This afternoon a dear friend told me I seemed happier than I had in a long time. And that made me even happier. I showed her pictures of where my day had taken me so far and she agreed–stuff worth being happy about.
Leroy, my big brother, invited my crew to come over to the new house and play today. And he told me to go do “whatever.” Whatever? I thought through the possibilities and then picked up the phone to call my Aunt. I asked if I could come and pick beans, as we’d been talking about this for a couple of weeks. After questioning my thought processes that led me to decide to pick beans in my “time off,” she said well sure. I guess it might seem an odd choice to some. This is my first “free without plans or a doctor’s appointment” time in a very long, long time. I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be. Picking beans without folks with me who might whine about the heat? Bring it.
I can’t remember my first time in a garden. I just remember always picking with my Daddy. My Granddaddy planted quite the garden at Granny’s when I was small. I can remember sitting on the edge of the bucket picking butterbeans, trying to be so careful not to pull up the whole plant. Later when we moved to Blackberry Flats Daddy planted and we all picked and snapped and shelled and Mama canned. I remember helping him plant as recently as just a few years ago. Using the bricks with a string tied between to line up the row, and then dropping the seeds along every so often. Oh I miss it.
So, time in a garden today? Yes please.
My Uncle pulled corn, and he, my Aunt, and I sat and shucked and silked it under the shade of the trees in no time. My heart was full. So often I spend my time with my children trying to make a good moment that will become a precious memory. Today was for me. I will treasure the memory of how it felt, sitting there with them, shucking and visiting and smelling the smell of summer. A treasure.
After we finished with the corn, my Aunt and I headed out to pick beans. What a treat a pot of fresh beans and cornbread is for supper. Throw some onion and a few new potatoes in the pot and it’s a veritable summer FEAST. And now I have corn as a side dish. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
We picked a mess pretty quickly, sharing stories and visiting the whole while, which made it seem like it took no time at all. After that it was time to take off my garden boots and head off for the next adventure.
But first I wanted to say goodbye to this glorious place that turns water and light into food for the body and this land that was food for my soul. There’s something about being outside that does that for me. And being with family. I was hot and had sweat running down my face, but oh boy, were my spirits lifted.
Next I picked up our Princess from Leroy’s and took her to an art class at our favorite coffeehouse. It was a surprise for her. She was a bit nervous because the last time she did this over a year ago, she didn’t think her picture turned out so well. I hugged her and told her no matter how she thought it looked, I would love it. I left her to her class, had a quick impromptu visit with friends at the coffeehouse, and then headed next door to the GW Boutique for a quick once-over.
When I returned our Princess had finished her painting, and it was FABULOUS. She even used my favorite colors.
I loved that when we were helping clean up, she pointed out what was left where she’d been working her artistic magic.
It occurred to me that we should do that in whatever we do. Be so enthusiastic and thorough that we overflow–with light, with love, with compassion, with grace. We shouldn’t be so cautious in any of those things that there isn’t overflow. Makes me kind of wish I had kept that tablecloth. Maybe my word for next year will be “overflow.” It sure was my word for today–my heart overflowed. So much so that my friend saw the joy in my face.
And on the way home, after the littles had their summer gymnastics class this evening (yes it was a VERY full day), when my spirits were sinking over something that happened late in the day and my heart felt very fragile, my littles pointed this out to me.
My Mama showed me the rainbows in the midst of the storms of life. And tonight, when I felt like one was blowing in, this rainbow caught the eyes of my precious gifts who still get excited over rainbows and bugs and tadpoles and good stories. When I saw it, my heart knew and I felt some peace. I am pretty sure Mama was saying, “Don’t let anyone take the joy of this day from you.”
Tonight I am thankful for family who loves me despite all my craziness; for the generosity of my family with their time, their love, their listening, and their vegetables. I am thankful for friends who pay attention and who know me and are happy when they see me happy. And for the same friends who walk the path of brokenness and heartbreak with me. I am thankful for a little girl who loves bright colors and tells everyone, “Mama couldn’t quit smiling when she saw my picture.” I am thankful for loud cousins playing and growing up together and for their parents who make that possible. I am thankful for the bounty of the sun and rain this summer and for my Aunt and Uncle who share it. And I’m thankful for my Mama who hasn’t stopped talking to me just because we are separated by that thin veil. I needed that rainbow tonight, to remember the joy of today, and not let it slip away. Joy. Overflow. Yes.