Sunday hours at the river

There were three wonders to absorb my play time at the park. Gunpowder

1. Three oak trees clustered along the bank where we chose to sit. I have not yet identified them, but perhaps a reader knows. There seem to be a dozen species native to this state.

Oak 1   oak 2   Oak 3

2. Sweet gum trees. I had learned that the color of these leaves is dependent on cool nights and sunny days. The range of color on a single tree is amazing.

Sweet Gum Even the stems are colorful! Sweet Gum

3. Black Walnuts – so many trees! You will notice them first by the fruit.

Black Walnuts   Black walnuts   Black walnut

The thick green husk gives way to thick shell. Only persistence will yield the nut meats. Lacking my own trees and having heard the tales of blackened hands – from the husks – and the challenge of wresting the meat from the shell, I’ve never opened one, preferring to buy the delicious morsels by the bag. The taste is not at all like that of English walnuts. If you are not familiar with the taste of them a great way to start is with Black Walnut Jiffy Cake which is one of the easiest cakes to make. I highly recommend it! Follow the link to the recipe. It freezes well so it can be made ahead of the holidays. No frosting is needed. And, as my Great Aunt would say, I hope you have good luck with this!

I so agree with Anne -

park

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”

Anne Shirley – Anne of Green Gables

 

 

Reflections – true or false?

Reflection

Sometimes, it seems that I get very out-of-focused in reflection.

And everything turns topsy turvy.

There is only one way for me to right my mental world:

 Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.

The Voice Biblereflection 2

Filling my mind with beauty all around. What beauty have you found today?

Searching for my voice in 1920

A few weeks ago I saw a notice for an upcoming on-line writer’s workshop. One evening, free, and an interesting topic – sounded easy and fun.

Marilyn Bousquin of Writing Women’s Lives posed thoughtful questions in the workshop, “Writing Our Grandmothers, Discovering Ourselves: Women, Silence & Voice. Before the workshop, she had us sleuthing our female heritage. What country did these women come of age in? What year did that country grant women the right to vote? Since I’ve done some family genealogy, those answers were easy to find.

I had been looking forward to the evening of hearing my voice as I analyzed their lives. I thought I would be exploring my life through Grandmother Anna. But then the second prompt came and I could only think of Grandmother Amelia. I didn’t want to think about her but it seemed important so I wrote my letter to her:

“Dear Grandmother Amelia,

This is Elaine. I didn’t know you well and I didn’t want to either. I was too young to know your story or have any understanding of your pain and loss. Your gruff voice and “children should be seen and not heard” attitude frightened my shy little self and hiding from you became habit. I don’t know that we ever had a real conversation, not even during those months when you lived in our home. I wish we had, I think.

When we cleaned out the garage at the home place, I found letters carefully saved in an old covered dish.  Two letters written by Bro. Albert to you and Grandfather. I was struck by his compliments to you on your writing.letter

I wonder now if his words of affirmation thrilled your heart. When this was written, you did not yet have the right to vote. I can’t find many facts, but based on records found, I suppose that you, like your 14 siblings, had an elementary school education before going off to the mills to work. I found that at 18 you had advanced to the rank of ‘weaver’ at the silk mill. I doubt you had many choices in your life until you married. 

Amelia

Other things were found in that garage and I’ve come to admire your thirst to increase your home skills and crafts as evidenced by the pamphlets and instruction booklets carefully saved. 

I want you to know that the quilts you made for my siblings touched my heart with
comfort as a child. The long gone yo-yo quilt inspired me to stitch hundreds of
them for a coverlet. 

 yo-yo quilt project

The quilts you saved in your trunk were given to your great-granddaughters. And the unfinished top – for William? – I stitched a plaid floral medallion on it, quilted it, and your daughter used it in her final years. I like to think it brought you close to her. 

shirting quilt

I have lots of questions now. I wonder why you said “no” to the thought of your daughter attending High School. Was it your own insecurity or that need for each child to have the same as the others who went before? You know she chose to have her own voice and went to night school, graduating just shy of her 21st birthday.

 Amelia

Amelia, how I wish you had used your voice, told your stories, written a diary or journal. I would have listened. I would have known you and your family, my family. And me, I think I would have been free to have confidence as a storyteller and writer.”

I was surprised to find myself feeling emotional while writing this letter that night.  We went on through the workshop and the overall experience was very good. And the next day I started another program, Intentional Blogging with Jeff Goins. His webinar on Blogging Personalities had been very encouraging. I had my niche, I was happy. I was excited to sign on to this program, tweak a few things and move along as a blogger.

But things had been set in motion within my soul and I didn’t know it. And I was silenced.

Last Sunday, we drove to the river. One of the same roads led to my Uncle and Grandmother’s home. When it came time to turn off for the park, I was overwhelmed with such a longing as I cannot explain – oh, for one more chance to walk into her kitchen, one more chance to look and really see her. Amelia.  I wonder if she was a story teller, I wonder about her style of writing, I wonder if she wrote to her many siblings. I have only wonders and complex emotions churning. There is a power in writing I don’t always like.

Grandmother Amelia, gone from my life for 48 years and yet, not gone at all; I still don’t think I like you.

 Amelia

Apple joy

applesThere were always apples in the house. Dad took one every day with his lunch and there were apples for ours, if we wanted them. Come fall, there would be bushels of fresh picked from country orchards and sometimes pie for Sunday suppers. But my favorite memory of comfort food is always hot applesauce on buttered toast for breakfast.

These Gala apples cooked into a lovely sauce which has provided rich desserts of applesauce on split buttered biscuits. Simple fare, perfect comfort for darkening autumn evenings.

I like to use sweet apples so no additional sweetener is needed, just cinnamon or apple pie spice to suit my fancy.

As the sweet fragrance of apple filled the house, I remembered the grace sung at many a Girl Scout camp meal – The Johnny Appleseed Prayer.

Oh the Lord is good to me,

and so I thank the Lord,

for giving me the things I need,

the sun, the rain and the appleseed,

the Lord is good to me.

                                                                         Amen!

Willing work

” She is not afraid of snow for her household,

                                          for all her household is clothed with scarlet.”               Proverbs 31:21

It is almost tempting to search for scarlet clothing; instead, I take comfort in making stacks of firewood.

wood pile

These words from Melissa at The Inspired Room express my feelings so well about the beauty of wood piles: “Their quiet message is meaningful and even symbolic, reminding us it is time to settle in and provide a warm and safe place to nurture our families.”

Do visit Melissa as she shares her heart on home and loving fall this October.

Beautiful Sunday

Maple leaves

For the beauty of the earth,

     For the beauty of the skies,

For the Love which from our birth

   Over and around us lies:

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

     This our Sacrifice of Praise.

                                                                    Folliott S. Pierpoint

Cloudy with a hope of change

Last night’s storm left a slow-to-lift cloud cover. Waiting in traffic, I watched it hovering behind the communication and power lines that cross here. I thought about how sometimes mental or emotional dark clouds seem to hang like a backdrop for life and communication.

clouds

As I drove on, I remembered that as a child, stories and poetry gave me the impression of softness and comfort in clouds and then how shocked I had been on my first plane ride through clouds to find them anything but! Turbulence is hidden within.

clouds

Those are not cotton balls! Unseen turbulence swirls in all the beauty. Unseen turbulence swirls on earth these days too. It is unsettling to say the least. For your life, I pray that the storms pass and you will see the earth is refreshed, the air is cleared, and a beautiful day awaits you.Clouds

 

October Days

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;

We must rise and follow her,

When from every hill of flame

She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

                                              Bliss CarmanPasture

These days, it takes much longer for the morning dew and haze to lift from the valleys. This farm is across the road and we gladly wait our long turn at the traffic light to drink in the view.