boat gift x 2, from a dear Instagram friend, Holly Abston
where is the time going? where has it been? where will i be two months from now, three minutes, five years?
i've spent random snippets of time here at my mother's house sitting out back on her little patio, working on jewelry bits and pieces under the shade of a canvas umbrella that protects from midday alabama sun, and ushers in the evening sunset clouds with a veil, a filtered hush. my days here with my mother continue to be busy, from morning 'til night; my uncle's estate is detailed, with many trips to the bank, the lawyer, his house that my sister and i spent two full weeks sorting and emptying of old letters (!), photographs of people we never knew, places he visited that were never mentioned to us, for all those years. a steinway grand piano sits and waits quietly for a new owner. curtains are drawn. the garden fountain in his courtyard no longer spouts water from the lion's mouth. the only reflections in the mirror are my own, my sister's, the people helping us with the belongings he left behind. i dream of the cabin in the woods, up in my beloved north carolina mountains. i dream of spring there, a season i'll miss entirely for this year. once, i dreamed of mountain spring; now it is the cool-morning mountain summer for which i pine. i've been here in alabama for nearly three months. my cabin is not lonely - the neighbors check on it, pat the log walls on their sides, tell them that i'll be back soon enough. is the wood thrush singing for me? does the forest listen, when i am not there? one of Uncle Bob's belongings that i'll carry back home with me is a rattley old burr oak acorn, huge and hollow, save the dried nut that it is still held within; stuffed into the back of a desk drawer, it sat and waited all those years for me to bring it back out into the light: a bit of nature, pocketed by my non-nature loving uncle, forgotten for a long, long time. i'd rather have this than all the antique crystal and porcelain one man could in his mysterious lifetime possibly squirrel away. magnolia blossoms here have been magnificent, and plentiful; we are surrounded by them, and i can't stop myself from snapping off whole bunches of them to bring back for my mother to enjoy. i love the lemony scent, the waxy petals and leaves. huge, graceful, fragrant as a rose, i miss their grand presence when back home in western nc where magnolias are not standing at the corner of every shady yard.
i love the freshness that springtime brings. it came early, here in the deep deep south; i've listened to toads and frogs sing for three months, i've watched birds fuss from tree branches, i've recorded the songs of a mockingbird that loves to perch atop the chimney and listen to his own amplified voice as its notes glide down into the living room. i've watched clover blossoms rise and i've smelled the heady scent of clover and grass after it has been cut. i've encouraged the jasmine vines, scrubbed the bird bath, dumped dirt into clay pots and pressed pink zinnias and woodland violets deep into the black, black soil. i've felt like i've made a little dent, maybe, here for my mother's high stack of things that have been waiting to be done. i've gladly driven the car, cooked the meals, cleaned up the dishes, washed the sheets, walked the dogs, run the errands, emptied the garbage, poured the wine, poured a little more wine, made the dessert, shopped for groceries. somewhere in there, i've worked on my jewelry at odd hours here and there, sweating out in the 90 degree afternoons and loving the chance to listen to the all-day songs of mockingbirds and cardinals, the chatter of martins whirring in loopy circles overhead.
my mother does not mention or ask when i will be leaving. i do not bring this up to discuss. i am here. it is a gift to me, to be with her this much after so many, many years. i am mightily blessed to have her still, and wish it could be like this - the communing together, the laughing, the sharing, the bouncing back and forth of ideas - i wish it could be like this forever. but time rolls on. seasons change. trees bud and then flush into the deepest shades of green; flowers bloom; grass rises healthy and tall, and then that grass is cut. birds build new nests, they wait quietly tucked up in all that green. babies are born; babies grow; babies fly. they age. mamas age. i age. we all spin our wheels, we all live. we all decline, and then die. and life, this blessed life, goes sailing on. xo