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.
The dawn on Sunday, proclaimed the new day in a whisper. Gentle light fell over the countryside, casting faint shadows. Even the birds tried to keep the new day a secret for they abandoned their usual chatter. Sometimes, beautiful things slip in our lives quietly, without a bit of fanfare. I love mornings in any shape or form.
I did start the spring cleaning though I haven't broken a sweat about it. I was sure that my bedroom would be as easy as eating cake. It took all day and then some. Yesterday, I started in the kitchen. I dreaded the thought of it and most especially, at a time when the cabinets are at full capacity ...
Kyle has made himself scarce, since I announced the "spring cleaning project"
. True to his word, he has been cleaning the territory. He even got the lawn mower working. Oh, how much better things looked! I bet , my neighbor, Susan was as happy as I was, to see the fresh cut lawn as she tended to the mowing, most of last summer. I looked around at the clean sheets on the line, billowing playfully in the slight breeze. . .and there were the violets along the winding footpath to the garden and the cherry tree with sparse, but very fragrant blossoms. . . and a single white tulip blooming by the back door.. My heart swelled with gladness at the goodness of it all. This place may be old and shabby and can not even boast of a dishwasher, but it is not short on charm.
I spent the day, in the kitchen. Most days, I am quite satisfied to have such an extensive collection of spices . . . it was not this day. (The spices did not get packed up, last year.) It was tedious work, and several needed new labels. I am quite particular about my spices.
The secret of the new day, got out, for the sun told it to anybody that would listen. By noon, bright silvery light flooded the territory. It was so quiet, for not a single car rode by, and not a neighbor was in sight. Tomorrow, the circumstances get much more strict. We are not to leave our homes and there are few exceptions. I have already been practicing this. Of course, I have quite an advantage, since I enjoy solitude and have all sorts of work and hobbies to entertain myself with. The worse thing for me, is of course, not seeing my children and grand children. If the projections are accurate, then it will be a long while.
I do not know when I quit worrying, but it was much more than a decade ago, I think. Worry never changed anything, except my well being. A lot of the things, I worried about, never even happened. The elders used to say, "Don't borrow trouble"
and went about their business. It seems they were always right about most things. Of course, there is scripture, to support this saying. Matthew chapter 6, really does sum up "faith"
and I have often relied on this passage. And in fact, I have painted a portion of it on one of the barns, along with birds ... Look at the birds of the air ...
Because I am not known to worry, I am considered to be carefree, by others. It is mostly true, after all, but I declare that this current epidemic warrants a degree of concern ... and caution. To me, worry and concern are like first cousins to one another. Mighty close, and they may favor, but they go to different homes at night. Worry is anxious and it feels hopeless and so desperate. Concern is awareness and alert observance, and proceeding with great thoughtfulness. Not a dictionary I know of says such a thing, but it is how I feel.
Monday was fair a day as has ever been. I still have work to do in the kitchen. There were just a couple of cabinets left-and they do not require the work, that the spice cabinet did, thankfully. In that case, I had plenty of time to meander in the glory of a day in spring. There can never be too much of that ... even should I live to a hundred and walk every springtime, I live to see.
Now, the wisteria blooms. Their blossoms are lavender and form into clusters that look like those of grapes. Some of them bloom now in the patch of young woods. I find them beautiful and such a hallmark of spring ... but I can not look at the darling flowers of the vine, without remember my friend "Sweet Anne"
of "Mehrling Muse"
, for she does battle with one wisteria every year. These vines are beloved if they are in the woods. They are hard to tame in the landscape, and will consume porches and gazebos and their neighbors, if you but blink. Now, "Sweet Anne"
feeds the birds, for she is that kind ... but she is a warrior when it comes to wisteria.
Some of the wild irises are blooming too. How they got along the edge of the woods, will remain a mystery, to me. Behind, the oldest barn, is a small orchard and how happy I was to see the pale pink apple blossoms. The bright yellow Japanese roses are blooming in mass and so though the orchard looks shabby, and needs tending, there us an undeniable beauty. The orchard is just bit wild now, and I almost prefer it that way, I think.
One of the things that I love about nature, is that it is so dependable. Come fire, hail, sleet or high water, nature recovers and goes on to thrive. I remember when my grandmama died. She was ninety-three and up until the last few months of her life, she was still sweeping floors at the rabbit patch. She was a tender soul with the heart of a lion, as she had proved by living through hard times, that most of us have never seen the likes of ... yet she remained gentle ... and full of light.
The night of her death, there was a bright flaxen moon over the field ... There it was shining, as if nothing in the world had changed. It was not one of my best moments, for I am the one that quarreled with the moon. How heartless that moon was to glow like that. It seemed to be making quite a grand production of its' shine. Without a bit of shame, I stated my feeble case fiercely. In the spring, I took no pleasure when the lilac thrift bloomed - nor the roses in the "Quiet Garden"
. Grandmama loved flowers.
Now, years later, I am sure, that the moon was grieving, as I was. Maybe, the truth was that it was shining so brightly, because my world was so dim, that night. With times being what they are, I finally realise that not only does nature feed us, clothe us, and shelter us, and supply us with perpetual beauty. It also comforts us with things like apple blossoms ... and that unwavering moon.