This blog post is different. It is the first blog post EVER, in ALL the years I’ve been blogging here at maryjanesfarm, that I composed in my head.
Most times I’m sitting at the computer in my home office, occasionally I’ll be outside. Sometimes I have an old school composition notebook and a pen. This time I was outside without computer, without paper, without pen. Just my mental notes. (Which, by the way, are not what they used to be. But I’ll do my best. We’ll see how it goes.)
While I was writing my blog post “in my head,” I counted the number of points I had made as a way to help me recall them at this moment. And now I am inside, writing what I composed in my mental notes.
Let’s flip through those notes. Here are the 5 thoughts I’d like to share.
- The internet.
- The snake, et. al
- The music.
- The water.
For the life of me, I cannot come up with the 5th.
So, okay, we’ll talk about 4 things then.
1. The Internet.
I’m on a working vacay, My Friends, at a little red cottage by a creek. “Working vacay” before “vacay vacay.” As long as vacay is in the sentence, it’s a good sentence. I’ll bring out the slide projector next time we visit and show you my vacation slides from my real vacay vacay that I’m going to go on soon. Lucky you. HAHA.
Summer was short this year. With all the snow days we had this past wonderful, cold, blustery, snowy, fabulous, dreamy, winter wonderland WINTER, school days/daze lingered deep into the month of June. I had to squish a lot of SUMMER in a short time.
Working. Relaxing. Working.
The internet connection at this little cottage has been sketchy. It’s slow and inadequate. EVENTUALLY the things that have to come together to make the magic of the interweb work (is it magic, isn’t it?) come together, and it works. But. It makes it tough to do all the research I need to be doing for a project I’m involved in.
The bright side of slow internet? It has caused me to slow down.
~S~L~O~W~ way down.
“Shoe-wee…lawzey…tarnation..and confound!” This is what I’ve been saying while waiting on the internet since I got here. (I go all southern when I’m frustrated.)
Yes. It drove me crazy at first.
But now I’m adapting. I have figured out that having slowness means more coffee and tea breaks. It means more looking up, up, and away from the computer screen. When I’m just sitting there, waiting, waiting, waiting, I connect more to what is going on around me, rather than total, uninterrupted focus on the computer.
So there is no need to be in a hurry, right? Useless. Might as well just relax. Hang out. Breathe.
But for now, I’m not frustrated with getting online because I’m by the creek that runs beside the little red cottage. I’m sitting on a huge rock formation. I brought a blanket, well two. One for me and one for Blue, my traveling dog.
You see that pinecone? On the rock at the edge of the water? I threw it there. Funny story.
- The Snake et. al
I was attempting to throw it into the water but being a terrible thrower, I missed the target. Didn’t even get to the water. Now why would I want to throw that pinecone in the creek?
While I was sitting on this rock, a snake swam by and was about to crawl on the rock WITH ME. What to do? I picked up a pinecone beside me and threw it to hit the water close to her so she’d keep swimming and not take a sunning break. But I missed. She was unfazed by the pinecone and just kept coming. Towards me.
I could have run back to the cottage. I would have. I should have?
But instead I did the bear encounter thing: I held my arms high into the air so I’d look massive, danced around, and made a lot of noise. A lot. One look at the crazy big person on the rocks and she jumped back into the water and swam away.
I looked her “type” up. She looked pretty scary to me with markings on her back. As it turns out, she was a northern water snake, harmless. If you can call any snake harmless. And so I named her Sapphire.
Wait. I have an announcement to make. I think I have conquered my snake phobia. Can you even believe that? I have standard snake fear now. Can I get a HALLALUJAH and CONGRATULATIONS! That was hard work that took almost a lifetime. But I did it. Yay, me!
Ouch. A mosquito just bit my arm. I slapped him dead and blood spattered. I haven’t been bitten by a mosquito in years. Our farm is high in the Appalachian Mountains, very few mosquitoes there. But here at the little red cottage, in the heat of the south, mosquitoes are massive and hungry.
And oh my gosh, the ants! Ants everywhere. Big ants, small ants. Black ants, red ants. Fire ants….um, ice ants? If I put down a cup of coffee, this is the result within seconds. Seconds, my friends, not minutes.
Ants are tireless creatures. Do they even sleep? Or relax? Here’s an ant path across the walking path I took to the creek. The little tiny ants have created a visible path in the dirt with all their busy activity, back and forth, back and forth. Pretty impressive.
I remember my favorite joke as a 3rd or 4th grader. Here it is. Are you ready? “What did the Pink Panther say when he stepped on an ant?” Answer, sung to the tune of the Pink Panther theme song, “Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant-dead ant-dead ant” etc. I used to giggle every time with that one (every now and then someone else would laugh, but mainly I cracked myself up. I laughed again just now. Never gets old.)
Wait, you won’t believe this. A female cardinal (red bird) just landed on a branch right beside me. I froze. I wanted to pick up my phone and snap a photo, but knew she’d fly off. So, like a statute, I didn’t move a muscle, barely breathed. She chirped and sang. A mother? Where is her nest, I wondered. I remembered reading that the call of the red bird is different depending on its geographic location. They have one accent in the north and a different one in the south. Just like people.
Ah, just saw the male cardinal, with it’s beautiful bright red feathers. There must definitely be a nest close by. I believe the male and female are communicating with each other. One sings, then the other. Maybe, “here’s a cricket for our babies” or “don’t you look beautiful this morning.”
Speaking of music.
- The music.
I went to a little local country music show on Saturday night. It was fun and interesting, but I found the music didn’t have the same flare that it has up in Appalachia. The influence of bluegrass wasn’t there. No banjo, but lots of steel guitar. One fella took the stage and sang nothing but sad, depressing old country songs. If you weren’t depressed before you came in, you sure were when you left. Luckily, a livelier group hit the stage with some Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, the good stuff. I was, I believe, the third youngest person there. There was one kiddo, about 8 years old, and a teenager, and then me. The rest of the audience was, um, old, um, ish. I loved seeing this. White hair everywhere, knees slapping and hands clapping. I am constantly amazed at the great talent that is found in little tiny places.
Maybe I told you that I added a banjo to my collection of instruments I’m going to learn to play. One. Day. In. My. Free. Time. It’s sitting in the corner of my house in a stand. And I got a beginner’s book. It’s a celtic banjo. I continue to have great plans for my musical career. I’ll let you know when that happens.
- The water.
I’m really enjoying the water beside this little red cottage. It’s not deep, which means you can see the bottom in most places. Which means you can see what’s swimming in there. Like that snake. And there’s a fish that comes early every morning when I’m down here with my cup of coffee. It’s big and speckled. Trout, maybe? I’m convinced it’s the same fish with me every day.
You know how people today talk about their “ascetic”? Water is one of mine. Not still water, like a lake or pond, but moving water, like a river or creek. There is a small waterfall here. Small but noisy. I really like that sound. And I’ve always heard that being beside running water is good for you, something about the ions that are emitted from the movement of the water.
My daughter sometimes calls the things I observe and comment upon “fake deep.” But they don’t seem fake to me. She probably would say that about this particular thought I’m about to share.
Life is like the water that is flowing down this wild creek. Back there at the waterfall? Well, you get thrown around and tossed around and bang your head and heart on the rocks. But you get through that, and there’s the lovely smooth, quiet pool. Yeah, there may be a snake in there that scares you. But there also may be a cardinal couple in the branch above that sings you on your way. And there’s a dragonfly that is lighting on the water’s service, beauty and transformation. Look for the cardinals and dragonflies.
And. Since you are water, you can’t stop. You have to move. So you enjoy the quiet for some time. And for some distance. But here we go again. Up ahead some big rocks await, obstacles. Things you’ll need to navigate your way through to stay conscious. All this movement, all this flow, the rough water and the smooth, it chisels you into you. It refines your edges and corners. You wind up better equipped to handle whatever’s in front of you. I’ve always thought it’s all about learning. Learning from everything. And defining yourself by the successful turns you make, not by the times you were getting banged and beaten. That’s probably the key.
- The unknown.
I have no idea what the 5th point was I wanted to make. Maybe you can make it for me? Won’t you add something to this post?
Creativity flows by a creek.
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, Rebekah, The City Farmgirl