Wind and Rain

ireland-1273293_1920You know how in stories they always say the wind “howled” or “wailed” or “moaned”? For a long time, I considered that a literary device; a way of staging the scene. Then I moved into the house I live in now.

It has been several years but I still haven’t gotten used to the way the wind cries as it whips past my house. I don’t know what causes it. It could be the shape of the house or the configuration of trees in the yard. It could be some hollowed out limb capturing the air as it passes over the branches. I do know that I am secretly thrilled every time I hear it.

Surely it is supposed to be a frightening sound, especially at night to hear the wind wail and moan as it shakes the wind chimes on the porch. You can almost track the sound as if some escaped spector is gliding over the porch and around the corner of the house.thatched-roof-981891_1920 It makes me think of Irish cottages made of stone and thatch. It makes me think of fireplaces, warm drinks, and stories told in warning or to keep the dark at bay.

This is all pure imagination of course. I have never even stepped foot into a stone house but I’ve read about them. I’ve read the fairy stories and I’ve watched movies. There is no Baen Side (banshee) calling outside my window, or at least not that I’ve noticed. (If there was she would be extremely frustrated by now, as I have lived here for at least seven years and I’ve listened to the wail off and on that entire time. Or maybe she is happy someone appreciates her singing. Who knows?)

rain-2362871_1920It is supposed to rain today. And tomorrow. And the rest of the week. There will be flooding. The sky is overcast gray and the wind is shaking the still bare branches of the trees as well as dancing among my wind chimes. I expected the rain to be pouring down by now from the way the weather forecasters spoke. The ground is damp so some moisture has been squeezed from the clouds, just none that I’ve noticed.

The animals have been on edge since last night. Today they are restless, last night they were on self-imposed guard duty.  They paced the hall and watched from the window. Panda, my cat, finally settled enough to sleep but only because she curled up on my pillow and snuggled into my hair.

Last night the air was still and black. No stars shone and the porch light didn’t seem to reach as far as usual. The silence was eerie. To me, that becalmed, breathless, starless darkness was way more unsettling than the howling wind today.background-3394066_1920

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A Mountain Trip, Or How I Crashed a Funeral

We have been enjoying a couple of nice sunny days recently. Yesterday, I took advantage of that to pry the kids away from their electronics and take a trip into nature. We headed north toward the Great Smoky Mountains and Cades Cove. moutian

Cades Cove was settled by Europeans in the 1800’s but had long been roamed by Native Americans before then. Now it is a national park with a scenic drive, white tail deer, and restored rural dwellings and churches. The views are breathtaking and inspirational. Walking the trails, it is easy to see why settlers came to the area and decided to go no further.

deerMy kids complained a little about the lack of their usual entertainments, but my son soon forgot about mine craft when he handled actual quartz found in a cold mountain stream. We marveled at the height of the trees and stood just a few feet away from deer grazing in a field. Then we found a little twisting dirt road with a sign that announced a rural Baptist Church so we decided to follow it.

The road was a narrow bumpy ride through the trees and ended in a gravel parking lot with a little white wooden box of a church. My son remarked that: “It looks just like that Church in that show Nanny always watches.” (That show is The Waltons, and Nanny being what he calls my mom.) I agreed the two did look similar.

The gravel lot was crowded with cars. Other visitors were snapping pictures of the church set among the trees and some wandered the old fenced-in graveyard. I thought the graveyard would be a good way to encourage my daughter out of her no wifi/phone signal funk. (She is a teenager.) She likes slightly creepy things.

That was when I noticed several people exiting the church dressed in black. I was a little confused at first because, while it was Sunday, it was a bit late in the day for a church service. We were near to the little gate that lead to the graveyard when I heard one of the women who had come down the steps say, “I wish they would stay away at least until we close the casket…” It all suddenly clicked into place. The freshly dug grave and the huge pile of dirt next to it helped to tip me off.

There was something the little white hand-painted sign hadn’t told us. Not only was the Baptist Church still in current use but the graveyard behind it was as well. Realizing that we were trespassers at an emotional time, I quickly herded the kids back to the car. The other tourists snapping pictures; were still oblivious to the intrusion we all represented.

As we made our retreat as discreetly as possible, I heard the lady address two teenagers also dressed in black. She asked them if they were visitors to which they replied yes with wide-eyed confusion. I don’t know if they were visitors to the park, or for the deceased. I left before finding out.

We passed two more churches on our scenic drive. They didn’t appear to be in session. The parking lots held only a few cars and there were no fresh graves that I could see, but we didn’t take any chances. stream

Sailor’s warning

“Red in the morning, Sailor’s warning,sunrise-66954_640 Red at night, Sailor’s delight.”

This rhyme is something I heard often growing up.  I can remember laying in the floor at my grandmother’s house, gazing out of the window at the darkening evening sky painted scarlet, and hearing my grandmother quote this old saying.   Variations of this saying are over 2000 years old.

This morning I stepped out onto my front porch and stopped to stare.  The trees in the distance were painted bright red by the birth of the sun. It hadn’t even crested the horizon yet, but the trees were bathed in it’s fire. This old rhyme came immediately to mind even though it wasn’t the sky that was coated in crimson.

black cat silLooking back, if I gave into superstition, I could call this an omen.  While we did not have storms of water and wind, I have had a tempest of bad luck all day.  It was a Murphy’s law type of day.  Everything from failed scheduling to financial hiccups afflicted me all day.

For example, some how my house payment for last month was lost in the mail and never reached its intended destination.  I some how failed to notice.  Usually once it has reached the post office I put it out of my mind and don’t think about it again until the next payment is due.  So it was an unpleasant shock to see that my February house payment was over due.   Things like that happened all day.  Stuff that I sheepthought was all taken care of, cropped up with sudden problems that kept me running all day and the things I had planned to take care of today had road blocks jump up to impede my progress.

I didn’t manage to get any writing done on my work in progress though I had high hopes for making head way on it today.  Maybe black-41201_640after the children go to bed I will get another chance.  If not, well then tomorrow is another day…it is also my birthday.  I had hoped to have the day completely off but I won’t complain at this point if I can just get a couple of uninterrupted, worry free writing hours in.

 

Cereal after midnight

It is almost two in the morning and I am awake and sitting at my computer with a large bowl of fruit loops.  (Yes sometimes I wonder if there is a connection between my mental state and my food of choice.)   I don’t want to be awake and I am rather grumpy about the fact that I am.

The problem is I am not feeling well.  I took a walk in the woods today after I ran a bunch of errands. The trees were beautiful and I enjoyed the quiet time. I even wrote a new short poem.  However I am now paying the price for my stroll through nature.

My head hurts, my face it puffy, and my sinuses hate me.  What I don’t understand is why.  Yeah, I know, pollen and everything right?  But when I was a kid I never had problems like this.  We lived in the middle of nowhere with nothing but trees on two sides, a creek on one, and a field on the other.  I practically lived in the woods as a kid.  When my mom wanted to call me in for dinner she stepped outside and looked up, because more often than not I would be sitting in one of the trees in the front yard.

I know things change as you get older. I realize this even applies to immune systems. But I don’t have to be happy about it.