Burning Leaves

I am finally getting a chance to rake the oak leaves in the front yard and burn them. I prefer burning pine straw. Oak leaves have to be stirred and coaxed and tended carefully if even slightly damp. I want things to be bright and easy and fun. I am not even planning to burn my pine straw. Rather, I am going to use it for mulch under the fig tree. Sacrifice immediate gratification for longer term satisfaction.

Am I talking about yard work? Sounds like life to me. Life needs stirring and coaxing and tending. Life is not often bright, easy and fun. And giving up something now can often mean something with a better return later. I would rather burn pine straw. But, we did work hard to clean out the fig tree. I don’t want to lose that progress. I have fought hard to get to a point in my life where I can write publicly.   Talking about life again, rather than yard work.

I have spent some moments recalling dark hours and years of despair. Despair driven by grief and self-condemnation. The one thing that has been most difficult to overcome is guilt. I have had to get over feeling guilty for being alive. My loved ones are gone. If they could tell me anything at all, I know it would be to live fully in their stead and be happy. To grab every opportunity to laugh and love and be joyous! Not trudging through life like burning oak leaves, but flaming brightly like burning pine straw. Bright and easy and fun at every opportunity. And get out and rake up the straw. Gather up the loved ones, make new friends, round up the old friends. Light the pile with laughter, food and drink, games, boat rides, buggy rides, skeet shooting, fishing, hunting, jumping into the river, snuggling newborns, romancing him.   Smell strongly of the smoke of memories made fresh and new, bright and easy and fun.

Sometime life will need for the oak leaves to be burned again. Meanwhile, burn the pine straw.

burning leaves

Smoldering, smoking.

Glowing, flickering.

Grieving, aching.

Loving, believing.


An Old Place

I like old places.  Old houses, old barns.  Places with memories.  I had occasion to spend time at an old place this weekend.  He and I made some new friends and had a grand time.

It spun me off into my own memories.  I had an old house one time.  Tall ceilings, tall windows, wood floors, separate rooms, each leading off to another and back around again.  I still wake up at night from dreams of that old house.  It still stands, but was relocated and is no longer mine except in my heart and memory and dreams.

My father’s parents had an old house, too.  I loved it very much.  So many places to hide and to sit and to day dream.  My mother’s mother had a garden.  Roses, cannas, bananas, elephant ears, and caladiums beside a houdash pond.  My mother sewed and quilted and cooked and baked and laughed and talked in this very house where we now live.

See how the memories tumble and spin.  One leads to another and I drift along.  I do not allow this type of drift very often.  The ache gets uncovered in my heart and my eyes sting and blur.  It is the very reason my photos sit in piles in boxes.  Every so often over the past fifteen years, I have tried to sort through them and get them all organized in albums or something.  But, the ache comes and my eyes sting and blur and I have to stop.

I still love old houses and flowers and houdash ponds and quilts and photos and memories.




Light and dark.

Sunlight and shadow.

Hope and memory.

Life and love.