when i showed the image to my mother, she asked me to come see if her tree frog friends were hiding down in their favorite peace lily. i love these photographs, so much - the green of summer, radiant still, and little lives that blend in with the colors that surround them.
what do they see when they look back at me?
what do they feel with their tiny little toes?
what colors speak to them, what do they feel when they see the different variations of green?
i continue to sit here on the porch, quiet under the fan, my father watching as i load the photos onto the computer and up on the screen. "you can go home again", he says, intentionally misquoting thomas wolfe. i know this to be true, and for that i am blessed. it is as much a pleasure for me to be here with my aging parents as it was for me when i was growing up - if not more so. and i try to be there for them when they tell me their stories (in daddy's case, over and over again) and react as freshly as i did the first time i heard them years ago. i sit in close proximity of my father, just to be a presence for him, of someone who loves him dearly, who feels his love radiating back to me. and i show you, at his request, the photograph he wanted me to take to share with my readers, of the magnolia tree off to the side of the yard where he goes out and waters every evening for an hour or so. see? now, go and call your parents, or your elderly aunt, or even your sister, brother, child. tell them how much you love them and that you wish you were sitting under a creaking porch fan, listening to them tell you their favorite memories and stories. xo