Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cups Runnething Over

I am suffering.
Not from heat stroke, although I'm close. And not from a summer cold or the sinus thing that still has Mr. Moon snuffling and not from starvation (most certainly!) and not from nostalgia or regret.
I am suffering from lack of writing. And from home-sickness.

The lack of writing is self-explanatory. We all know, those of us who wake up in the morning with an idea of or a glimmer of an idea or maybe just a word or phrase that we need to get down, have to get down, what I mean. For some reason- whatever reason- some of us simply have a need to translate what's in our head out into words. It just must be.
And okay, yes, I've managed to get posts up but none of them are crafted, none of them have a phrase or sentence that sings, either to me or to you, and that makes me feel like I'm limping along on half-a-leg with a crutch. Yes, I can make it from here to the end of the hallway but the journey is not pleasant and when I get there, I will not be dancing.
If you know what I mean.

But the home-sickness thing. Well, it's not that I miss a place. I am right here in my home, the home I love, the home where I want to be. But I am sick at the way I am letting everything slide downhill. I am barely keeping my head above water with the things I do, as a housewife, which I don't even realize I do until the time to do them is cut so short that I can't. Not well, at least.

It's not unlike the writing but it is different. I've never been a very good housekeeper. Dust is abundant in my house and spiderwebs are everywhere. But there's just a certain level of acceptability which I do try to keep up with and right now, I'm not.
And it's not just the house. It's the yard. And the garden where I am getting so many cucumbers and tomatoes and beans that I'm overwhelmed.
As some of you know, I do, at times, channel a Mormon woman or a pioneer woman or a frontier woman, or most likely, an old Cracker woman, who looks at produce gone to waste as a sin.
I barely have time to cook these days, much less can or pickle or freeze.
I have three types of beans right now and for the first time, this year, we planted two rows of what we call field peas. They are beans that you let ripen until the pods are dry and then you shell them and cook the peas and they are one of the most wonderful foods on the planet. You, my sister-and-brother Southerners, know exactly what I'm talking about and I feel sorry for those of you who do not.
And my field peas are ripening quickly and beg to be picked and shelled. Now.
Picking is nothing. Shelling means long afternoons with a basket and a big metal pot because when you open those pods with your thumb, the peas sometimes scatter and you need something big to do that over so that you don't lose any of the precious little black-eyed legumes.
It is a joy to do if you have nothing else calling you, nothing else you HAVE to do, and Lord knows I don't have that right now.

I am not tending my garden, not putting up my food, not sweeping my floors, not cleaning my toilets and I'm barely getting the laundry done.

And I'm not making poems out of word-prayers.

But to everything there is a season. This is true. And sometimes seasons overlap and you have to point and say, "This, this, oh, I'm so sorry, not this. Not right now."
And that is what's happening.

I'll tell you this though:
Owen can brush my hair now. I sit on the step which leads down from my bathroom to my bedroom and he pulls the rug aside (I have no idea why he must do this but he does) and he brushes my hair. Before he begins, he tells me to take off my glasses and then he apologizes. "Sorry," he says. "Sorry."
He brushes quite nicely and sometimes he takes my head in his two hands and turns it for better brushing or viewing. Sometimes he brushes my hair over my eyes and then studies the results and says, "Nice!"
I melt. I simply melt. If he brushes too fiercely, I say, "Gentle," and he calms down.
This is it. This is what life is about. Your not-quite-two-year-old-grandson brushing your hair and turning your head in his hands.

At least that's what I think.

And I'll tell you something else: I left my mother at her new home tonight, sitting at supper with some other ladies and they were welcoming and helpful and one of them was one hundred and two years old. She is the lady who takes care of the plants on the screened-in porch. Her name is Mable. Her room is right next to Mother's and she said, "You just call me if you need me. I'm right there."
And she meant it.
She's lived at Westminster Oaks for twenty years.

May and Mr. Moon did yeoman's work today, getting almost all the rest of Mother's things packed up and moved and Mother was excited and happy. May was calming and organized and Mother said over and over again how wonderful she was.
And she was.
Gave up her two precious days off to go help her grandmother and no one could have done it better.

When I left Mother, I felt like I was leaving a kid at camp. "Do you have your key? Do you know where your room is? You just ask someone if you need any help. Call us if you need us."

I can see that the changes in Mother which have caused her to need this sort of care and moving her to this new place is changing my relationship with her and it feels organic and it feels good.
And tomorrow I will pick her up and take her to her regular doctor for her annual bloodwork at 8:30 a.m. and then help her arrange the things in her room and then I'll go stay with Owen at his house for a few hours and no, my house is not going to get any cleaner, my cucumbers are not going to be pickled, my laundry is not going to get done and I'm probably not going to write the Great American Blog Post.

But. Here I am. Doing what I can and I don't know....
It's enough.
Yes. I feel like I am suffering but it's the sort of suffering that bleeds but does not kill. And at the same time, I feel like I am doing exactly what it is that I need to be doing.
Tending people and if the house and the garden must be let to slide, then so be it.

But right now I must go make supper because Mr. Moon needs to eat and he needs healthy food because he works so hard and I love him so much and he must stay alive forever and ever and ever.

And my job is to give him the food that will allow that to happen.

Tomatoes. Cucumbers. Beans. Squashes and potatoes.
Hair-brushing and peanut butter sandwiches and chicken-feeding and birthday parties and moving mother into her new home and me asking Owen "what color is this?" and "how many?" and singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow and bringing my mother a Whitman's Sampler and a tiny rose in a pot.

I am not really suffering. I am just living a life. The life of a mother, daughter, grandmother, wife. A Cracker woman.

I fill the chicken waterer to the top and it splashes over and cools my legs as I carry it.

My cup runneth over too. And the floors will have to wait. Which they will.

I am not complaining, I am not bragging. I just...am.

And it is fine.


  1. Why would you think your words do not sing? Your words of old ladies in assisted living, foxes, bugs biting your ass, birthday pies, chickens, grandsons, Mr. Moon and all the other things that go on in your everyday life sing to me. I really mean that. Keep writing Cracker woman! I love the music.

  2. An "if only" comment here--

    if only I lived near to you I would be so happy to shell peas for you. I haven't done it in about thirty-four years (back when I used to sit on the swing under the oak trees with my sister and my mother and my granny, shelling peas in pans in our laps in the green and gold and blue and white summer) but I bet I'd pick it up again quick.

  3. your posts are so thick with life and good words and details, mary moon. i eat them up.

  4. Ms. Moon, you let me know when you are ready to shell peas. It is one of my very favorite activities in the entire universe - so very Zen and so reminiscent of childhood bliss on my granny's farm in South Carolina. I am so serious. I mean it!

    PS. I will bring my own bottle of wine. It is so helpful in the pea-shelling process.

  5. and what if
    i could turn your face to the timber of my heart? and our words sung out into the slow summer air...and we just
    leaned into each other as familiar as sisters who had shelled a mountain of beans together?
    it would be your words that made us fit so perfectly...and recognize each others hearts anywhere,
    though we have never met.

  6. You are the least ordinary person I know. Hardly cracker. Or crackers. I come here every day to get my fill of what I know I need. That's rare.

  7. Oh I've missed reading your blog so much! I'm so glad you're still here now that I've partially recovered from my malaise. I can't believe how big/old Owen is!

  8. Birdie- I just feel like I'm not doing a good job and it makes me feel bad.
    But thank-you. So much.

    x-ray Iris- It's been at least that long since I've done it too but I have no doubt that I remember how.

    Maggie May- I'd eat YOU up.

    Kati- Who know? Maybe this weekend? I'll call if I find a time segment. You're precious.

    rebecca- It would be awesomely beautiful. That's what if.

    Madame Radish King- I consider being an old Cracker Woman to be a thing of great honor. I strive to be one. I am not succeeding, though. But...those words? Made it all okay.

    erin- I am so sorry about your grandmama. I am happy to see your face here.

  9. I am not beating myself up over things that aren't done. I do what I can. And I take vegetables to meetings and to give to others when I have too many. They are much appreciated.

  10. This is how it is but the image in my head of Owen gently brushing your hair is just too precious to contain. Everything sings here. And would you believe my word verification is "serve." We serve.

    Tell mr moon feel better!

  11. Hearing about your day made me happy. Your cup is full. You seem to be handling all of the different directions you are being pulled to, but I hope you get more of your time back to yourself soon!

  12. Every single time you get busy or speed up a little, you feel the need to apologize and lament...I wish you didn't. It's just life; we're all in the same boat. All our lives are crazy hectic :) We stop by here, say a hello and how are you today, and I'm sure I speak for most when I say that's good enough for us. Just READING blogs is too much to cram in sometimes, let alone writing. All is well.

    I'm so glad your mom is feeling better. That should calm down soon.

  13. Yes, many of us must take care of the people first, before so many other callings; sometimes it is just necessary and proper. And time/energy consuming; yet one is grateful to be able to do it. And meanwhile richness keeps piling up ---the 102 year old lady who tends the plants on the porch and urges your mother to call on her for help, and of course Owen studying your hair as he brushes it... what sweetness. And you sound kind of mellow, despite everything.

  14. Another Miz Mable has entered your life???? Sweet.

    As for the farming thing - one (of the many things) you taught me is that a garden is like children. It thrives with a little neglect.

    Your earth will call you back when it is ready.

    Owen ALREADY has a fine career as a hairdresser.

    And you are a BRILLIANT writer. And daughter. And wife. And mother. And grandmother.

    And artist.

  15. I'm still thinking we were separated at birth


  16. I'm sorry your life is so hectic right now.

    I love you.

  17. I don't what else to say except that I so get it.
    I so so get it .

    heavy deep joy and tired and this is a season sigh.

  18. And I'll just say this: there were times when my garden overwhelmed me and I just took armloads of fresh vegetables to the local food bank, and they nearly made me their QUEEN because they almost never get fresh vegetables. And I knew that it was exactly the way it was supposed to be.
    AND: Bloodletting used to be a common practice to cure what ails you. Maybe that's the reason for the feeling. At least you don't have to have nasty leeches crawling all over you.....

    hugs and sloopy smoochies to you on this particular day, girl.

    haha--my word verifications is: comin

    here I come...and I'll sweep up for ya.

  19. I almost cried when I read the part about you shelling peas because my grandmother who we called Mudear short for mother dear used to do that with us. She'd sit us in a row on the porch with big metal bowls and me and my sisters would shell those field pies good. And then we'd pick through collard green leaves and later play outside while Mudear cooked it all up. No, I am not from the south but my Mudear was which is part of why I guess I found my way here. Summers shelling peas away from Los Angeles on a porch in Birmingham made way to college in Tuskegee, Alabama and then life as a grownup in Atlanta.

    And you, Sister Moon. You getting your hair brushed and you cutting Mr. Moon's hair and you making your pies and tending to your chickens and singing your Somewhere Over the Rainbows is enough. It so is. And. It is poetic. It is.

    P.S. Where else, pray tell, would we have learned of the 12 steps for Assholiness? ;)

  20. Sometimes I put the washing through three times because I'm so scatty I forget to take it out of the machine. I have less dust since I got rid of stuff but I can't keep on top of much for long.

    You're amazing, you do so much. Just make you sure keep on writing. I love you! xx

  21. Syd- I take vegetables to my kids. Lord knows I have enough!

    Angella- "Serve" is the word I was thinking of. The exact damn word.

    Jill- Tomorrow I have an entire day to do what I want to do. AN ENTIRE DAY!

    SJ- You know me so well. Love you, baby.

    A- I am feeling okay. Honestly. I just get up and do what needs to be done. And it is okay.
    And what sweetness in my life!

    Omgrrrl- Have I told you lately that I love you?

    Michelle- Some DNA is shared and that is no lie. None at all.

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- It's okay. I took a nap today and it is okay. I love you so much.

    deb- I know you do. I know you get it. Thank you.

    Akannie- Broom's in the laundry room. You're precious.

    Gradydoctor- Honey, all women know how to shell peas. Somewhere in our DNA, we know. Thumb slipping up the seam of the pod, beans pinging in the pan. You're on my grateful list. You know you are.

    Christina- Ha! I do the same! I can't stop writing. It's too buried in my soul to stop. And you make me think that maybe it's a good thing. Love you, dear.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.