If I could save time in a bottle, I’d still lose track of it! My endeavors are honest ones. I took up the hobby of canning of garden vegetables and when a fantastic deal of almost free (one dollar for 25 pounds of tomatoes) tomatoes (you pick ‘em) came my way, I went for as many as I could process and can. It was/is an incredible amount of work, but I’ve enjoyed it. I’m also enjoying the fact that I’m almost done canning for a while!
May has been the month for visitors, spring breakers and, for the final two weeks, one of my oldest and dearest friends stayed with us while she downsized her mother’s home so that mom could move on to an Assisted Living Facilty (ALF).
It is a hard thing, this aging parent visit. Having just walked the journey with my own mother, I’ve tried to give her perspective, all the while knowing that each situation is slightly different, so I frequently reminded myself to be sparing with advice (and probably wasn’t). My main goal was to make our home and her room a soft place to fall after a long day of emotional decisions. She appreciated it.
May has also been the month when my youngest returned home, accepting a job as a high school youth pastor. All three boys seem to be on track with good, steady jobs.
I continue with writing text for web pages for others. I know more about the roofing business than I ever wanted to know! I’ve hit a bit of a wall on the last chapters of my book, but think I now know the way to present the final polish of the apple. Now to find the time…
I marked the one year anniversary of my mother’s death at Corkscrew Swamp (see picture above), where she volunteered as a guide for years, by spreading the rest of her ashes there. The day was picture perfect: low humidity, cool breeze, and the sky was hung with banks of puffy clouds that danced across a pale blue sky. Since it is spring, our dry season, the swamp was almost dry, but we did find two very small mud holes, both claimed by alligators.
The place itself is quite beautiful. The walk is easy, since you follow a boardwalk. Animals do come up on it, as evidenced by the scat left here and there, but since the swamp was dry and it was midday, we saw no wildlife other than birds, gators, and insects.
Ah, yes! The insects. The next time I go, it will be with a can of insect repellant! The woods are lovely, but they are dark and deep and I had miles (two, actually) to go through clouds of hungry mosquitoes and deer flies, plus a few territorial bees. It was worth the itch, though, as we stood deep in the lush, green jungle whose corners disappeared into black peat and giant ferns. The place was primeval and old growth and the way Florida looked in the 1600s. Well, except for the boardwalk. I imagined the first Native American Indians picking their way across the muck. I imagined Ponce de Leon and his foot soldiers crashing through.
The light, filtering through the leaves, shifted with the passing clouds, changing the greens from dull olives to light and bright shades of lime on the fern fronds. The rap of a woodpecker’s beak resonated in the almost silence…not quite echo, but a hollow sound from miles away.
The other birds chattered and called out warnings about our presence from time to time, but when they quieted, all I could hear was the wind, sighing through the treetop canopy far above our heads. It was wonderfully dark and moist, earthen tunnels of jungle underbrush broken by dry, bright beams of sunlight dancing across a small sea of ferns that give way to vast expanses of sawgrass, bent over in the sun. I imagine that the place is a steam bath in summer but it was quite comfortable during our walk and I enjoyed every moment of it.
There were moments of tears and of letting go, but her ashes now rest in the Florida ground she so loved. They ride the currents, from swamp to river to sea and swirl in the air that rises up like dancing dervishes. Her life is at peace now. She moves on and so do I, as May turns into June.