To a Wild Rose | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's note: Please join me in welcoming Author Michele Rhem, who presents us with her poignant memoirs of the Rabbit Patch, where her diaries weave tales of a simpler, expressive life lost to many, but gathered together in her most familiar environs - the Rabbit Patch.

    April has a reputation as a beautiful month, and so far she has been living up to it! Every day of spring break has been lovely. A few showers in the early morning have left the air clean and fragrant. Otherwise, the sunshine abides in the day, and the stars at night. I think days, come and go in the loveliest way. We have a sunrise to inspire hope, and a sunset to inspire gratitude, for what has transpired in the course of the day.

    I am in Elizabeth City for a few days, another rabbit patch . ( Chances are if you live in rural North Carolina, you live on a rabbit patch.) Elizabeth City is full of rabbits. I noticed this when I first began strolling with Lyla, now two years ago. (It was one of the reasons, I named the diary "Rabbit Patch"). There were rabbits in the yards, in the ditches and even in the quaint and quiet streets. These rabbits are much more friendly than their country cousins. They are not as skittish and allow Lyla a close observation. We saw some yesterday in a bed of clover at twilight.

    Yesterday was full of all sorts of sweet moments. Lyla and I did not take to wandering about til later in the afternoon. We used a new "stroller" from Aunt B, who I am now convinced gives wonderful presents. It is a tricycle with a handle for pushing. Lyla pedals along and seems to feel very important, as she does so. We quickly encountered some robins taking a bath in a puddle. Their splashing and fluttering in the water was quite amusing to Lyla. A crow flew down from a crepe myrtle to join them. Lyla has learned to be still and quiet when watching birds and critters, but the crow, almost made her laugh aloud as he squawked and carried on so. She covered her mouth with her little hand and looked at me with a merry expression that showed up in her eyes.

    On the next block, we walked by a mock orange in full bloom. As is my habit, I smelled the blossoms and found the scent heavenly. It was a most pleasant floral and citrus blend. The blossoms are not so spectacular, but the bush was heavy laden with them and it was a pretty sight. I love the mock orange and now Lyla does too.

    Squirrels were scampering out and about and all seemed to have an agenda. We watched several and all of them were every bit as friendly as the rabbits. One fellow was hastily digging and was too intent to mind us watching. He dug as if it was the last pecan in the world to be found.

    The sweet smell of freshly cut grass was all around us. Clover blossoms mingled with it and made me want to breathe deeply as we strolled. As usual , we ended up at the river. We sat quietly and listened to the laughing sound, made by the gentle waves. I do not think great thoughts when we sit on the banks of the Pasquotank. I don't entertain notions, and if there are any problems to solve, I just don't remember them. Lyla follows suit, and just stares at the water like it is telling her secrets-and maybe it is. I never know how long we have been in this state as the laughing river does not honor a measurement of time. At some point the sound of noisy seagulls or a barking dog breaks the spell and we hid for home.

    On the way home, yesterday, a neighbor was working in his yard and invited me to see a wild rose that had surprised him, by planting itself in his yard. The color was a cheerful fuschia and several large roses were in plain sight with many buds-all weighing the branches down, in their abundance. The neighbor wanted me to smell the roses and so I happily obliged. It was maybe the sweetest rose I had ever come across.

    There are so many ways to live a life. I think of this often. Cities and corporate ladders suit many. Travel to exotic lands suits others. The ways to spend a life are varied so that every one can be content, I think. For me, watching birds in a puddle and listening to a laughing river was a day well spent. . . and a moment with a wild rose is a lovely and tender moment, and Dear Diary, I was glad I passed that way.
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