I know that Fall isn’t official for another couple of weeks, but since it is after Labor Day it is close enough to begin the celebration. Here in northwest Ohio, we are still seeing days in the 70’s, but the nights have become cooler. There is the explosion of pumpkin spice in everything known to man, I actually wore a sweater a couple of mornings this week, and Friday night football is back in session. What is there not to love?
I am still reading Chasing Slow. The book isn’t a massive volume and I very much enjoy reading it, but finding the time to slow down, on most days, can be daunting. How apropos that I would need to slow down to read about slowing down. Go figure.
I, probably like most people, have lived a life that has taken many unexpected twists and turns. I often ponder the fact that when I was in high school I didn’t think I’d go to college five hundred miles away, in Tennessee. When I was was in college I never expected to stay in Tennessee after graduation, but to go back to my home state of Maryland to teach. The summer after I graduated from college, I never expected one of my professors to contact me about a special education job in a school in rural Tennessee. I didn’t expect to stay in Tennesse for the next twenty years. I didn’t know when I married at twenty-four that I’d be widowed and a single parent just a short eight years later. I didn’t know if I’d get remarried, especially to a man that lived in Texas. Yep. I married that guy. After a few years we decided to move to Ohio, and build our own house in the middle of what used to be a farm field. All these things, events, this life I call my own, none of this was part of my master plan. When I was a teenager I thought I’d live in a Cape Cod style house, in one of the New England states. I’d enjoy leaf peeping during the Autumn months, hikes through the mountains, and spend time reading books of poetry by Robert Frost. Alas, the Master Planner, had other plans for me. Better plans. Special plans. Surprising plans.
Those of you that know me, know I am not a laid back kind of person…and yes, the world needs people like me! I am the one with the to-do list and the daytimer planner. I like things organized, alphabetized, and accessorized. I love a good surprise if it is a fun birthday gift or a Christmas present, but not so much anything else. If I start something I want to finish it. I don’t like loose ends. Yet, here I am in rural Ohio, surrounded by corn fields, and occasionally the neighbor’s rogue llamas.
Life still isn’t slow….but, I am working on it.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Don’t we all need a good laugh sometimes? Going through my archives and thought I would share this little gem.
The flies are driving me nuts. That is one thing about summer time when one has animals…..flies in the chicken coop, flies
hanging around the horse. Ugh. I hate flies. What is their purpose anyway, except to harass?
Last summer I had some of the same issues……..
On this incredibly stinkin’ hot day in the rural Midwest, I thought we could all use a good dose of humor. I will allow you to laugh at my expense. Dawn vs. Nature. It is not a pretty sight.
I thought that we had moved to a picturesque setting in the rural farmland of Ohio. Actually, this turned out to be true, although I had no idea the other critters that had also chosen to live alongside us on our little slice of land. In the Spring we had a raccoon under the deck. This visitor caused our dogs to nearly go berserk. At 3 am in the morning. The dogs couldn’t get to the “scared out of his wits” raccoon, and the raccoon was NOT coming out with two “Cujos” on the loose. There was not much sleeping going on that night for anyone in a five-mile radius of our house.
We have a ground hog that has a vacation home down where our property meets the road. He is quiet and keeps to himself. Every time I see him, The Wind and The Willows comes to mind.
We have Bambi and family that trek across our side yard on a fairly regular basis. Fun to watch, unless one decides to jump out directly in front of the family van….then it is a little scary. The other night my husband laid some rubber on the road when he braked hard not to hit a deer that literally came out of nowhere, directly in front of us. My heart was hammering in my chest during that little moment, as I was nearly decapitated by the stupid shoulder strap safety belt. Are there any statistics on death by shoulder strap?
In August and September, we have the gnat plague. Where in the world do gnats come from? Honestly, there is no food sitting out, nothing like that….they just appear like clockwork. In August. They stay for two months and the family chases them around with the bug zapper before they disappear, or are inadvertently eaten, as they are always in my way while fixing dinner. Um…they look like pepper. Sorry. I looked gnats up on the internet. They are a nuisance, but harmless and will not kill anyone if eaten. I don’t know why they come here. It’s one of life’s mysteries.
In late Fall and early winter, the field mice decide that it is time for them to head toward their winter retreat. The retreat happens to be our garage, and if they are slick enough….the main living quarters. This does not sit well with me. At all. I hate mice with a white hot passion. They mock me, as they scratch around in the walls. I find myself yelling at them ….and I know I am not imagining that I hear the faint sound of laughter. Go ahead and laugh! It’s all fun and games until I start laying out glue traps. Stinkin’ little fur balls. Then who will be laughing? I digress…….mice put me in a precarious mental state.
We are currently battling a horse fly population that has reached biblical proportions. Now, before I moved to Ohio I thought I had seen horse flies. I was wrong….at least not like these. I didn’t realize the name horse fly accurately described the SIZE of the fly. These flies are huge. Their heads are the size of my thumb nail. I am not kidding. One has to make a run for it when leaving or entering the house. If one should linger too long on the deck, there is a great possibility that said person could possibly be carried off by the mutant horse fly gang. They dive bomb anyone on the deck, like miniature Kamikaze pilots.
I better go. I’m heading out to the deck.
I think I’ll take the electric bug zapper with me. It reminds me of a lightsaber.
Just call me Luke Skywalker.
Why is it when I long to slow down, the rest of the world seems to speed up? Do I really want to jump on this merry-go-round that spins me until I feel sick? Faster and faster until I have to get off….
As a young adult, I used to think I had to be where the action was. The real party didn’t even start until late….and I had to stay up to enjoy it. Life was meant to stay busy. Do things. Stay up. Stay out. Stay moving. Life, with all of its ups and downs, has certainly changed that perspective.
There is so much more to see and experience when I slow down to savor the moments. Slowing is not boring, nor is it always easy, but it sure does make life more enjoyable.
- Shadows of sunlight in the early evening
- Summer sunsets
- Chocolate ice cream
- Laughter with my husband
- Freshly wiped down counters
- The smell of lavender
- Cats purring
- Giving the dog belly rubs
- A new phone case
- Checking things off my to do list
- Sipping tea
- Emailing family
- Bare feet
- Purple nail polish
- Darkness at 9 pm (which means Fall is on the way!)
- Grown children that hug and say I love you
- Help with dinner
- Folded blankets
- The warm glow of salt lamps
- The smell of freshly cut grass
One of my passions in life is to listen to people’s stories. To know people through their stories. To see people through their experiences. To try and understand the meaning behind the expressions.
Everyone has a story inside them. With some, the story leaks out slowly, while with others, it pours out, causing a flood of emotions. Some stories bring sweet memories, and some bring bitter tears. Funny, sad, mesmerizing, sweet. Stories of what is right, as well as some difficult lessons from regrets. Anyone that has lived for any amount of time on this spinning orb, has that story. Their story. The story that only he/she can tell.
The stories become real and personal. The words wind their way through time and memory, etching meaning into the mundane as well as the miraculous.
This week I am going to begin to tell a story. My story.
I hope you will join me.
My family and I moved to Ohio seven and a half years ago. Even though I am originally from Maryland and my husband from upstate New York (so yes, we know cold and snow) with lengthy stops for each of us in Texas and Tennessee–there is something to be said for the cold AND wind here in rural Ohio. The wind makes things one hundred times worse!
Today our high is supposed to hover around 10, with (yes!) a windchill of -15. Even with insulated gloves on, my hands are cold by the time I get over to the barn to feed our horse, Jazz. I’m not complaining, because over all I enjoy winter. I just wish I could feel my fingers.
When Scott and I were building our farmhouse in the middle of what was once a cow field, I remember we were building (well, okay “we” in the sense of we were paying for it, not “we” as in actually building the house) and it was February and it was snowing and the wind was blowing. I was suited up like Nanook of the North. I should have known!
The colors of the late October leaves are muted against the smudged, gray sky. The air is moist, and the wind blows cold as I make my way across the front yard, on my way to the barn, where Jazz anxiously awaits her breakfast. I look up to see geese moving across the sky in formation, their honks reminding me of their arrival. I glance across the field to where our back fence posts share the property line with our neighbors. The fields are now brown, combine machines having worked diligently to harvest in the two weeks previous. The wind causes the stubble that remains, to rustle in the chilly air. This is Autumn in Ohio.