First Day of Fall

The first day of Fall and it seems like just yesterday I was tearing off my pantyhose in the bathroom at my office and kicking out of my work wardrobe. I’d have  slid myself  into a well worn pair of cutoffs with a soft cotton t shirt and headed out of the city.  The traffic would be terrible as usual, bumper to bumper, as I was rolled down that road to freedom with my a/c blasting on high. I’d recall watching the computer screen fade to black as I switched it off with a “Thank you Lord, this week is done”.

It takes me a good hour to come clear of the city and hit the wide open country side; another just to arrive in the low country. But even if it’s hotter that Hades on the worst day, I’d always pop open the sunroof and roll down the windows just to bathe in that pungent low country air. Yeah, I know its 2017 and I’m a woman now in her mid fifties. I should be getting my nails manicured and awaiting details of grandchildren near and afar. But old dogs don’t like new tricks and I’m pretty much an old dog at this stage, plus I never slowed my roll enough to pop out the first kid, so if a grandchild showed up it would be hell holy miracle. As for the nails, my destination held no future or purpose for a fancy shaping and a fresh coat of polish. I was doing as I’ve always done and heading to the horses . Those gentle beings of peace and power I’d enjoyed in solidarity with many like minded women across the nation, oh give me a break, around the world for as long as my memory serves.  13690803_1037510816324545_5437322099073137052_n

Now I know many of my business compatriots tend to think a lady of my advanced age and obvious sophistication would be delicately sipping chardonnay and discussing the latest fashions on a patio overlooking a vibrant cityscape on a Friday night. Wrong. A lady of my advanced age and sophistication is whipping her car in to a country convenience store to pick up a twelve pack of beer and two of those she will not delicately sip, but she will slam back as she walks barefoot through the pasture to catch her fat horse.  Once beer two has been chugged the lady of advanced age and now possibly dubious sophistication will feel pretty darn confident that she can just climb on her horse bareback and ride it back to the barn to be saddled. The story might sound a bit better if she rode the fields in a daring manner and  bareback. But a lady of advanced age needs the saddle bags for the rest of the twelve pack.

Now all that being said, there’s possibly nothing better on this earth as I see it than being out under the sky with a summer slick horse between my legs, the sounds of the cicadas singing in the treetops and a cold beer in my hand. Out on this rich black earth I’ve watched the corn go from tender sprouts to giant stalks waving high above my head. I’ve seen a million fireflies dance in the forest that lines the riverbanks and the thick Junes bugs dance in the grasslands . I’ve raced many a storm home across the pastures with lightning cracking across the skies and thunder roaring in the distance. Though I consider this land blessed it often  seems like a million degrees with a hundred percent humidity out in these rich Carolina fields. Even with the cooling of the evening hours sweat still rolls down your chest and drips from your legs. My sassy steed always has a slick sheen of perspiration across her glossy  coat after a day in the sun. The slightest breeze is the most sacred of gifts and from that one is instantly reminded the smallest of things truly count. By this time  I’ve watched the lily pads in the ponds go from vibrant circles of green cast upon the blue black canvas of the water, to green circles with brilliant blooms of pink and white. Crops have sprung to life, kissed the skies for a brief time and fallen to the harvest as rode the edges of their domain  on many a sultry Friday night.  But just like the days in that shimmering summer sun have etched a few more lines upon my face and freckles upon my skin. The memories of those dusky rides have will forever remain the core of my being and that which carries me when the nights become long and the days become short.

 

So on this first day of Fall as the seasons meld into one another and Summer recedes into the past, this lady of advanced age who gives not a whit about sophistication is still going to shed her panty hose at five o’clock, pick up a twelve pack and head for the horses. Yes, she’ll slam two down on the way to catch her fat horse , she’ll look at the leaves just starting to turn with the first blush of Fall and she’ll decide not to ride in bareback this time , but to enjoy the stroll.12295308_903397193069242_7256518864315359349_n

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Voices

I watched the cream melt away into the darkness of my coffee cup. The thick light swirl took the darkness of the potent brew away and turned it into a lighter shade, a sort of dawn. I drank it down, hot and rich, with any bite that was the darkness now assailed by the light that was the thick rich cream. Just another Monday when we rolled into another week, another month and another year. A cavalcade of many which all seemed to move by so rapidly they were akin to the blurred advertisements on the side of a passing city train. In any case I was thankful for the sheer joy of  just being outside, the air didn’t hurt my skin like it seemed to in the  ever so efficient climate controlled offices  where I often spent my Mondays. There was no honking of horns here in the country, no mad rush up to the lunch hour. It was simply sweet bird song and the rustle of a morning breeze in the Magnolias near the tables by which we were seated. My dreams of mental escape seemed instantly destroyed when my compatriots all picked up their cell phones with which  to begin their exchanges, receiving the guidance and data that would begin our day. I just stared at my coffee. No manila envelopes full of papers handed out this time round, no making of notes or in my case, no sheets of white paper upon which to doodle Lilly pads, frogs and shooting stars. Yet the loss of the simple folders was barely noted by the rest . There would be nothing to hold, no paper to rustle as decisions were made and ideas collaborated upon.  I found this sacrilege distasteful at best. The cicadas started their song to herald in the heat of the day as I  simply excused myself from the table, took a last gulp of coffee, and dropped my phone in my purse as I rose to depart. Oh yes, I could sense the amazement felt by some at the sheer fact that I had done such a thing. Surely if I was going to the ladies room I could continue from there via text, never missing a beat in what they all felt was to be an exciting interaction, me not so much.

I wandered away from the place that had once been a peaceful veranda, where farmers and traders had ensconced themselves over an early morning repast, speaking of weather and tides, fast horses and strong mules. Today it was a world I cared not to recognize, inhabited by those who would never notice or even acknowledge the pair of Towhees busily foraging beneath the fragrant gardenias next to the rail. Yet they were very comfortable texting with the girl on the other end of the phone complaining about the trials of   her commute into LA. I think I was at that point done. I wondered  away down the hall of the historic old Inn where they’d housed us, the worn boards of the  floor visible, yet the with the voices of  old  sealed forever in  a heavy gloss of plastic and wax, not creak nor a breath, just frozen in time. By the time I made the back door and headed down the path away from them all the vibration of the phone in my purse was simply as much of an after thought as the deerfly buzzing around my head. A blood sucking thing, which needed to be swatted and banished into the eons of eternity.

The black and grey low country dirt beneath my feet looked cool and inviting. I made a brief stop to dislodge my tennis shoes allowing myself to feel it’s cool reassurance under my bare feet and between my toes. Rich dark soil from the inlands and sandy patches from the coast, soft yet gritty. I became a little more alive at this point. My path was a sweet one with giant ancient oaks on either side whose branches reached upwards towards the glorious life giving sun, each out reaching limb adorned with heavy swaths of Spanish moss. These magnificent ancient sentinels gave my escape route a cheering audience of birds and tossing leaves encouraging me on as I ambled. In the distance I heard the leader of our little pack on the verandah utter a few choice swear words and then I was too far gone to hear nor care.  Cropland in full summer growth spread out around me on past the oaks who had become my guardians as I continued my flight. I came upon a moss laden water trough, one of the old stone and cement kind, full of crisp clear water with the mud at its base churned up by many years of stock coming for refreshment from an oppressive summer’s heat. You could see the hoof prints from the most recent visitors and if you were one who knew this place, had it beaten into your soul with everyday living, you would know who had come by the simple shape of the print.  The base of the stones was surrounded by thick fragrant mint which melded with the scent of the sea in the heavy coastal air and the odors of verdant growing crops giving each breath I took a cleansing effect. I felt my senses become sharper and the long lost electronics drowned reality of simply being, living in the moment, actually feeling part and parcel of what counted becoming stronger and more clear.

As this occurred I stared into the waters of history there at the trough, that watering hole of old, no creatures  around to take on replenishment at this moment, they were all back off across the  pasture in the woods where they would sleep out the mornings heat in hopes of a cooling early noon thunder shower . I knew this to be fact and I knew it more than I knew the lady who had slipped off her shoes to go through check in for her flight to this place the night before. The lady who moved through a life dictated by clocks and commerce, a life that was a vague reality to her core, yet did so because it was what was to be done.  But the ghosts of history often screamed at her in the darkness of night, in those hours when one’s sleep is the deepest and the mind is allowed to drift  down the immortal path ways that  our world has so often forgotten. A dragon fly circled the waters finally landing on one of the delicate branches of mint, its iridescent green the most vibrant of colors, shiny and slick. The voices were strong here on the edge of the meadow. “The muscadine wine is next to the sweet butter in the spring house, but watch out for the bees in arbor as you go ”. Yet the spring house had long fallen to rubble , this was a mere whisper from the past echoing through the voices of history. Then the one thing I knew, more than the fact that my steadily buzzing phone needed me to state my stance on this or that, was that these voices needed to heard, that they counted and their songs were true and their history was a sweet prism of million different lights.

Off towards the coast storm clouds were building and lightning cracked across the sky. Yes the storm was coming, but not until this singer sang her song. I reached my hand into the soft leather of my rather expensive purse. The type with someone’s initials on it, someone I had never met but felt it of grave importance to have their initials upon my purse . I caressed the cool slick case of my cell phone, it enticed my fingers to slide across the glass and check the world inside it. Yet the caw of a large black crow out across the corn field announcing the arrival of a hunting hawk warned me off. I simply grasped it, pulled it from its resting place and dropped it gently into the waters of the trough. Let the nymphs and sprites have at it, possibly the iridescent dragon fly could deal with the frustrated lady in LA. I watched the bubbles as it sank, the brilliant colors of screen become confused and that strange electronic world fade into black.