Summer is kicking off wet, wild and dangerous in Texas this year. Weeks of heavy rain have saturated the ground and filled every low spot. Things are running over now. There are deaths being reported and dozens of raging water videos and photos circulating the web.
Regardless of the weather threat, we were blessed to have my niece and her lovely family with us for two nights. We enjoy their visits for many reasons. He gets to visit with our dynamic and comical nephew-in-law. I get to visit with my “first child”. I was sixteen and still at home when my brother had his daughter. I spent many days tending her the first few years of her life.
Her four year old is a charming pistol. She is so smart! She tries to work every situation to her advantage. Often with success. She and I are always measuring each other up for the next challenge. I love her and see in her so much potential to contribute to the world at large with her sharp wit and bright mind.
Baby sister is a lovely doll! She displays a stubborn temper occasionally. But, that does not detract from the spell she has bound over him. He melts when she is with him. The two of them seem to have that special chemistry with each other. Even though he only sees her every few months, she takes to him each time.
We ate and visited and ate and visited. We napped some, too. After they left, I wanted to cry over this empty house.
This morning, he and I had a leisurely start. Finally, he mentioned something about a fishing trip before the rain returns. I loaded up as fast as I could.
We had a great adventure! We saw several alligators, including a small one that chased his top water lure over and over. He was careful to not let it latch hold. I got one good strike. We didn’t land anything. We also saw several extra-large turtles and one extra tiny one.
Oddly, no one was at the sand bar. There were very few boaters out at all. I guess the flood reports and rain threats kept everyone home. We road down to where the forks of the rivers meet. The Angelina runs into the Neches. The boiling Neches did make me a bit nervous. He asked if I was afraid. I nodded yes. He laughed reminding me we were in a boat! We only barely passed over into the current before turning back to the less turbulent Angelina.
There is a slough that runs into the Angelina from the area between the two rivers. The Neches is overflowing into the slough and running flood water into the Angelina above the forks. We road into the slough just to see it.
Thing is, the water is supposed to be still rising. The floods north of here will run through in the coming days. Already there are trees toppled into the river and debris piled up in new places. When the water returns to normal levels, things will be different. One positive of the high water is evidence of sand bars developing. They have been non-existent for a while. The Angelina will form long vanilla cream bars of semi-course sand. Luxurious to lie on and watch the boats go by or the children splash about the shallow edges.
Half my life ago memories were made I still take out and admire from time to time. Memories of young men and young women and young children playing, laughing, loving life. We were young and strong and fearless.
Things did not go as I imagined them to go. Things changed for our family and our friends.
One thing I have come to understand. Those golden times of our lives are transient. I look back and see periods of time when everything is remembered as wonderful, though we certainly had problems just as today.
My best example is of my mother. I imagine she had about 10 years of her 59 short ones where life was as is should be. She had married my father and he had not yet succumbed to his illness. But, just like my husband, you would not know the hidden parts of her struggle.
She continued to live, live, live! She did not let illness, hers or his, get in the way of what she wanted her life to be like. She was never bitter or ill humored. Yes. Privately I held her when she broke down. One time it was too much for me. I didn’t know what to do. It was a time when she really faced that she was close to leaving us. That is all she cared about. She hated to leave us alone without her. She knew the pain and struggle we would have to face without her support and courage. She knew the joys and triumphs we would achieve without her participation and celebration.
Several times this weekend, I could feel her here with me. How she would love her now grown grandchildren bringing their loves to see her! But, I cooked a pot of pinto beans and they were pleased. As I sit here this evening, I know she is pleased as well.
Summer has again returned. I have closed the windows on the porch to allow the air conditioning to flow in and cool things. I do sometimes wish he would let me feed coons again. Over the fence, away from the dog.
But, he is stronger than even she was and I will not change his mind about that issue. I do not even try. He takes me to see the alligators and the flooding water and does not let me allow fear to best me.
Confidence. They both push me to be confident. It was one trait my mother insisted I develop and he picked up beside her and continues to this day. Pushing me to be confident. My daughter has taken up the task to assist him in her stead.
Golden times are often transient. But, if I will allow it, the golden times will continue to transition. One era fades and the next emerges. I must not wallow in pity or stagnate in the past. Embrace today. Embrace the flood of orchids pouring into my life. Let them surround me with lovely fragrance and move on into the realm of memory. The next lovely flow of petals will arrive soon enough. Take in the loveliness of the present bouquets and on brief occasion ponder the past bouquets with gratitude. Be ever ready to receive the gift of raining orchids.
Sometimes orchids have bumpy hides and live in murky waters. A wondrous creature to behold……this one is kind of cute, too.