Wednesday, March 3, 2010


My house smells like heaven right now because I am making Ms. Allegra's Moroccan oranges. Earlier in the day I bought organic Florida oranges and washed them and sliced them and put them in the big iron skillet I've had since Girl Scouts and simmered them until tender-firm. Now they are simmering in a syrup made of sugar and honey with cloves and cinnamon sticks. Thus- heavenly-smelling house.

It's been a rather heavenly day, although I am a bit sick. My eyes feel weird, I took a nap and woke up from a dream where my hips were hurting so badly that I could barely walk to find that the position I was in WAS causing my hips to hurt horribly. But beyond that, I am fine. A little congestion, nothing much. And this sort-of-sickness has given me permission to be lazy and I have tried very hard to kick the guilt to the curb. I can't really be sick anyway. Owen is coming tomorrow morning at six a.m. and that is that. And so I have done nothing much more than go to the store, make the oranges, go out and visit the chickens and work on Owen's chicken. And take that nap. Oh yes. That nap.

The chickens broke out of the coop today. The latch had come out of the door of the hen house and I thought I had it barricaded with a shovel but between their mighty efforts (can you just see Elvis gathering the hens around him to help push yelling, "Come on girls! Heave away and we shall be free!"?) and the wind which probably knocked the shovel over and blew the door open, they got out. I worried about the garden and the tender plants there but seeing them all out in the sun and in the grass, scratching and making dirt nests to lay in to expose their fluffy butt feathers to the sun made it all worth while. Here's Elvis, his beautiful black-green iridescent tail feathers being blown in the strong wind we were having:

The train went by while I was outside and I know I've talked about the train before but I don't know if you realize just how close it is. If you click on this picture, you can see it right behind the chicken coop:

I wonder if the engineer of that train looks out to see our house, our chickens, our world as he goes by. What do we look like from his perch as he travels through the woods and fields of North Florida, clickity, click, clicking on the tracks? Do we look like a place stuck in a time from long-ago? I rather hope so. I do. The train shakes the house and rattles the windows in it and soon enough Owen will run outside to see it when he hears the warning whistle blow. Boys love trains. Probably another reason my grandmother-to-be-brain wanted to buy this place six years ago.

While I was out I went to check on Miss Carol's nest to see if she had laid one of her nice brown eggs. Here. I took the picture of the nest Mr. Moon made for her on his workbench. And then I took the picture of Carol's egg, sweetly resting inside of it:

Every day that hen lays us an egg. Every day.

There was a sadness in this day. I got the news that Jan's daddy, Mr. George, had died last night. He was eighty-seven and a beautiful old man. Last year he was still strong and well enough to come to all of our plays and he always dressed so beautifully. Coat and tie and his white hair combed so neatly, so nicely on his handsome head. He was dignified. Do you hear that? Dignified. You don't meet so many dignified people these days so when you do, you recognize the quality and he had it in spades! What a life he lived, Mr. George! And I will never forget the picture I have in my mind of tiny Jan looking up at her daddy last year, trying to tell him something, and the love he had in his eyes for his little girl. Jan has been through so much in the past month or so. And now this. Today is the three year anniversary of the day her mama died, so there you go. She is fine, she tells me. And I know she is. But I also know this has to be hard for her, no matter how much of a relief her daddy's death was for him. He had dwindled so in the past few months and then he had a stroke, and then, three years almost to the day after his wife died, he went on too.
So it wasn't so much a sadness as a profound shift in the windy day but it was a day for that. When I got up, the sky was gray and by the time the sun set, there wasn't a cloud to be seen, despite the wind, despite the chill.

I think the oranges are done. I shall go tong them out, as Ms. Allegra recommends and eat some supper. Mr. Moon, who is almost well, has gone to a basketball game. And I will probably go to bed soon after my supper in order to be ready for Owen's early arrival.

One more picture. This is of the begonia which is happily wintering inside in my mud room. The blossoms are tiny and they reach for the light and every time I pass by them I am grateful for their small pink beauty, their reminder of our need for light and our ability to find it.

Our ability to thrive and blossom, even in the cold days of winter if given protection and a little water and a window. Even if the ground shakes when the train passes by. Even if the wind blows and the sun hides sometimes. Even if we get sick. Even if sorrows mount.

We can simmer oranges with honey and cloves. We can reach for the light, we can let ourselves rest, we can take the baby into our arms and hold him close. We can lie under the covers with our love for an afternoon nap of healing and we can take each of these small things and add them up to something so large that it fills us and shapes us and grants us the boon of life.

We can. I swear it. We can.


  1. I love that she leaves you an egg everyday on Mr Moon's workbench :)

    My neices LOVE trains...I love watching them run outside and watch for it.

  2. Those Oranges look awesome...what is the recipe and how would you suggest consuming them? My favorite part of our state is the fruit and I love new ways to consume it.

  3. Your second to the last paragraph is wonderful. It soothes my very soul.

    I love the egg. Every day an egg. What a nice hen.

  4. Dang, I wanted to go to that game with Papa, but I couldn't get in touch with anybody. Oh well, I guess I can feel abandoned for the first time in my life at the age of 20, it seems fair enough.

    Jan, if you're reading this, I'm terribly sorry to here that you lost your dad today. I'm sending a whole lot of love your way.

  5. You have such an ease to you. It's comforting.

  6. So sorry for Jan's loss. Wishing her peace and comfort while she goes through the grief of losing her daddy.

    Glad to hear Mr. Moon is feeling better. I do hope you get to rest plenty tonight, cause I'm sure Owen will keep you busy tomorrow. Love and hugs to you.

  7. A heart warming post, despite the wind in Elvis' tail. He is a fine looking rooster.

    Our train isn't as close as yours, but I hear the whistles blow all day. Sometimes it sounds almost mournful.

    Thanks for sending the light out where we can get to it without having to reach so hard. I'm going to be adding up all my little things and realizing how grand they are.

    Sorry for Jan's loss. It is good that she has such a supportive friend in you.

    It makes me smile to think how many of us will be sauteeing oranges for the first time this, thinking of Allegra and love the whole time.

    Hope you're feeling chipper for Owen tomorrow, and can't wait to hear how the oranges turned out.

  8. And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
    ~Anaïs Nin

    You said it even better. Here is to oranges, blossoms, eggs and solid friendship.

    Give Jan a hug for me, tell her that the only thing that never dies in the Universe is love and that the love from her parents will be with her forever. The way I see it is that now that she is safe in the arms of Jack that dignified, and gentle man her father was felt free to leave knowing she would be loved and taking care of.

    And you, feel better dear. Make some hot water with honey and lemon and drink it before Owen comes tomorrow. It always helps me when I am run down.

  9. Sorry about your friend's dad...

    Looks like a cold blustry day at your place too. I'd love to have a train run out the back of my house, I love the sound. I'm sure for some train driver your house is part of his daily landscape..

  10. Man, I am so sorry to hear about Jan's pappa. That is sad. She may be in some kind of emotional shock over it. As you say, she has been through a lot.

    If you let me know, I will go to the memorial in support of Jan.

    I hope your hips feel better. This rain is making mine ache too. yech! Will the rain ever stop?
    xo pf

  11. You shine on ... you do.
    Rest . Don't feel guilty. You have a lot of grandma years to go.

    The deepest of care to your Jan. Spring blooms will bring her light too.

    Have a great Owen day. And I will be a away, so will miss your blessings terribly. But I look forward to catching up like one does with a good book ready to read.

    love to you, to all of your loved ones.

  12. That Elvis is one good-looking bird.

    I am sorry about Jan's daddy. You are so right--there aren't a lot of dignified persons around anymore. Also, there aren't a lot of persons with integrity.

    The nest Mr. Moon built is so kind of him. What a good man he is.

    I love you more than the Moon.


  13. "The blossoms are tiny and they reach for the light and every time I pass by them I am grateful for their small pink beauty, their reminder of our need for light and our ability to find it."

    Yes. Amen, yes.

  14. SJ- Kids just love trains. And why not? They're very cool.

    Hockeymandad- Check out my previous post. I link to Allegra who posted the recipe.

    Lynne- Thanks for visiting and leaving such a nice comment.

    HoneyLuna- Oh you poor baby. Love you, honey.

    Maggie May- I'm so glad.

    Allegra- No, Anais Nin said is much better and with so many fewer words.
    But thank-you.
    I will pass your message on to Jan and I think that is a beautiful thought.
    We are going to eat Moroccan oranges tonight. I can't wait.

    Screamish- Yes. It was definitely a blustery day. And I wonder what it's like to be a train engineer.

    Ms. Fleur- No rain in two days!

    Deb- And love to you too. Safe travels.

    Ms. Bastard- Thank-you. And yes, Mr. Moon is a good and kind man. Sort of dignified too, come to think of it! Although he almost never wears a suit. Love you, dear girl!

    Nancy C- I am glad you liked that.

  15. oh Ms Moon, I love you. Thanks for these photos and words.
    And condolences to your dear Jan.
    I love your "even if sorrows mount"
    I am barely getting through the days with the thoughts of selling my house, losing my dogs and gardens looming, but I love to find you each day, even if I don't have the words to comment, I love your voice and talk, widsom, silliness, joy and sweetness.
    thank you for being here.


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