Lately around here it's either been all blue or all gray skies. It's as if on the cloudy days, all of the clouds which have not shown up to dance come together in great dense flocks to cover up the entire bowl of sky and on the sunny days they rest somewhere else in the universe, gathering their strength to come and weigh us down again.
Today was a blue sky day. Jessie brought the boys over and we went to a local state park which is not widely utilized, especially now. I've written about it before. It's the Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park and, according to this web site, contains Florida's tallest Native American ceremonial mound.
Here is an artist's rendition of what it looked like, between 1,100 and 1,800 years ago.
Now it looks like this.
I can only imagine that fifteen hundred or so years of being exposed to Florida's weather has altered the shape and taken away some of the height of what was basically a dirt pyramid. One cannot climb the mound, of course, but there are some nice trails around it and we adults walked and the boys biked through the shadows and the light, over the cleared pathways in the winter woods. It was quite chilly but very beautiful. We came upon a little pond and whether it is really a pond or just a low spot which the rain has filled, I do not know.
But it was ringed with live oaks so perhaps there is water there most of the time, anyway. It was a small and lovely spot, quiet and peaceful. A place of grace.
August is a pro on his bike, riding over grass and dirt like a little speed demon and Levon is doing very, very well. He didn't fall once. He needed his mama to hold the bike and tell him to put his feet on the pedals and give him a push a few times when the going got rough but he's figuring it out. He calls his riding his "learning". He is learning to ride his bike. He actually has it down pretty darn well and it is somewhat shocking to see such a small boy propelling himself about on a two-wheeler.
There's a nice picnic pavilion near the parking lot and we have taken picnics there before but today we came home and ate soup and sourdough from last night. I made so much soup. It was good soup, venison and vegetable and I make it somewhat like my mother used to make on cold nights although of course she used beef instead of venison.
My mother did not especially like venison. She told me once that when she was married to my father and they were living on a ranch somewhere out west (Arizona?) my father and some other cowboys would hunt deer out of season and she could remember sitting in the back of a truck with the dead deer which was covered by something so as to avoid arrest. She had a hard life with my father. He was born as the only son of a very well-off, well-known lawyer from Chattanooga, Tennessee and his wife who also came from money. He was a rich kid who supposedly fell in love with my mother in the first grade. He was smart and he was funny and he had a huge problem with alcohol and it was that part that made my mother's life a living hell. He did eventually get through law school and pass the bar but he couldn't hold down a job, even in his father and uncle's own law firm.
I wish I knew more about my father and about the time my mother was married to him but she didn't talk much about him and I understand that. I think he broke something in her. It's quite possible that I have half-brothers and half-sisters somewhere. Maybe one of these days I'll do some research, perhaps even do one of those DNA tests, see what that turns up. Meanwhile, I just wonder and think how strange it is that half of my genetics comes from a man I barely knew who with his absence, broke something in me too.
Well. That's certainly not what I started out to write about. Yet, here we are, aren't we? Somehow so much of me comes down to the absence of a father. That father. The cowboy whose best childhood friend was a Seminole boy named Moses Jumper.
Or at least, that's what I've heard.
Or at least, that's what I've heard.
And if there is one thing I am truly, truly grateful for, it's that my children have known their father. Fathers. There has been no absence in their lives which has been a dark and mysterious shadow. They've always known who their daddies are. They know they are loved by them. And that has always been so very important to me.
Gonna get cold tonight. Gonna be chilly and clear again tomorrow.
Talk to you later.