Monday, May 31, 2004

Memorial Day

Welcome to Memorial Day in a small northern town....I walked down early this morning to join in the celebration (carrying my umbrella, of course). I had coffee at Rachael's on the square and watched as the crowds began to gather. Most folks had walked from town, but some had come in from the lakes or farm or the suburbs. The high school band assembled in front of the courthouse and the dignataries on the circle inself....there were boy scouts with flags, babies in prams, folks in wheel chairs...all for the same cause to honor those who have protected our freedom. It was the usual celebration, the speeches, the star spangled banner, the pledge of allegience, taps....except standing next to me was an elderly man. I don't know his name nor his story (at least the specifics) but he wept openly during the ceremony. I quietly removed my anti-war button off my tee-shirt and slipped it into my jeans isn't important that he know about me, it is enough that I know about him. I am humble, and I am grateful.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Rainy Sunday Afternoons...

Today is rained all day...pouring and drizzling, and an ebony afternoon with winking streetlights. Rainy Sundays are dreamy times, really. I thought lots today about growing up with a noisy house of six children, and original parents!! We knew we could always curl up with a good book in the quietness of our own rooms...after the Sunday dinner was over. We would come home from church, dad would put Never on Sunday on the stereo/phonograph, and we all had chores. Dinner was always a major production when I was growing up. We had flowers and candles and conversation...and we were never allowed to take a phone call during dinner. Dad would always play the devil's advocate (he still does) and we would be so mad at him!! After all the dishes were cleaned up, we would meander up to our rooms for naps or reading or those missed phone calls. I guess I'll just meander up to my own room here at White Picket Gardens and read a chapter or two before a Sunday nap...ahhh, but first, the chores.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Listening for fairies...

Today is a day of beauty in Northern Indiana. Fat, heavy raindrops splattered trees and earth earlier this morning, but the afternoon became heavy with sun. My garden has never been more beautiful...dripping blossooms of peonies, tall Irises, honeysuckle so heavy that one has to duck under the trellis. It is one of those days that I know the fairies will be waking up. When I was a little girl, my Dad bought me poetry book and inscibed it to me....always take time to listen to fairies, he said...This past month, slowly recovering from eye surgery, I have spent time waiting for the fairies to wake up and prepare for the solstice and midsummer's Eve. Here is a lovely chant to help bring the fairies into your own garden, should you chose.

Ring, ring in fairy ring,
Fairies dance and fairies sing,
Round, round on the soft green ground--
Never a sound--never a sound.
Sway, sway as the grasss sway
Down by the lough at the dawn of the day. (from Ireland)

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Meandering Roads..

They say the road to a friend's house is never long....Yesterday I spent the day with my college roommate, Sally...she made the trek appearing at my House at White Picket Gardens with stories and friendship and gifts...We had a candlelit luncheon with fresh strawberries from my garden and flowers in tiny vases. Our lives have taken such different directions..she has three daughters..I have three sons...she is still married to her high school sweetheart..I live alone....but kindred spirits we were meant to be. We told stories. We remembered. We looked at our photos..were we really 12 when we went to college???? (Well, we definitely looked it.)

It was a wonderful day. Before she left I opened up the festive bag of gifts...a bracelet of beads...fishnet kneesocks (I always wore kneesocks in college, much to her despair), a fairy handkerchief for treehouse parties, and a wooden sign: We dwell in possibilities by Emily Dickinson.....
An inscription on my guest wall, an endearing hug good bye....and a wave....ah, yes, possibilities.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Thoughts on gardening...

I have loved flowers since I was a little girl. I used to take my allowance to the farmer's market and buy bouquets of gladiolus with my money. Herbs and flowers all have a world of their own and each has a special meaning. In Victorian times, gentlemen would send their lady friends flowers according to their meaning. Here are a few examples:
feverfew, good health, warmth, you light up my life; heliotrope, devotion, faithfulness, I adore you; lavender, passion; lemon balm, healing lore; laurel, sucess, glory; marigold,health, joy, sunshine, thyme, bravery, courage, strength; yarrow, cure for heartache; bleeding heart, elegance, fidelity; daisy, innocence; cosmo, modesty; heather, admiration, wishes come true, lady's slipper, capricious beauty; nasturtium, patriotism; Queen Anne's Lace, I'll return; snapdragon, no, you are dazzling, but dangerous; sweet william, childhood, memories; verbena, faithfulness, and lastly zinnia, thoughts of absent friends! So, next time you send a bouquet....

Saturday, May 22, 2004

The Attic...

While cleaning out Annie's Attic this afternoon, I came across a stack of journals that were tucked away in a satchel. I thought all of my journals were on my library shelves, but here were new treasures...I blew off the dust, settled on the bench under the maple tree and read them for hours. Twenty years ago. I had a different life then, young children, a home and farm to care for. I found a page titled, What I need out of life. It was a list. Here it is in entirety: sunshine, fresh air, rain, snow, quietness, loving atmosphere, pond or stream or lake, warm shelter with windows, outhouse, vegetable garden, berries, small barn, orchard, firewood, chickens, knitting needles, cast iron pot, good books, good reading, comfortable bed, hand tools, warm quilt, and good sock and sweaters. If only life could be that simple. What is your list?

Thursday, May 20, 2004

United States Postal Service....

Quite frankly, I avoided email as long as possible, holding out as long as I could. I always send my thank you notes promptly through the mail..often with a sprig of rosemary (for remembrance) or lavender (for happiness and passions of the heart). The day finally came, I could hold out no longer and bought a lap top from the first salesman who needed the sale as his little girl was comparative price shopping for me. Oh, don't get me wrong, I am as addicted as the next person...checking often to see what urgent messages await me via the cosmos. I often think how different my business and personal life would be without this treasure (that, by the way, I am typing on this very moment.)

But, I am happy to say that snail mail exits and today I was patiently waiting as my carrier brought me treasure from a friend. Unwrapping a parcel and actually holding it in one's hands is something that email can't give let's pick the rosemary and the lavender and send a note through the United States Postal Service.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

West to Ohio....

When the family of ten reached the location on their map,they found no town, no churches, no schools, no cleared land....just a small post in the ground with a bit of cloth attached...and forests.

A storm was brewing, their bedding was wet and damp from the journey and their hopes dashed. Not knowing where to put the children, they found a huge hollowed out tree in which all of the children would fit. The husband and wife took turns guarding the children from bears and wolves and various other predators. On their first morning as the storm abated and the sun rose through raindrops, they were astounded at the beauty and named the town Aurora, which mean dawn. They built their homestead and it was years later before they even had a neighbor.

Indiana and Ohio are, of course, cleared of trees and neighbors abound in all direction. But out my bedroom window during a fierce thunderstorm, I can only see my neighbors pine trees and it is nice to know a little bit of wilderness still exists, if only in my imagination.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The Belly of the Earth

Last night deep, heavy rains plummeted into the belly of the earth. I awoke in the night to rumblings and flashings. I was glad to be tucked into the heart of my own house at White Picket Gardens, but thought of other stories, as one does in the middle of the night.

Scott Sanders, of Bloominton, has written several stories of his family moving from the East Coast west into Ohio, just a few miles from my northern Indiana location.

One of the stories goes like this: The husband persuaded his wife (and eight children!) to go West by telling her the new town would have a church and a school and neighbors and cleared land for gardening and farming.
She had no choice in the 1800's but to follow her husband to the ends of the earth, or simply Ohio.

Tomorrow I will share their journey!

Monday, May 17, 2004

Dandelion Wine

One of my favorite books is Dandelion Wine written by Ray Bradbury. It is different from his science fiction. The story is poignant and reminiscent of his growing up years. Here is one of the lines from the introduction by Bradbury, "So,I turned myself into a boy running to bring a dipper of clear rainwater out of that barrel by the side of the house. And, of couse, the more water you dip out the more flows in. The flow has never stopped. Once I learned to keep going back and back again to those times, I had plenty of memories and sense impressions to play with, no work with, no, play with. Dandelion Wine is nothing if it is not the boy-hid-in-the-man playing in the fields of the Lords on the green grss of other Augusts in the midst of starting to grow up, grow old, and sense darkness waiting under the trees to seed the blood."
My neighbor, Amy, was out picking dandelions for early soup and salad. They are pleniful here in Indiana and a salad of them is said to thin your blood after a long winter. It has definitely been a long winter raise the wine glass dandelions and to stories.....

Sunday, May 16, 2004

haiku for early Sunday morning in a small town

Sunday morning dawn
splotches of tranquility
dappling, dancing rays

silently she walks
the blind woman up the street
looking straight ahead

beckoning church bells
"onward Christian soldiers marching"
flip flops, heels, boots..trend

gasoline mowers
keeping up with the Joneses
too bad..I'm a Smith

Thursday, May 13, 2004


Small Indiana towns are charmed at twilight...there are still lazy bike riders meandering toward home...a few gardeners putting away their tools and gloves for the evening..and the cocaphony of the last of the bird songs. Venus is still bright in the night sky and shimmers over my neighbor's tall pine. As Robert Browning said, "All's right with the world." Pippa Passes

Welcome to Annie's Attic

Welcome to my world...a world of stories...and poems...and haiku...and travel...adventure..and gardening....or whatever else is going on in and around my world.

Today in northern Indiana the skies are heavy with rain with droppings off of fresh emerald branches. The irises are beginning to bloom as well as the old fashioned peony bush, which is the state flower of Indiana. Gardens are starting to sprout as well as new plantings
of thyme for the herb gardens. There is an old English song that goes like this:
"Oh, I was a damsel so fair,
But fairer I wished to appear.
So I washed me in milk, and
I dressed me in silk.
And put the sweet thyme in my hair."