Life has been speeding by so fast these last two weeks I feel like I'm only capturing the tip of the iceberg here. Summer is often like that with the gardens coming in, company coming in, and us going out a lot for storytelling and other events. We scramble to get everything done and after a while I feel like we're swatting at flies, hit-and-miss (that's how it is when I'm the swatter, anyway). Cleaning gets a lick and a promise (which is a little better that hit-and-miss) as we zoom through the days.
This week things at home slowed down a little. I cleaned because company was coming (doesn't everyone?) and Larry really caught up on the mowing and weedeating so the place would look nice for the 4th. You know how that is--we work ourselves into the ground, but when it's done, aren't we pleased at how lovely it looks, and that we did it? The pressure is off! For the past few days Larry has been concentrating on watering gardens, getting the turkeys' pen completed, harvesting what is ready in the gardens and work inside the house in the heat of the day.
It feels good that he's getting to the smaller tasks like pressure-washing and painting the porch floor, pressure-washing the deck and walks, cleaning the old car, and fixing little things that have been put off until we had more time. I've still be on the treadmill at work because it is time for my huge annual report for a settlement agreement the library was involved in. I finished it late last night and came home to celebrate with wine and gelatto on the porch. Odd combination, but quite celebratory, I assure you!
We watched the new kitten attack the dogs who take him so goodnaturedly, attack Charley who is not so receptive but is learning to like him--she cleans him now and they play chase all day. I am so relieved. New kitten (Clyde) found a large rhinoceros beetle and had high times with it until it bit him on the nose and held on as he raced around crying. Poor little guy. He will learn all lessons the hard way. We were surprised to see another cat at the food bowl in a dark corner of the deck. A flashlight showed us it was one of the big wild tomcats we've seen around here. He left the porch and the vicinity with Otis the black lab on his tail.
I have mixed feelings about that cat. On the one hand, he's beautiful and apparently at home around here. On the other, I worry that he will attack our little Clyde when Clyde gets older, and that might not be pretty. Do any of you have any advice about this? I don't want anything to happen to Clyde; this wild cat has been here since mid-winter when Charley tried to invite him inside with her.
Today is my niece Leah's wedding so after we mail this huge report we'll celebrate with breakfast at the Downtowner, a treat we've missed for at least a month because life's been busy. Youngest son Tommy will be in for the weekend so I'll see him briefly before leaving for Charleston and the wedding. I remember Leah as a little girl; to see her now as a young woman is surprising, actually, a reminder of how life passes so quickly. Then it will be home to relax a bit and visit with Tommy, and make sauerkraut tomorrow--and put up more corn. Larry says the second planting is ready.
There has been some sadness this past week. A co-worker's son died unexpectedly in his sleep, a very young man of only 23 years. It's so difficult to understand something like that. I went to the wake because I have learned some things about grief and support. I know to be there, and to be there later when the going is difficult. I have learned hard lessons, and some of my learning can help others. Some of it helps me to be a better person too, because I learned what was helpful and what was hurtful during my own terrible sadness. I realize that I was fortunate that my son's life was full and rich (and I hope Karen will find the same solace in the future as she remembers her son). I could dwell instead on the loss of the future years we might have had, but I prefer to be grateful for having had him as long as we did.
So if you have some extra prayers to offer, please think of my friend Karen and her son and send a few thoughts her way. She begins the difficult journey and I am sure your prayers will be welcome.
One of the lessons that all of us who have experienced the loss of some we love have learned is that it is all part of the circle--the good things like gardens and fresh corn on the cob, playful kittens, the hard things like difficult tasks at work, sadness and loss and deep grief, and yet the sun comes up again and the good things are still here for us to enjoy in the days allotted to us. It takes strength, sometimes more than we think we have, to go on and to once again find pleasure in life's little offerings, but the alternative is stay in darkness and hurt those we could be helping instead. For most of us, that's not an option so we straighten our backs, hold up our heads and even though we carry the hurt in us always, we can allow our hearts to feel the goodness once again.
Have a good weekend, my friends. Enjoy the gift of this day and the pleasure of the company of those you love. What more can we ask than that?