Sunday, April 18, 2010

Appreciation And Celebration Of Life

Fred flaps his wings. I know what he’s going to do next. His wing-flapping is always followed by a musical Bantam rooster-crow. Our neighbor’s rooster pipes in with his rooster-tune and they banter back and forth trying to outdo each other.

I’m not sure why roosters crow. But I enjoy listening to them and I’m glad they do. Birdsong of a myriad sort, and the sweet fragrance of our lemon tree blooming, punctuates the cool stillness. Laughing gulls, high overhead, contribute to the morning lauds.

An early Sunday morning stroll about our small Homestead Hermitage estate. The little three-quarter acre homestead has come a long way in the five and a half years that we’ve given to it. The more we give to it, the more it gives back. It’s an atmospheric relationship that lends itself to an appreciation and celebration of life.

Mornings are still quite cool for this late in the month. I don’t mind putting on an extra shirt first thing in the morning. It will be deep-south blistering hot soon enough and it will stay with us a long time. Garden planting was late but things are coming along nicely. The first buds have opened on the yellow climbing rose and the wild red rose in our memorial bed is showing some color.

A lot of things were late this spring. The frequent late winter heavy rains and bouts of cold blasts from the north kept the earth in its winter sleep longer than usual for this sub-tropical climate zone. In another week or so the beautiful colors of the wisteria, dogwood, and azaleas will be gone for another year. Ah. But other summer-blooming things will step up to fill in for them.

It’s gotten dry, bone dry since we started our spring garden planting. The gardens would look pitiful was it not for the irrigation they receive to slake their thirst. Our already knee-high corn patch is getting a good dowsing this morning, as will the fenced main garden, before the warming atmosphere begins creating the coastal breezes that make it difficult to efficiently lay down water where you want it to land. It’s not an expensive and elaborate irrigation system but it works well enough. I don’t mind dragging hoses.

We struggle against the elements and tend these gardens partly for the fun and emotional health of it. We also do it as a hold out against pesticide laden and G.M.O. food crops that we personally believe are not fit for human consumption. It requires some work done in a timely fashion and there are some financial expenses. The return, weighed in hundreds of pounds of food each year, greatly outweigh the monetary costs. It’s time to start putting in summer peas and okra.

I know he’s gone to a better place; a reality of being that makes me glad he’s no longer languishing and wasting away. Had my dad made it a few more months, he would have celebrated his ninety-first birthday today. In honor of the occasion we’re having a noon meal family get-together at the home place.

It’s one of those happy-sad occasions. I miss my dad. He did have a contrary stubbornness about him, a little character trait that I see a bit of in myself. The best we can do with it is to simply keep moving on, pledging to live our lives as fully and faithfully as we can. I think that’s what he would recommend.