Wednesday, October 26, 2011


A few days ago a friend posted pictures on facebook of Walden Pond.  My immediate response was N-V.  I just wanted to run to Walden Pond, which of course is along ways from Kansas, sit, relax, be calm and pretend that the world was safe and beautiful for everyone.  Shortly after I had made that comment online, I took a deep breath and another and another, until my head cleared and my heart slowed down.  Ironically, it's the rush I've created myself that so frustrates me.

Then I stepped outback with Lucy and opened my eyes to the beauty and the colors of my own world.  I spent several days unwinding and practicing prayer while in touch with nature.  One day I awoke early to workout and with a plan to take pictures of the colorful contrast to be found in fall.  We headed out to Prairie Dunes before the course became flooded with people.  Lucy zoomed around a few hills while I practiced my saunter and turtle crawl.  Everywhere around me I found serenity, color, peace, beauty, and all thanks to God in Nature's hand.

If it hadn't been for the early morning sunshine and reflections on the water I might have missed Walden's Pond.  Sadly, we call it the pond on number eleven, not too creative but functional.  I think there is already a Walden II Pond so I'll have to come up with something new.  There I stood, I had come to the pond and found the moment of serenity.  My breath was calm, my heart pounded with excitement like I'd discovered a new land a new place, a new peace.  So I sat.  I sat on the dew touched grasses; I watched a few ripples as turtles crawled into the water; I watched the birds overhead zoom, flitter, and float like the leaves in the air.  I listened to the stillness and heard the grasses rustle, the black bird caw, a woodpecker knocking, the UBB's (unidentified brown birds) chirping at one another, a lone meadowlark in the field behind me singing.  No longer will envy fill my heart when I see what others have, I just need to reflect, to see, to gather from my surroundings, to know I have all I need right here in the middle of Kansas.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Henry and Alba

Today the weather the acts like it wants to rain, we need it to rain, but I suspect it won't rain here.  Once again I hook up Henry and Alba each at the end of a very long garden hose.  This year since April they have been criss-crossing our huge yard doing their dead level best to sprinkle our dry Kansas soil.  Normally, I suppose, people don't name their sprinklers, but I come from a family who nicknamed most every critter, car, or device imaginable.  Consequently, a few years ago I observed the one yellow cast iron steel tractor follow the hose until it decided to skip away and take it's own path.  How nervy I thought of a plain yellow garden tractor just to go where it wanted.

It just so happened that we bought a second yellow tractor for the front yard and it, too, has a mind of it's own.  It was  during that summer three years ago I read with great fascination a book called The Time Traveler's Wife.  Oh wow, what a great imagination the author displayed in her writing.  I was completely taken by her idea of time travel.  Even the movie was well constructed, but of course, didn't compare to the depth of the characters in the story.  In no time at all I had named our water tractors Henry and Alba for the two time travelers in the book.

I've never put an H or an A on either one, but each year when they come out of storage it only takes a few days for my husband and I to know which one is Henry and which one is Alba.  Alba, like her namesake in the story rarely leaves the track.  I can nearly trust her to follow the green hose to the end time after time.  Henry, however, always begins with good intentions and then somehow just takes a turn.  Even the neighbors can tell us which one is Henry.  One day he went so far off track that his front end hit the fence and the spokes that turn and send out the rain were jammed.  But Henry continued to churn his wheels digging a sizable hole where the two back spiked wheels dug in.  He had mud splashed everywhere, "Henry, I declare.  If you followed the green hose you wouldn't find yourself in so much mud and muck!"  He didn't listen.

Now the season is ending but once again Henry and Alba are fast at work, doing their best to keep our fescue grass green and fall flowers blooming.    

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Things I Wanted to Say

After my daughter drove away my mind and heart were filled with things I wanted to say, to do, to show, to share.  So many miles and years between us.  So many little things about her life, about my life, gifts and memories.  So many little things that add up faster than the yeas go by.  "Here, Sweetie, these are the opal earrings and necklace that your dad gave me the year before you were born.  And this, the fragile 1960's daisy earring tree,  I bought  in Killeen, Texas the first year your dad and I were married."  
China hands made in Japan before WWII.

"I wish you could have met my grandmother and Aunt Della.  They collected the China hands that now fill the antique case.  Grandma always kept her hands busy with crafts, sewing, and quilting.  Della was an artist down in her soul, but poor health and hard work took her life too soon.   Photography was her love, she'd even met Margaret Burke White in Taos.  (But would I want to tell her that heavy social drinking stopped so much creativity in her?)  The black and white lithograph in the dining room was purchased decades ago from Birger Sandzin a well-known artist in Kansas and acquaintance of Della's.  Her artist community spread from Wichita, to Denver and Santa Fe.  She made several trips to Taos and Santa Fe with her striking red-headed friend, Murphy Doodle (the only name I recall she had).  I've often wondered if Della knew Georgia O'Keefe since that is where she met so many artists.  I have a copper necklace that came from New Mexico.  It hung on Della's frail chest and looked so elegant.  I wear it from time to time and it always makes me feel special.  The ring with tiny diamonds and blue sapphires was designed by Della.  I wore that, too, attached to a wedding band, but now it hangs on a sliver of a silver necklace."
Hand pieced quilt by Grandma (Stapp)  Oursler.

Divorce leaves empty gaps and all these many years later I still try to fill that void.  But on Katy's "40th" birthday we merely went on doing all I know to do, creating more happy memories for the both of us, and for the men we share our love with from day to day and throughout the years to come.  Sadly, we forgot to take those photos of our time together.  Della would have made it a special event.  Hopefully, we will both remember the walks with the dogs, a round of golf on a nearly perfect Kansas day, a very special meal served with rich cheeses, shrimp, potatoes, and asparagus called "Raclette" complimented with delicious wines, and topped off with Dark Chocolate Fondant.  We all laughed when the candles tipped sideways on the soft liquid chocolate center of the fondant, so 10 candles represented the 40 years of love, happiness, adventures, and memories.

Ironically, I've been waking Katy (in person or by phone call) on every birthday at 7:11 in the morning since that is when she came into this world.  On a morning when she was in our home, I hesitated and left her sleeping, or should I say I left the dogs sleeping.  
Two-Bit the ferocious dog.
Three possessive dogs under one roof made a lasting impression of hilarity on our minds, and that day I decided to let sleeping dogs lie.  Happy Day, every day Katy.