Blog, father, Fear, growing up country, rainy day

Storm Memories

Day 327

Yesterday we drove through a few ugly storm cells. Then when the storm moved, the dark clouds continued to linger above the highway. Seeing the clouds reminded me of my years growing up in the little valley we called home.

Growing up there gave us a lot of freedom. I had very little fear. I was not necessarily fearful of poisonous snakes, but I was aware and taught how to protect myself from them. Most every house could be found with the front doors open with a screen door to allow the mountain breezes to move through and provide a much appreciated breeze. I remember being afraid when my father went out as part of the volunteer fire crew to fight forest fires. And once or twice, we would hear of someone breaking into an isolated cabin ‘up on the mountain’ but it was a rare occurrence.

Weather was no different. We had plenty of thunderstorms with lightening, but I never feared the thunder or the lightening. We knew how to determine the distance of a storm by counting the number of seconds between seeing lightening and hearing a clap of thunder. All of the older two story houses were equipped with lightening rods with decorative glass balls on two ends of the roof structure. The lightening rods are connected to a grounding rod buried in the ground. The glass balls served a purpose as well. The theory was that if the rod was struck by lightening, the glass ball would shatter letting the owner know it was time to check for potential damage.

While we had thunderstorms, more often than not, we had rainstorms. Just saturating downpours which nourished the gardens and fed the creeks. This was the non-destructive rain that everyone hoped for.

Our home was nestled in a valley surrounded by four mountain peaks. If you were attentive you could see sheets of rain move across the mountains toward our little valley. As kids, we swam in the creek. We had three ‘swimming holes’ but the most popular was the one we referred to as The Millpond.

During the summer we spent most of our time swimming and sitting on a towel spread along the rocky creek bank. This is where almost everyone learned to swim, me included. I remember the older teenagers applying a combination of baby oil and iodine on their bodies in an attempt to get a tan. Yikes!

When we could see rain clouds and the leaves turn upside down, everyone headed home. The Millpond was in the holler which meant the trip to our house was along the road, across the bridge and on home in a u-shaped path. The closer the sheets of rain were, the faster we moved until we were in a full run. This became what we referred to as trying to outrun the rain. We seldom made it home without getting drenched in the cold summer rain. Such a great memory.

Later in life, I went home to visit. In this valley, almost everyone walked everywhere. I was alone, visiting before going to a training class in D.C. for my job. I started out on a walk one afternoon. As I stepped off of my father’s porch, he said “It looks like it might rain.” I nodded and continued on my way. I missed that freedom and wanted to take advantage of walking while I had the chance.

I was about 30 minutes into my walk when the rain came up behind me. First, a few heavy drops, widely separated. Then more drops until a solid sheet of rain was upon me. I was soaked. Then, I did as I had often done as a child, I stepped onto the covered porch of a house no longer occupied to wait out the rain.

Within minutes, I saw my father’s car driving down the road. He saw me on the porch, pulled up and motioned for me to come to the car. As he had tried to do so many times in my life, he came to my rescue.

Such a bittersweet but beautiful memory.

authentic self, Blog, childhood, Fear

From Fearless to Fearful and Back

Day 255

I was a fearless child. Growing up in the country and having the freedom to roam helped me be rather fearless. I do remember two points in time where I first felt fear as a child. One, I have written about one here on my blog, where my own thoughts were overwhelming and made me fearful.

The second memory has to do when I went with my siblings to ‘jump rocks’. Jumping rocks was what we did to move across or up and down the creek. We jumped from one exposed rock to another. I was the youngest of four children, and I am sure often the most annoying of the lot.

On this particular day, the creek was up, which made the available surface to jump to and from smaller. My siblings told me to wait on a very large rock because the jumps were too long for me to make. All was well until I looked down to see a snake and what looked like 20 babies swimming along beside the rock.

I started to scream bloody murder. All I wanted was my grandfather to rescue me, but unfortunately he was away visiting his brother. I screamed so loud, the entire community came running. No one could get me off that rock. I wanted my Grandpa.

I am not sure who finally got me off the rock, but I remember this as if it were yesterday. I know now the snakes were harmless water snakes, but at the time, they seemed deadly.

When my granddaughter was here, she started to say “scared” and the most benign things. It seems she has picked up fear of bugs at daycare. Being afraid of bugs in the mountains will not serve you well. We were able to show her bees and bugs and talk about where they lived, but I cannot help but wonder what goes on in her little mind.

Looking back, I think society influences our fear. The news, the guns, the crime, the hatred — all of it bombards us. I have made an intentional effort to limit the amount of time I read the news, spend time on Facebook, or watch too much tv. As a result, I live more peacefully and enjoy life much more.

I also think being knocked down through jobs we held, can make us fearful and believe we are not capable of all the magic that each of us possess. But the magic never dies. Sometimes we just need to unearth it.

The other day I walked by a huge grape vine wound around a tree. I remembered back to the little girl that would hike the woods with her brother, cut free the grape vine and swing like Tarzan. We drank water from the springs using leaves as our cups. That was a fearless girl. I’m glad she’s finding her way home.

Blog, childhood, children, Fear

When Times Were Gentle

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Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Day 217

I have a print hanging upstairs my husband bought me on our second anniversary. The painting, When Times Were Gentle, is by the artist G. Harvey. It is a night street scene of times gone by. It has such a peaceful aura about it. I am not old enough to remember these times, but I do often think about how much simpler life seemed when I was growing up. I know life is not the same for us across the board, but for a child, I believe life should be gentle. I am not saying without responsibility because we had a lot of responsibility. I am just saying free from stress and surrounded by love.

Yesterday there was another school shooting. This type of fear and terror, especially when carried out by peers, must do something to a person’s psyche — especially a child. I cannot imagine going to school knowing school shootings are a reality and a very real possibility.

I am not here to argue gun control or politics, I am here to mourn innocence lost. I fear for my grandchildren living in a world where there seem to be no efforts to curb violence. I think we are becoming numb to it which scares the hell out of me.

People shot dead don’t come back. You don’t get a new life, or get regenerated or re-spawned like so many video games show. Dead is dead. Wounded is scarred — for life.

This blog took a turn I was not expecting today. I had a funny, childhood topic in mind, but some days, things are just not funny.

And just a note. I will not engage in political arguments or soapbox stands here. My blog, my rules. Otherwise, I love reading your thoughtful comments and shared experiences.

“When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.”
Patrick Rothfuss

Blog, Death, Fear, intimacy, loss, trust

Intimate Trust

Day 106

“You are going to die.”

At some point, many of us will hear those words. We will come face-to-face with preparing for our life to end. It may be a long process or it may be a matter of days or weeks. It will be the day we acknowledge that everything we have known for all the years of our life will one day just stop.

I think there is an intimate trust one develops when facing death. It may be with a complete stranger, a family member, a dear friend, or a caretaker.

The person who cares for your mental and physical needs may see you in a way that, in life, we never wanted to be seen. When we reach the time we cannot physically care for ourselves, we must relinquish control of every need to someone else.

There are all sorts of more materialistic plans such as getting our affairs in order, but I am talking about the caring of body, mind, and spirit.

Sometimes we carry burdens we have buried deeply for years and years. There may be a need to finally speak those things and free ourselves from the weight of them.

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There is such responsibility of being the person held in such regard. To hear the anger, fears, regrets, and sometimes secrets of someone’s life is a statement of the most intimate trust.

Hospice nurses always talk about the life review occurring near the very end of death. If there is trust, the vulnerability of one’s life may be shared much earlier–if there is trust.

When someone holds your hand and looks into your eyes, you can feel their need to be freed from what weighs them down.

It can be hard, especially after the person passes. You may feel you have possession of something important and may not know what to do with it.

I have found it is easier to think of this as the reading of the most precious biography. A book crafted with the intimate and personal details of life. It is a story that holds you in its embrace. But at some point, the story comes to an end and the book is closed.

You may always remember the poignant parts of the book but it is not your story and the last chapter has been written. All you can do is be thankful you bore witness to it all.

 

 

art, Blog, creativity, Fear, reflection, Writing

It’s My Time

Day 83

Today was a turning point. I realized I’ve been waiting for something to happen. I don’t know what, but I’m tired of waiting.

I am a nurturer by nature. I worry about everyone and will always try to do anything I can to help those I love and care about. That’s a noble calling I suppose, but what I have discovered is that putting everyone and everything else above what you dream for yourself makes it impossible to achieve those dreams.

I will always love and care for people. It’s in my DNA. Today I decided it is okay for me to focus on myself as well.

MasterClassSince we didn’t really shop or exchange much in the way of gifts for Christmas, I told hubby I wanted to sign up for a couple of classes on Master Class. Specifically about writing. So, my belated Christmas gift was a year-long subscription to all the classes. Wow! I am so excited! (Click on the logo to the left to go to their website! There is a great promotion running until midnight Pacific time tonight — 12/26/2018)

Tonight I started Margaret Atwood’s Creative Writing Class. I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. It has already made me realize a few major changes I must take in how I structure my life if I intend to write seriously.

I am relieved to get some sort of validation that my method of writing is ok if it works for me. Now, why did I need for someone to tell me that? If it works for me, it works for me.

As I go through some of the questions raised in the class, I have already had to tell my inner critic to pipe down a few times. I get to control this. Years of nagging doubt are surfacing and I am working to change the way I think about my ability to write.

Retirement is wonderful, but it can be bogged down by the same things that bog you down in pre-retirement life. Remodeling, cleaning, cooking, errands, shopping, and laundry are all still there. It takes a conscious effort to achieve the things we hope to accomplish.

In one of my earlier blogs, I said I wanted 2019 to be lighter. I think that lightness may come in part by doing things that I really want to do. In so many ways, 2018 was hard. I cannot dwell on the difficulties and the hardships. I want to forge ahead toward the goals I have set for myself. There is room to do that and also love and care for those I hold so dear to my heart.

I feel lighter already.

“To be creative, first we must be generous. Then we must have a quiet, indomitable belief in our own worth.” 
Donna Goddard