Daisy May

Sunday, May 19, 2019

It's clear now that our days are stretching longer into the evening, and the sun doesn't set until well after dinner.  I would say it's time to do a little porch-sitting.

Our detached, screened porch sits on the edge of the woods out back, under several oaks and pine trees, so it stays cool most of the summer.  An overhead fan helps too; and, of course, a glass of sweet tea.   

On the Porch

On it you will find two lime green rocking chairs (yes, lime), and between them a nice table made from a concrete birdbath with an attached glass top.  I'll most likely be there too during the summer as often as I can make it happen.  

Sitting on the porch after dinner is a lost art.  I wonder if anyone besides me has thought about this missing piece of summer.  It seems to have slipped out the back door before anyone noticed. I will say, I have come across more than one article by someone who remembers sitting on the steps of a large front porch as a child, listening to grownups talk. 

It's a good picture, and I miss the many times I can recall our family doing the same thing.  I was a young apprentice in those days to a world of adults who never ran out of subjects to dissect.  Everything was permissible as long as it wasn't off-color, and no one argued---that wasn't the point.  Sometimes they laughed and other times they talked in hushed tones about . . .  well, I never knew what, and didn't want to.  They knew so much, I thought, and sounded so wise.  

But what made it special, I think, was that, even as a child, it was clear to me the company I was keeping on those occasions genuinely liked each other.  It's that simple really, and I suspect that's what made it so much fun.

Two summers ago when The Boys were younger, our family would walk out to the porch late in the evening, pull up a rocking chair or stool, and light a candle while The Boys caught fireflies.  Then when the night was about to end, they would come onto the porch to hear us tell stories. None of us adults were very good at it, to be honest, but we got better as the summer went along.  

We didn't try to force those wonderful evenings to happen, they just evolved. . . us remembering stories from our own childhood, and the boys saying, "tell us another one." I don't think they gave it any special weight at the time, but I suspect the three adults sitting and rocking on the porch knew it was like something out of another time.  

Occasionally in our area when we're out riding around in the car, we see couples or small families sitting together on their porches, usually just at dusk.  Someimes they wave with just a lift of one hand and maybe a nod of their head.  "Oh look," I say to my husband.  

And then, "I wonder what they're talking about."  

Storytime

I would love to hear my mother and father talk again while sitting on the porch as they once did, or around the dining room table when I was young.  Of all my years growing up at home, that memory is the most comforting.  It was a private, quiet thing, reserved for warm summers and children who grew up more slowly.  

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

"Sitting on the summer-night porch was so good, so easy and so reassuring that it could never be done away with.  These were rituals that were right and lasting; the lighting of pipes, the pale hands that moved knitting needles in the dimness, the eating of foil-wrapped, chilled Eskimo Pies, the coming and going of all the people. "

Author Ray Bradbury, from his book, "Dandelion Wine"


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Queen Anne's Lace

They came!  Somewhere from the woods and back alleys around our home, I heard the first crickets of summer this afternoon.  The sound came slowly at first and a little disjointed, but then it lifted to full range and filled the air. It only lasted a few seconds, but they'll be back!

The sound of summer crickets, or cicadas, is the one thing that most identifies this time of year for me, and it has the effect of transporting me to other times and places.  They sing a sweet, familiar song to my ears, and suddenly I'm a young girl in another summer on a day when I can swing higher than high and my leg are fast and sure.  

You remember those times, don't you?  

I hope I'll always remember what those other-worldly days were like.  It's good to be able to recall such things, but a challenge that grows more difficult every day.  The battle is fierce, in fact.  There is so much trivia chasing after my willing heart.

 "Strengthen the things that remain," I tell myself.  

On my way to pick up kitchen supplies and food this week,  I noticed the fields and pastures were full of patches of Queen Anne's Lace, a most delicate and beautiful wildflower creature. . . and another of those "things that remain."  They always arrive somewhere around the end of May, ready to sprinkle June with white, like summer's snow. If people were to have flowers like states have flowers, mine would be Queen Anne's Lace.  

When I lived in Nashville, I gathered hands full of Queen Anne's Lace to put on our dinner table on long summer days.  We moved there one summer from Florida, and this beautiful flower greeted me all along the way north of Macon.  They were a thing innocent and generous, and I liked that about them.

Queen Anne and the cicadas that harbored among them in that new, strange place, made me feel like I had a home away from home.  

That was a long time ago, and now I have arrived at a distant year I knew nothing of in those Nashville days.  It's time to listen for the cicadas and pick a few stalks of Queen Anne's Lace for my home at Rabbit Hill.  

I'll pick an extra bunch for you in case you come to lunch next week. 

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

"Strengthen the things that remain."

Revelation 3:2, KJV 


Thursday, May 23, 2019

I spent the morning sitting like a cat on the porch out back, trying my best to filter through a thousand thoughts and put them in some kind of logical sequence.  The Boys will be here most weekdays for the summer, and if I know what's good for me, I'll have some plans and a good bit of order around these Rabbit Hill grounds before it begins.  

 

Light In the Window II

Glow Worm, Glow

Besides lunches and buckets of water for "messing in," there will be forts, lizards, rocks--that sort of thing--all in the name of that best of all feelings--childhood summer freedom.  I will be in the middle of it, fending for my life. 

Send reinforcements.

When our children were young, summers could get long.  We didn't have all the camps and workshops and "flair"  that's available now.  Kids were simply shot out of a canon the last day of school into the vortex of day-to-day living.  You can imagine the temporary chaos.  It was both a challenge and an invigorating risk.  

I thought about all this today, sitting there, staring. I was the mother in those years, now I'm the grandmother. The math of  The Boys' ages and mine wasn't adding up in my mind.  Still, I have The Fretting Porch to run to if things get too tiring, and that carnival-colored chair in my loft studio where only things of the universe matter. Also, I bought a gallon-sized plastic container of animal crackers and two tool boxes with mallets and goggles--that should help.

I used to have a rule for myself for such seasons:  No matter what mess we left behind ourselves in a day's time, I would always leave a light on in the window for whatever child wasn't home yet, no matter their age or the time of day or night.   It was a good rule.  It set things right at the end of the day and held hard feelings at bay.  

We still have that rule at our home. 

They say you should pursue a career in writing only if you can't not write.  It's like that with children too.  Don't have children unless you can't not be a mother.  Or grandmother.  Or aunt.  We are all conductors headed for tomorrow, and once you get on that train, you mustn't turn out the light.  In fact, let's all make sure there's a light left on in the window this summer.  Someone will surely need to see it.   

Destination: Tomorrow

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

"All of us who turn our eyes away from what we have are missing life."

Norman Rockwell, illustrator/artist


Wednesday, May 26, 2019

Vidalia Onions

Do you have your Vidalia onions yet?  They are in season now and I just bought my yearly supply.  One good-sized sack of these large onions just about lasts us until next May when they will be in season again.  

It's absolutely true that Vidalia onions are the sweetest, the mildest onions you can find.  My mother said so, I say so, and all God's little southern children say so.  

Vidalia is the name of a small town in south Georgia which has been growing this wonderful crop since . . . forever.   They made their way into grocery stores in the south years ago where mothers and chefs of all types refused to cook with anything else.  It has something to do with the soil in that area, so no one else can make the magic happen quite like south Georgia does.  

I used to travel to Florida once or twice a year to visit my family.   If the trip was in  spring, all along the two-lane road south of Macon, toward Valdosta, I passed small wooden stands and open buildings with yellow signs or banners in bold orange letters that read "Georgia Sweet Vidalia Onions."  Mmmmm. 

On my way back home I usually stopped to pick up an orange mesh sack for my own kitchen.  Because of the higher sugar content, Vidalias don't keep as long, so I am careful now to either cut them into small cubes and freeze them or store them separated in a cool, dark place. 

I hope you haven't missed your stash for this year.  If you have, don't worry, you can put it on your calendar for next year.   

 

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

"Mine eyes smell onions;

I shall weep anon."

William Shakespeare

 


Monday, May 31, 2019

Mr. Brown at the Fence

I closed out the month of May today with the help of Mr. Brown and three minutes of a beautiful sunset just barely visible through the trees.  Lizards and bees have now officially passed the baton to cicadas and fireflies.  

I closed the book on Me Month too, or did Me Month close the book on me?  Things started to speed up these last several days, with end of school ceremonies and a nervous need to prepare for swim lessons, kick ball, and the building of forts for fighting zombies and ghouls.  I  found myself at one point hiding behind an oak tree shooting at imaginary bat-like creatures  when I should have been reading quietly on my favorite porch, the one with the serene view of my blueberry bush.  

Alas and poor me.  Outnumbered and weak from lack of food, I retreated to rest up for June. 

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

"I was happy in the midst of dangers and inconveniences."  

Dainel Boone

 


For June's entries, go here