Saturday, August 31, 2013

Such Peace

Precisely because my life is so full and has been for so many years (and fullness is, of course, defined by me and who better to define it, speaking as I am of my own life?), when I get some time to myself, I am grateful beyond measure, almost to the point where I feel guilty but the older I get, the less guilt I feel about this. I know who I am and for whatever reasons there may be, I am completely and perfectly content to spend time by myself. There is no question that I love my husband and my children and my grandsons and my friends but there is also no doubt that in solitude, I am most relaxed and at peace.

And so it is tonight. After last night's wild ride with the boys and spaghetti and The Rolling Stones and dancing and bathing and sleeping and not-sleeping and whatever happened in that chicken coop, the quiet here tonight is a great balm to my soul.

I got quite a bit done today and have felt, despite my lack of sleep, very, very good. And when I had gotten the laundry done and the kitchen cleaned up and the sheets on the bed changed and everything made tidy again, I laid down on that tidy bed and read a few chapters of Alexander McCall Smith's The Right Attitude Towards Rain, which is part of his Isabel Dalhousie series. There is something so incredibly soothing (and yes, I overuse that word, it is one of my favorites) about the writing of Mr. McCall Smith. His characters, especially his female characters, have a rich inner life wherein they ponder the Great Questions and this resounds with me. I, too, think about everything way too much, and although unlike Isabel, I have no degree in philosophy, I try to weigh everything in accordance with more than one scale. Like Isabel, I try to be kind but frequently fail. I aspire to apply, as Isabel does, moral ethics to my life but well, we are human as well as angel. We are devil, as well as god. We are meat, as well as spirit.
And so I read a few of of those chapters and then I closed my eyes and took a most heavenly nap of perhaps an hour, the landline completely unplugged, the room dark and cool.

When I got up I had some coffee and then I took my real camera outside to take some pictures because I never do that anymore. The iPhone is good enough, and really, for my needs, better than that, but sometimes it is good to take the time to stop and focus, to look with a more discerning eye, to give literally and figuratively more weight to what I am doing, although honestly, I cannot say that the pictures are much better. I am no photographer.
But here is what I saw, here is what I recorded on a Saturday evening on the last day of August, 2013 in Lloyd, Florida.

The red passion flower, finally and at last, blooming after an afternoon shower.

Our orphan. I have no idea if this chick will survive without her mama. Mr. Moon, as I said, took care of the gaps in her coop and so perhaps she will be safe. I have no idea if a chicken can suffer from trauma. Perhaps. I know for a fact that she is no longer making her here-I-am-mama peeping noise. But there she is. He is? I hope she lives long enough for us to know whether she is hen or rooster. And then another long, long set of years. But it's not up to me. We shall do the best we can and that is all we can do, as I so oddly said last night of her mother who probably saved her life. 

The outside Buddha with a red impatiens. Remember when Owen used to love to move him around and called him "Buddhey"? 

The golden orb weaver who lives above the porch swing with her mate. You really can't get a perspective on how large she is. Large. Very, very large. 

The fallen tree in the back yard. And again- you can't get perspective. It is larger than large. It is huge. 

The cones of the Pinecone Lilies. Soon they will turn scarlet. 

The sky to the west. This may be the face of god or it may be a simple miracle of our planet. Or both.

And now, the pictures following were indeed taken with the iPhone. 

Another miracle- the miracle of the Shape Of The Egg. This is what my hens laid today. Each hen lays her own distinct egg and they are all beautiful to me. 

Part of what lies atop my kitchen hutch which has been with me since 1979. It occurred to me, when I took the picture, that at least three of the things you see in that picture were sent to me as gifts as a direct result of this blog. And the red pitcher belonged to my Lynn. 

And that's all. It's Saturday night and I am sipping an icy martini because no one needs me and I am not going anywhere and as a friend of mine used to say, "If you can't drink alone, who CAN you drink with?" and I am going to cook my little piece of salmon with lemon juice and dill. It is so quiet that I can hear myself think, although when I go into the kitchen to cook, I will turn on Prairie Home Companion because Garrison Keillor's voice is as soothing as that of Isabel Dalhousie's and the news from Lake Woebegon is not unlike the news from Lloyd. Always the same and yet eternally changing, sometimes funny and sometimes tragic, often joyful, frequently absurd. 

A cardinal is perched in the camellia beside the bird feeder, chip-chirping, the sun is setting, and I am alone but as far from being lonely as it is possible to be. 

And I am happy. 


  1. I do hope Baby's baby will be alright. When people buy a bunch of chickens, aren't they shipped when they are just a day or so old? That suggests that if they have food and water and are warm enough they can survive. At the risk of anthropomorphizing, though, I'm sure BB misses her mama. So sad.


  2. Oh I'm so sorry to hear about Baby.

    I too really like the voice of Alexander McCall Smith. Once I heard him speak at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and the best word to describe him is soothing. He was so sweet and generous and humble and so delightful. I wanted to bring him home for tea.

    Maybe I'll give that series a go. I was with the No. 1 Ladies Detective AGency for a long time, until I stopped buying books and having access to a library.

  3. I love this because I totally get it.

  4. Thanks for sharing your day. Tell Baby that I am sorry for her loss. Poor wee bird. :-(

  5. Oh no! I am reading backwards and this just broke my heart, about the motherless chick. I know it is nature, but I have this image of her being protected by her mama, under he wing, like you wrote before and you writing that she was no longer making those here I am mama noises slayed me. Ugh. But she was mothered well and maybe she will be okay. I know you will do your best to take up the slack. Lovely pictures MM.And your nap sounds delightful.

  6. Ah, I just enlarged the picture. I made you that typewriter magnet. That sort of helped me feel better. Soothed me. :)

  7. yay for happy. Nice writing. I really enjoyed reading this one, and so happy you are happy.

    What happened to Ms Banty? A critter got her? Very sad. I am sorry.

    Sleep well and good luck to chickie baby.

  8. I can completely identify with your feelings of contentment in solitude. I've never been a lonely person when I am alone. I love the people in my life, but I also love being alone.

    Would another hen "adopt" BB and help care for her, or are hens competitive that way?

  9. Great photos of a splendid day in the life. And a great way to end the day, with enough quiet to hear inside AND an icy martini.

  10. Aww, I am so sorry about Baby.

  11. Ah, I see now why I love your "voice" so much. It's much the same experience as reading Alexander McCall Smith. The truth and gentleness of his characters just capture me, make me think, and soothe me. Have you read the "44 Scotland Street" series? I highly recommend it to you. I picture you laughing out loud at what little Bertie goes through with his mother in particular. Funny. I've read all his series except for No. 1. Nice to know there's something waiting in the wings.

    So sorry about Baby. The sleepover makes me realize that I want to be a grandma one day, but without "benefits"!

  12. Hmmm. I realize that the "benefits" part sounds off. I meant without the sleep deprivation!

  13. Beautiful pictures and nice day except for that ver scary looking spider. Wonderful capture of BB. I hope BB is ok. Sweet Jo

  14. Julia- Well, yes, but when those babies arrive (and not all of them arrive alive, trust me), they require months of careful tending and protection.

    NOLA- He has several series and I love them all. I would think that hearing him speak would be a sweet treat and yes, I'd love to bring him home for tea as well.

    Ellen Abbott- It's nice to be okay alone, isn't it?

    Birdie- Alas, I cannot tell her anything. Dammit to hell.

    Bethany- I feel almost ashamed to have lost two such lovely birds but nature will have its way around here. And yes, that is definitely your typewriter. I love that magnet. Thank you.

    Allison- Thank you.

    Ms. Fleur- Yes. A critter got Baby. Sadness.

    Steve Reed- A hen will adopt a baby but only if she has babies of her own and they are about the same age. No such luck here now.

    Yobobe- It was just a pristine and lovely evening. I swear it was.

    Gail- Thanks. Nature. Sucking.

    Sylvia- Thank you for comparing my voice to Mr. McCall Smith's. That is a huge compliment. Yes, I've read (or listened on audio book) to that series. I love Bertie so much and his mother- oh my god! Don't you want to just kill her and liberate that sweet child? The No. 1 series is wonderful and actually, if you ever listen to audio books, the woman who narrates that series is amazing. I recommend that.
    I get your "benefits." No worries.

    Sweet Jo- You know, we call that spider a "banana spider" but she is more accurately known as the Golden Orb Weaver and yes, her web is golden. Isn't that a beautiful name and a beautiful image?

  15. I can't take another chicken death. I hope that the little one will thrive. We are finalizing the splitting of the giant water oak that fell in the spring. It has taken a long time to split and haul that wood.


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