Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Color On A Gray Day

Well, it's gray as hell today and the wind is whipping in spurts and starts, pulling the magnolia leaves along in a sort of rusty-sounding dance. And the day before yesterday was like spring and I could smell the warm dirt and everything felt like a sweet, kind promise. And then the day before that we got so much rain that when I walked down to the creek two days ago to see how high it was, I couldn't even cross the open field after the path through the woods because it was all flooded and the trees were growing out of the lake the creek had made when it had abandoned its banks and spread with ferocious purpose as far as it could reach.

Crazy weather, here, y'all and if what I read and hear on NPR is true, it's crazy where you are too.

But in the midst of all of this, there is color, there is life. Even the creek has its own life, one day calm and trickling over the white sand bottom, polite and cheerful, chuckling as it swirls around fallen trees and branches, the next day it is no longer a creek but a flood plain, brown water covering formerly dry ground.

But it is Florida, after all, even if it is North Florida, which is not anything at all like South Florida (which is why we live here) and there is color. The freeze nipped the camellias but they have come back, their blossoms like treasures I find as I walk around the yard. Here are some:

They make my heart so happy.

I love the tiny violas. Can anything be more cheerful, more sweet? Such an old-fashioned, romantic flower:

Even in the house, there is blooming. A spider plant sends out shoots with blossoms:

It won't be long before the azaleas open up and gift us with their purples, their pinks, their lavenders. They are not subtle, those azaleas. I love to cut huge branches of them and bring them into the house but the best is when the azaleas and dogwoods bloom at the same time and I cut branches of those too to stand up in the vases with the azaleas. The whites against the purples- that is something to look forward too.

It's Sunday. We're eating oatmeal, I have rehearsal this afternoon and we're supposed to be off book. Ha! My brain is still sieve-like, the lines going in and falling out with a clunk on the floor beside me and there is a good chance I'll end up weeping on the old boards of the Opera House looking for them before the day is done.
I hope not.

The chickens are figuring out the new arrangement in the coop. Elvis is pacing nervously about, wishing his hens would come out to greet him but they, so traumatized in the past few weeks by Sam, show little signs of wanting to come out at all, but sit huddled inside on the roosts. I am hoping that with patience and time they will forget the pain and suffering they've been through and will become the happy, clucking girls they are meant to be and will begin again to lay me their beautiful eggs of brown and green and blue.

I think I will go out now and throw some corn into the coop, see if I can tempt them out of bed. The next time I go to the store, I am going to buy them grapes, no matter how much they cost. They miss their grapes and I miss the offering of them to the hens, their quick pecks of acceptance, their satisfied clucks of enjoyment.


And I did. I took them the kitchen scraps and everyone came out to eat except for Betty. I left her food and water in the hen house because it's going to storm and I don't want to let her outside and besides that, I want with all my heart for her to find her way back into the sisterhood.

All seems peaceful. I wish you could hear what Elvis sounds like when I give him treats. It's a low-throated Ahhh, ahhhh, ahhhhh. I hope he's a good rooster for me, now that Sam is gone. He is so pretty.

And the hens have given me this:

Peace in the coop, peace in the nest, peace to you all.


  1. Thanks for the flowers -- we've got none of that right now here in MN, so it's nice to see.

    You know, your writing style is a thing you should be so proud of. I don't have half the abilities you do. I can bullshit for 10 pages in my papers I am forced to write for school. But it's boring blah blah blah bullshit. You though, your abilities are enviable. And if I did have half of your abilities, I'd express that more beautifully!!

    Those damn chickens -- why to I care so much? But I got up this morning hoping you'd give an update b/c I was wondering how they are today. Is Carol still around?

  2. Jill- So you're saying I have the ability to bullshit nicely? If so, YOU ARE RIGHT!
    Carol is still around but I am very worried about her. I haven't seen her off her nest in days and I don't think it's just normal broody behavior. I have given her food and water, right next to her nest, but I don't ever see that she's had any.

  3. Lovely writing -- you've brought me to northern Florida on a winter day. I hope the rest of it is beautiful.

  4. I don't tell you often enough on here, but I appreciate your writing so much, just like the other ladies above do. And, I think you could really make a cool fowl book out of all your great chicken stories. I can honestly say I never really cared that much about chickens in general before you got yours and started writing so creatively about them. And, I didn't say anything yet about Sam, but I respect that you had Mr. Moon "take care of the problem." I know that had to be difficult on some levels to get to that conclusion and I am happy for you that once it was done, life was normal, you were fine, and you had a delicious dinner! Maybe that's how roosters act, I don't know, but not only did I crack up reading about the demise (my condolences though) but I loved the way you told the story with the pictures. It was hilarious in parts. Really.

  5. I hope Elvis will treat the hens better than Sam did, too.

    It will be a while before we have any blooms. I bought some hyacinths and daffodils in pots just to have them around. I'm ready for warmer weather but not hot.

    Love violas and pansies - what cute little faces they have! Camelias are favorites. They were everywhere in Charleston, SC, when we lived there but not so much in TN. I miss them.

    Which play are you doing and which part do you have?

  6. Elizabeth- It's been a CRAZY day with tornado watches and great wind and occasional raining of huge big drops. But it's warm! It is warm.

    Nicol- Roosters can be brutal. I remember distinctly a rooster from my childhood who was so mean to us children. And I also remember when his head got removed from his body and he was made into something to eat. I didn't eat whatever it was but I witnessed his death. I have never forgotten that and it was with me yesterday when Mr. Moon took Sam to the other side.
    Well. Thank-you for your sweet, sweet words. And I hope I didn't upset you too much.

    Joy- I have the same hopes about Elvis. I really do.
    The play is called Sex Please, We're Sixty! and I play the part of Victoria Ambrose, a romance novelist.

  7. No, no, no. I wasn't upset! :) Quite the opposite. Like I said, I really didn't know that roosters could be so awful.

  8. you are as comforting as Springs most coveted flowers. i am not a swearing woman, but if i were, i swear Ms. Moon, that you have a book in you.

  9. I hope it doesn't make me a bad person, but I felt some poetic justice at Sam ending up as dinner.
    And I hope Elvis has learned from Sam's mistakes and treats the ladies with a little more respect, less he find himself in similar straits.
    PS I have to laugh at the word verification I got: uphers.

  10. Ms Moon,
    I love your writing. You know this. But I can keep telling you. I love your cadence and rhythm.
    "rusty sounding dance", sweet, kind promise"
    I love the way you talk about the creek, the spring smells, the trees and color. Your flowers. Your heart.
    The branches together in a vase.
    I am happy you are going to buy grapes next time. Maybe they will be on sale.

    I hope too Elvis acts like a proper male, like Mr Moon!

  11. so wonderful that you have flowers outside during this time of the garden and pots are still..sad....:-/

    and i hope too betty finds her way back to the other hens..and hopefully elvis learned something out of what happened to sam..:-)

  12. Nicol- That's why they fight cocks.

    Rebecca- Well, several so far.

    Bethany- I'm going to buy grapes today.

    Danielle- Your lips to God's ear.

  13. Thanks for sharing your camellias with us. That double pink one is a stunner. Love the picture of the fresh eggs in your hand, as soothing, rounded and satisfying as the writing above. x0 N2

  14. Everything is still hibernating over here. Except for the first hamamelis, which makes my parents go crazy with happiness. I get that. But my crazy-with-happiness comes with the Japanese cherries, and that's months away. I think they get it right.

  15. Those sweet flowers make me so happy.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.