Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blueberry Days and Songs of Life

    Last week I piled the van with children and we drove through Carolina country. We drove to Pittsboro to the old man's farm. His sign hangs by the road, the words are fading from bright summer sun. There is a hand written sign by the gate saying "close gate behind you" so we do, one of mine hops out and opens it while I drive through then they close it behind the van. I love coming here, year after year and it always feels the same. The air smells earthy and like fruit. The place is loud with birds; turkeys and peacocks wearing bright blue feathers and shouting into the day. Chickens talk amongst themselves in loud clucks. I can hear children laughing through the bushes. We pick buckets full and have races and help the littler children who aren't as fast pickers. We sweat in the humid sunshine and we talk about big things and funny things and small things too. We drink water and splash it on our faces and our fingers turn purple from berry juice. I wish I could capture these moments. I wish I could keep us there in that timeless, staying the same place where the world is lost behind that crooked gate and I savor all of it. This place of safety and where life is easy and nothing pushes or pulls us to move on. Somebody sings and the Birch comes up to me determined to pick his own bucket full this year, he has his Ariat boots on and his cheeks are red and his hair is bright white from days in the pool. White on brown skin and blue eyes squinching up at me. He lets me help after the older bunch move on and we pick together his small hands full and dropping berries into the mulch. I am filled then with love for this precious boy who in August will march himself to school and leave me in a new chapter of parenting. I never dreamed it would come so fast or hurt like this. My house has been full this year and empty too, of my older ones moving and traveling and getting married and coming home and leaving again. I am not sure what to think of it all, this life going faster than I and leaving me struggling to catch my breath. I walk in the mornings and I think it has become my therapy and keeps me grounded. I think about all of this while I pick the fruit that is warm in my hands. I think that God knows this place too, where my heart is torn and things seem too big for me and I remember how in Psalms it says He numbers the stars and how He knows them by name and I am glad for that. Glad that He knows them and numbers them because then I am certain He knows me and He is there in the berry patch and He thinks much of me and my children and the neighbor children too who bring us life and fullness of days. We pick berries for us and for some of our neighbors. We are learning this year what Loving our neighbors really means so we pick with the intention of giving. When we get home we put them in bags and I do a neighborhood delivery of berries. I love doing that, stopping in and giving small gifts because I am the one who always leaves being given wonderful gifts.
   Kalani came along when we brought them to our elderly friends Paul and Miss Dot. She was being my fancy girl and cartwheeled out of the van. We brought a card because it was Miss Dots birthday and we all signed it so the words were all over the card with notes and names of my children. They live at the end of a gravel road where the rocks make a lane and the flowers bloom and the old trees creak in the wind. They are old and the house is getting forgotten, the porch is faded and falling apart and we walked up the stairs carefully. They come to the door and are so glad to see us. They invite us in and we visit for awhile. Miss Dot is forgetful and she is the sweetest southern women I have met. She thinks my children are beautiful and my boys are strong. She used to love to read. She smiles and watches us. Paul is a very gracious man and he carries the conversation. I know he was in the war. I know he has son who lives far away in WA and he prays for him. He loves my boys and he gets teary when he asks about my big Troy who is also far away. The house is full of stuff. There are piles and stacks and things shuffled around so we can sit at the table. Kalani loves it, she takes a tour and exclaims over things and looks at all the wonderful treasure. I love that about my younger children, they are free like that. She thinks it is like a museum and in away it is. A lifetime of living on display. I am humbled then because she doesn't see it like I do at all. She sees the life and love and years and treasures. I start to see it like that when she brings me a golden bell and shows me a beautiful old doll. I quit seeing the dust lining the shelves and the cobwebs hanging from the ceiling fan and papers piled high. I see it through the eyes of my 7 year old and I think Paul and Miss Dot are the lucky ones for sure. Paul asks me if I sing and I tell him that I love to, he hands me a red hymnal and he says it is his favorite book. I skim through and I see where he has written dates and notes about many songs, "1975" says one "praise the Lord for this song" in a mans handwriting. So may years of songs to love and sing and remember. I hum a little of Marching to Zion and he says "do you hear it Miss Dot? She sings beautifully!" and they both listen. I am reminded that this is life for them, these 2 little old people who were once here where I am now many years ago. Who wished to stop time and were worried about what was next and who sang songs that kept them grounded and feeling the spirit and finding freedom. I should mark music in the book like that with dates like a journal of life; only in song. They blessed me more than words while we sweat in their hot kitchen with papers and cans piled high and Kalani twirling through the hidden treasure, seeing it beautiful. We sang Happy Birthday to Miss Dot before we left and she laughed while we clapped. We left with them promising to pray and me promising brownies for Miss Dot since she never got a cake. I think this loving our neighbors as ourselves is working. It is opening my eyes and giving me music.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Eve, welcome back to BlogSpot!!!!
from my heart to yours, Jen