So, today, this happened.
Yep. Seven boxes of peaches.
Peaches to share and peaches to prepare.
Peaches, peaches everywhere.
It’s what my people do. Since I was little and we all sat around the table together with bowls and paring knives and more bowls, I have been a part of putting up peaches in the summer. Peaches played a huge part of my life. And what a gift to have a taste of summer in the middle of winter–so yes, over the next couple of days, I’ll be peeling, slicing, dicing, and putting them up. Tucking their secrets and sweetness away for another day–when it’s dark and cold and sunshine and memories of summer are needed.
It’s funny. After we got home, I sat down with my first peach of the summer (Daddy always said the ones before the 4th of July weren’t worth bothering with anyway). It was sweet and tangy and filled with the taste of sunshine. I ate in about five minutes (because I was stretching it out) what it took Farmer Brown a whole year of worrying over to bring to fruition–and that’s not counting the years before the trees were producing. He pruned his trees in the dead of winter, and when the blossoms started showing, he hoped for no more cold weather for that could damage the blooms and reduce the crop. After the little baby peaches came out, he and his crews thinned the trees, so that the peaches left would grow bigger and stronger. And when the time was just right, they picked them, placing them gently in boxes so they wouldn’t bruise.
How do they know? Which branches to cut? Which peaches to drop to the ground? What the right level of ripeness is?
I don’t know, but somehow it all comes together so I can savor the flavor of nature for five minutes.
Another thing is happening today. As I type. This is my 500th post. I wrote a few before I started back last year on April 7th and wrote each and every day. So…..500. Here we are.
When I hit the one year mark, I thought I might take a break from blogging. For just a little bit. But I wasn’t ready. My mind and heart were whirling with things I had to write and thoughts I wanted to share. As I’ve said before I write for me and for my children–so they will know their stories and who their people are, and so they will know who I am and what I believe and why.
And so many of you have joined us for the journey.
I am humbled.
So many kind words, so much encouragement. I am thankful for all of you who have taken time to read even one word. And for those of you who have shared your own stories and thoughts, I appreciate it. You matter to me, and the gift of your time taken to read and to say hello–that means a lot to me.
Because, you know what? Much like Farmer Brown, I put a lot of time into what comes into fruition. (Even those Haikus last month. I walked around the Mouse House during the day tapping out syllables on my chest as we were standing in line for a ride or the bathroom or whatever.) Some posts I think about for days or weeks before I write them, and others come together at the last, quickly and sometimes almost seamlessly. I worry over language, spelling, grammar, and offending folks. Because no matter how strongly I feel about something, I do not set out to create a me and you. I much prefer there to be an “us.”
So yes, not that what I write is always a “peach,” but for each thing you have read there is about two hours of keyboard time behind it. Writing, rewriting, editing for grammar/spelling, and then rereading. And making the decision to hit publish. Do you know what I have to say sometimes to be able to hit that button? Some nights, when I’m exhausted and my emotions are overwrought over what I’ve put down in words, I say to myself, “Ah, well, no one’s going to read it anyway, so okay…..” and I hit the button.
But rest assured, I know you have been reading. And I thank you for that. The gift of your time and allowing me to share my stories with you…..HUGE. THANK YOU.
And so now, at Post 500, I feel like my little guy Cooter. Earlier this week as he went through his checklist of what all he wants to be when he grows up, he looked over at me, wiping his hand over his brow, and said, “Whoo. I’m swamped.”
Oh me. I hear you, bud.
I have several boxes of peaches to put up. And peaches wait for no man or woman or blogpost. They go from zero to ripe pretty doggone fast. And I have littles to move on to China in our homeschool studies. AND we have big family fun happening this week–the week in which we celebrate with family who lives far away and finish going through the last of my folks’ things.
Whoo. I’m swamped, y’all. Good stuff. Hard stuff. Life.
At the one year mark, I was a little afraid that if I missed even one night I wouldn’t keep writing. And so there was the night I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. to finish writing after my brother visiting from out of town stayed up with me until 1, laughing and remembering and talking. There was the night in September when I witnessed the miracle of my niece’s birth and curled up in a corner of the room after to share about it. There’s been numerous nights when I sat down at 10 p.m. to think about my day and decide what was “worth writing home about.” It’s been a good ride.
And now I know the truth. I won’t stop writing. If it’s not for the blog, I will work on some other projects. Because after 500 posts, I think I can say this, if still a bit timidly–
I am a writer.
Because I write.
I’ve not published a book, and I may never do so.
I’ve not won an award for my writing since high school, and I’m okay with that too.
There’s a lot of “never haves” and “not dones,” but the truth is, those can’t happen if I don’t try. No one’s going to walk up, knock on my door, and say, “Hey we want to publish whatever you are writing right now, doesn’t matter what it is. Just hand it over. We already know it’s great.”
Nope. See, I knew that. And so I am going to take a break from blogging for a little while. Here’s the deal. I don’t know if it will be one night or ten. I may even think of something I have to share and be back tomorrow night. But I might not. I might still be peeling peaches and listening to a little read to me, while my oldest goes through the list of what all she needs to head back to college. Yes, we’ve got big beautiful normal things going on around here. And as much as I love writing, and as sure as I am that I will continue to write–what a relief it is to know that now–I also know I have a life to live. With my children, my people, the ones who make me laugh and whom I love. As my Mama used to say, “There’s a time for all things. Ecclesiastes 3.” Yes ma’am.
And there’s also this stack of books I’ve not made time to read yet…..some of my favorite author friends are often sharing about things they are reading. So I know that’s part of being a good writer too. Reading good writing.
Thanks if you’ve stuck with my ramblings so far. I am excited to explore writing on some projects I have in mind. (And I’m scared to death, is it okay to tell you that?) I love sharing my stories with groups, so maybe I will work to make that happen more as well. I don’t know, but I do know that I feel peace. I give thanks for all of the nights I’ve sat down and eventually hit publish, and then you all have read it and encouraged and agreed or disagreed respectfully. Thank you for that.
I’ll see you around here soon. In the meantime, y’all, I might just go take that nap.
Love to all. And many, many thanks.