Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rain in Winter

Judah's Blackland Prairie Picture
Image by protoflux via Flickr
I love a rainy day, but rain in winter has a singular feel.  When the temperature is low, but not freezing, and the air is piercing, the time has come to reflect on the benefit of this unpleasant state.  It's not a day to enjoy the smell of the flowers or the light of the sun.  It is a time to review and anticipate.

We have had a drought of some consequence.  Many people have sold livestock because they didn't have pasture and couldn't afford to buy hay.  Fishermen have agonized over the lake levels and concern for the fish populations.  Homeowners have watered the foundations of their houses to prevent shifting and cracking.  On sand that is of less concern, but on the Blackland prairie it is real threat.

Rain in winter is a time for a warm comforter and a book of Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson or the Psalms and maybe even a fire in the fireplace and memories.  

I remember walking with my father as he started to work and I went to school.  It was not freezing, but the wind in our faces was biting and the mist stood on the skin piercing like needles.

"Nothing is colder than a wet. east wind," he said as we crossed the yard.  He had his hands jammed in his pants pockets and his suit coat flapped in the wind.  I knew the temperature was probably 38 or 40 degrees F, but I understood his statement, too.  The power to chill to the bone lay in the moisture and the air movement.

When we turned the corner and followed the sidewalk south the wind was no longer in our faces, and the weather and the complaints stopped; we accepted this as winter time in East Texas.    

The retreat to the couch with a blanket and a book is a long held dream.  I do it sometimes, but the mood or the atmosphere are more real than the event.  The rain will soak the ground after the long dry spell, and planting will be followed by budding, growth, and harvest.  For me, the books will be absorbed, and the long thoughts of winter afternoons have the hope of blossoming into new thoughts as winter passes.  Dormant seasons give rest from activity and offer the possibility of new crops or projects.
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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dry Well

Sometimes I feel like the well has gone dry--I just don't have much to say, so today I'll write about that.  I must begin to keep a pad in my pocket or purse to note the ideas that flit through my mind but don't stay long enough to get discussed and explored.  Maybe it's old age again--my mind doesn't retain things long enough--no, I don't think so.  I think I allow distractions to move in.

My new distraction is Pinterest.  It is really clever for people who are interested in crafts, decorating, fashion, hair, nails, make-up, etc., but I am into the things you have to write about rather than the things you look at.  I have had fun assembling some kite pictures, dogs, bread, Christian writers, Carnival--click over here to see what I did, but I wanted to give all the details and make comments.  This is the place for me.

I don't know what to call myself; less visual comes to mind.  I'm not good with fashion and trends.  They look great on others, but I have neither the vision nor desire to pursue them.  Ideas and meaning and consequences are the trails I like to follow.  It all goes back to my mother and my father.  They liked to read.  Somewhere along the way, I caught the bug too.  Writing something that communicates with other people is fabulous.  Not that everybody agrees--no, it's a conversation, an argument, an exploration--remember, it's communication.  The pictures and images are too, but they are not my medium.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Memory of Mystery and Surprise

When I was little, my mother's brother was a frequent visitor to our home.  He was gregarious and talkative and enjoyed games and tricks.  Occasionally, I became an unwitting part of his trickery.  

Daddy sometimes had meetings in the evenings, and Mama and I were left to our own devices for entertainment.  She always loved to read so it wasn't such a problem for her to entertain herself for an hour or so.  I was less easily satisfied, but I was an obedient child, and I was satisfied with coloring for a while.

On this particular evening Mama was sitting in her chair reading and I was engaged with the coloring book when we heard footsteps come in the front door through the living room to the bedroom.  I looked up and there was my Uncle Jimmie with his finger to his lips in a hushed and secret posture.  I sat back down obediently with my colors.  He sat down in a chair near me and continued to indicate silence.  I waited impatiently, tensely, and Mama continued to read.

Presently, we heard footsteps enter the front door, cross the living room, and enter the bedroom again.  Mama looked up to see Daddy enter.  Her face revealed fear, then horror.  If this was Daddy, who was the other one?  She scanned the bedroom quickly to find a slyly grinning Jimmie seated calmly in the corner.

She didn't know whether to be angry or relieved, but she was accustomed to his tricks, and she loved him as an adoring sister.  After her heart recovered it normal rhythm, she laughed with him, but I'm not sure she thought it was really that funny.