Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Old Fence Ladder

For decades I've been taking pictures of this old ladder my Uncle Lloyd built over forty years ago for my cousins and all us neighborhood kids to climb over into his fields without breaking down his fence. He kept goats in that pasture that ate down the grass and shrubs. Once my brother ran down and caught a deer in that meadow while we all stood and watched him. He caught it because he could, I guess. He could do a lot of stuff, my brother.

I've taken pictures of this ladder in every season and I took many pictures of it with my children sitting on it when they were small. It's a historical landmark for us.

This old ladder was an access point to secret places way back when. To the old murky pond... to the itchy grasses all full of ticks and chiggers... to the animal dens hidden in the tangles of brush surrounding the lots-a-rain creek at the bottom of the hill. My sister and I remember a place we called only "Out There" that was, well, out there... but that was out there before the ladder was out there.

Now cattle keep watch in this same meadow that those goats cleared for them more than forty years ago. They totter past that same old ladder without any thought in their minds of what came before them and surely none of what will come after. Sometimes I'm not so sure how many of us are any wiser than those cows.

Old cedars and scrubby useless trees shove their way through my Uncle Lloyd's fences... (these fences don't belong to him anymore... now they belong to my Uncle Lowell whose not really my Uncle at all, but is my mother's cousin.  I don't know what that makes him to me. My cousin Harold would know... my cousin Harold whose not my cousin... but he would know what he is... Hi Harold!) These old trees are cut out of there and burned out of there and hacked out of there religiously but they always worm their way back in a season or two. Same thing happens in every area of my life, it seems. I hack something away only to find I've let it seep right back in. Aggravates to no end. Messes up the landscape. Ruins things. And it adds character too.

Across the way is another ancient bystander. This old peach tree's doom is predicted every summer. And each spring it thrills us by blooming anew. It's older than the ladder. Older than me. My father planted peach trees here almost 55 years ago.... ? Last year, this old tree which has been beaten by every assortment of blight and torment produced a beautiful crop of peaches. "Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." Matthew 7:19-20 That's a good tree. That's a good fruit-bearing tree.

The old lilac bush is ancient too. It's filled with blooms this year because the Lord has been so kind. Each spring it is filled with butterflies but this year, it bloomed so early, we were three full days in bloom before the butterflies arrived... then they arrived en mass along with the big burly bumblebees. It was magnificent! Glorious!  Dangerous to take these pictures because of falling into the ditches when you're not watching what you're doing and bumblebees looking up close at you while you're trying to get your close up of them! How I'd love to get a picture of a bumblebee but, as you can tell, it's more than I can do to take even a poor shot of one of the much larger and much slower butterflies.

It's been a long day. I failed to complete something that was due for work today but at least I made  progress on something that has stumped me for several weeks. I knocked down a roadblock anyway but it took hours and hours longer than I thought and I'm tired and discouraged and sick of it all.

Above is the sunset from last night... tonight's is not so vibrant. The sun is setting again and the house is quiet except for the fan blowing the dust of a passing motorcycle and several small gnats in through the screen.

Old Tickles, our one million year old cat, is stretched onto the rocker on the porch and when he sees me see him he twitches his tail. Over the winter, he destroyed the rocker with his stretching and clawing. I suppose it's his now.

At my feet Lucy, our million year old wiener dog, is snoring. If I move my feet too much she will wake and and lick my toe.

Out the window, I just saw a big redbone hound trot up the road. Frankie, our other wiener dog, must have not seen him or he would be acting all hysterical and brave and his awesome hackles would be standing on end like a new Navy recruit's hair (hey, Nick! thinking about you! We love you, son! We're praying for you, son! We're laughing about your plight, son!)

Oh! Here's Frankie now! He's in here at my feet too! That's HIM licking my toes! Thought that was kind of unusual for Lucy! That lazy fat dog! How can I depend on him to be a guard dog when he lets a great big redbone hound trot by without even a small yip.

Hope you get to see a redbone today too. If you do, say a prayer for it to live a long, happy life. I did.

Love you all so much. d.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

These glorious spring storms

Why anyone would ever want to move to some boring temperate zone is beyond me. I love these wild weather changes.

This morning was all glorious sunshine and breezes. I did three loads of laundry before I even should have been out of bed on a Saturday morning and had them all hanging on the line to dry. It was just blankets and old towels airing out and looking beautiful as the sun bleached the winter from their folds.

Before my fourth load had finished it was pouring and I stood at the back door watching it puddle onto the patio. The Forsythia is in bloom already and I could smell the Lilac from the front yard.

When the next load finished it wasn't raining anymore so I hung those blankets and sheets out as well.

It hailed on that load, along with the others. Pea-sized. Dime-sized. I watched that from the back door too. Hailed quite a while.

The laundry's still out on the line and it's dark now. Every thing's sopping wet.

I walked into the yard and looked at the clothes line; nothing was on the ground. I can remember my mom's clothes on the line in the rain when I was a kid... I would run my face through it and smell...

Far to the east, lightning filled the sky, but try as I might I couldn't capture it in a picture. It's so beautiful and destructive and powerful and illusive and I used over thirty shots but got nothing but out of focus shots of the trees.

Coming back into the house with nothing in my basket and nothing on my camera, I stopped short for a final picture.

There's something lonely about being outside your home when it's getting dark. It's always an interesting perspective to me and sometimes I go outside at night just to look into my windows and see what I can see. But I always just end up feeling excluded... I can see the light but I'm excluded from that light.

Thank you, God, that you will take us Home where we will never be excluded. And thank you for this tremendous weather experiment today!