HOT SUMMER NIGHTS

clouds at sunset (2)

Summers on the Prairies are as hot as the winters are cold.  But our extreme climate changes, keep us from becoming ‘bored’ for lack of a better word.  The skies are always an amazing surprise especially through the summer.

splendor sky

I remember my summer vacations growing up in a remote prairie town in Canada.  I was having the best years of  a life that  I wish was still around for me today.  I just didn’t know it back then.

Except for those ‘what I called horrid’ times of berry picking when I had to wear all of the ‘cover up clothing while Mom banged a stick to scare away whatever,   and hanging out Monday’s wash,  with Mom,  I pretty much got to do whatever I wanted in a day.  I played outdoors without a complaint in the sweltering heat from morning until after campfire and then was sent to bed.  Notice I wrote: ‘bed’ … not ‘sleep’.  I went upstairs to my ‘bed’,  where I wrote about my day in my journal, as I chose to title it….(it was a plain scribbler).  Even if it was a boring one.  Somehow writing about it gave it value for the future.  Besides, Dad told me  that about everything I wrote.  He said: “South Paw, things don’t often happen twice.  At least not exactly the same,  so you had better write down the way it was today.  You never know it might be important somewhere down the road.”

Of course I am thinking famous published author for National Geographic or something like that.  Well he was right in a different way because I am grateful I wrote as much as I did.  And I am thankful my Mother saved them where she knew I would find them.  That ‘important someday’ is here and they are invaluable to me and other members of the family.  OUR PIECE OF PRAIRIE SKY will be published when the time is right and I know without a doubt that my sisters, my children, my parents and grandparents would be the happiest that I carried it through.

Suppers were very late during harvest because everyone did their share in working until dark.  I still waited with Shep at the edge of the field every evening, just to get my chance at driving the tractor to the yard.  It was way more exciting driving with headlights on.

Soljah in the silhouette (2013_10_24 22_16_48 UTC)

After our meal, Dad had his tea with Mom outside.  I took a cool bath and we had a short campfire while Dad told me about the family of deer that he saw grazing early in the morning.

As soon as I was off to bed, I began to complain about the heat.  My room was hot and stuffy.  There wasn’t a cool spot ANYWHERE!

The night seemed endless and I couldn’t sleep a wink.  As a last resort, I usually threw my blanket on the floor.  Even the linoleum stuck to my cheek after a minute or two.

The old Whipporwill in the nearby tree called out relentlessly.  As I listened to him over and over, my mind seemed to form what he is saying about the hot summer night.

Somehow, daybreak has arrived although I’m positive I never slept at all.  I awaken to a miraculous sound…The summer wind coming through my window is fresh and cool…That sound & fragrance is: RAIN.

That changed everything as I pulled my blanket onto my bed and drifted into a deep sleep so thankful that winter is a long way off.  It doesn’t matter that today will be another hot summer day under our prairie sky and tonight will no doubt bring another:

HOT SUMMER NIGHT

Looking out my window on a clear summer night…

Stars in a endless sky…Twinkle bright.

My window is open…As wide as can be…

Hoping for Summer Wind…To comfort me.

Everything’s still…Except Whipporwill

Telling  our house…”It’s  a Hot Summer Night!

It’s a Hot Summer Night!”

 

 

total peace

How I wish I was out in a tent…open wide.

I’d let the Lightening bugs come inside.

nite lite

I’ve got a story … But it’s ‘way too hot…

So I turn off my flashlight and say:  “Maybe not.”

Staring at the sky… How far does it go?

That is God’s mystery…I wish I could know.

It’s much too hot up here in my room!

I keep praying and wishing for morning soon.

I throw off my blanket, stretch it out on the floor…

While I listen to Whipporwill…Complain EVEN MORE!

“Hot Summer Night! Hot Summer Night!”

I climb back in bed, toss and turn trying to sleep.

But even my pillow  is too hot ‘gainst my cheek.

I try to think and make myself  sleepy…

But Owl is hooting and makes me feel creepy.

Wish now that Whipporwill…Would just take a hike!

But he keeps on and on:  “It’s a Hot Summer Night!”

When daylight arrives,  I’ll run out exploring

Escape from my house… Don’t care if it’s pouring!

We haven’t had rain, in long over a week…

Barest of water is left in the creek.

Tree Down (2013_10_24 22_16_48 UTC)

Dad prayed at breakfast:  “Lord, send water soon.

Our veggies are wilting by mid afternoon.”

“Tomorrow as soon as morning will come…

I’ll pack up a lunch to the creek I will run”.

Dad says: “Fish are hiding.  No use trying your luck.

All they will do… Is get stuck in the muck!”

 

On my log I will sit,  get my feet wet…

Catch floating bugs… With my old fishing net.

tree trunk formation (2013_11_02 15_10_11 UTC)

 

When I’m feeling too scorched…I’ll jump right in!

Splash cool murky water on my suntanned skin.

As the prairie sun moves direct over me…

I will hide in the shade of my climbing tree.

 

carcas of something

It’s now close to morning and what sound do I hear?

Was it me praying…Or dreaming?

NO!  It’s suddenly clear!

“IT’S RAINING!  The air’s cool and fresh!”

I pull back the curtain… “God must have said: YES!”

nice sky colors with tent

We’ve all been set free,  from the hot summer night.

The sky’s changing color…It’s almost full light.

I fluff up my pillow,  breathe in the clean rain…

My blanket is cool on my bed … Again.

Even Whipporwill’s quiet…  Settled into his place.

I turn to the window,  Summer Wind touches my face.

“Thank You, God,  for an answer to prayer.

You watered the garden.  You cooled the night air.”

Dad will nod saying:  “It turned out alright.

Now go catch some fish, for our dinner tonight.”

I listen to sounds as the last drops have fallen…

That cooled the house and thirsty  garden.

Now I close my eyes, with this thought in  my head…

How happy I am… That it isn’t…

 

pink and white

 

Wintertime, instead!

***

Thank you for Reading.  I love you all and this might be posted again….Say about January when we need a reminder of warmer weather.

me in yellow

Memory Lanes Site @ www.pagesofmymindblog.com

Some photos by Pandanus Tree

 

SOMETIMES I JUST NEED: ‘A BIRD’S EYE VIEW’

I have had moments where I really wondered if my life is for the birds.  That is such a common slang.  However, if I consider what I’ve just asked myself, the reality, in the bigger picture, some of their logic makes sense.

Last year a family of robins took up residence in my back yard.  I watched them from early spring when they arrived.  Most of my other birds had already filled several of my rental units in the mature trees around the yard.  But this mother to be,  had made her own decision to build.  I didn’t think she’d made a sound choice.  Too risky.  There wasn’t much room…and what if the foundation wasn’t solid enough for the nest?

A good choice… (I thought)… would have been:

The High Rise…

bird house one

But where she decided to build would have stressed me to the nines!  I’m sure Mr. Robin would have been okay to settle into a pre- built,  but he obviously went along with whatever she wanted.  Smart male.

I would have chosen the main floor of: ‘The Two Story Whitehouse:

whitehouse

 

Or:  The Country Cottage Bungalow… (however, it probably needed too much inside work and doesn’t have a deck).

cottage bungalow

The economy condo just needed some paint….

FullSizeRender

But she wanted none of those.  She wanted her home custom built and with a spectacular view.  I have to admit,  that part,  I understood.

Well they worked and they worked.  I did my best to help with the decorating supplies.  I used the tree branches to hang out strips of colored tissue paper,  ribbons, colorful yarn, shreds of wool, even cotton balls.  The location she had chosen was in the farthest corner of my eaves where the roof overhangs generously allowing them a cathedral ceiling.  They were closed in by my large apple tree, hidden from view.  A very safe, private spot overlooking the entire yard, open concept…

Hey!  She held out for what SHE wanted.  How does that saying go ?  “Happy wife…Happy life.  He’s got it figured out.

It was made known to me from an early age that if it was in the Bible,  don’t argue or question it.  Mom and Dad had raised me believing that the Lord loves every living creature.  The birds instinctively know this and the Bible tells us to watch the birds of the air and how they do not worry about anything.  It’s true.  If it rains, they become quiet because they are bunked into some cozy place and they are enjoying a restful time.

Lesson at least # 51…. for me…

Take a rest from worrying about things I cannot change or have any influence over.  Most things we worry about (myself anyways) haven’t even happened yet and we don’t know if it will…Or  it has happened and there is no way of changing it either way.

I never once saw that female robin flapping her wings nearly having a nervous breakdown because tomorrow is the family reunion and the weather forecast is calling for thunder showers all day!

They never worry about where their food is coming from or where they will live.  So why should I stress if the electrician couldn’t make it over to install my new plugs and lighting…It’s summer.  I should be painting outside anyways.

And what a big deal! The flooring guy never showed up and is 2 weeks late.  REALLY?  It’s a non life threatening issue.  Perhaps he’s going through some serious family or even health issues that he has to deal with.  Mrs. Robin wouldn’t hold that against someone.  She would simply stretch out the cotton balls across the bottom of her home and…WAH – LAH!  New area rugs!

I continued to watch my robins daily and they were amazing.  They worked,  they gave themselves time out together & played in the birdbath.  They were getting ready for parenthood and never went far from their new home.  There was one mishap…

DSC05075

But she focused forward.  The rest of her family needed her to continue and she couldn’t do anything about what happened.

Life begins, life ends, life begins again.  That’s what it says in the Bible…And Mom and Dad would have told me the same thing.

Mrs. Robin had settled in for the final ‘nesting’ stage and rarely left…Soon there was tiny chirping sounds from the nest.  I kept the birdbath filled with fresh water, warmed daily by the sun and she really enjoyed her free moments while Dad watched the nest from my apple tree.

I made sure I watered the gardens frequently so yummy earth worms were easily available for quick take outs.  She waited for me to do that and hopped ahead of me listening to my voice.

It was pretty awesome when I got my first sighting of the babies early one morning.  After that I waited close by, camera and coffee close at hand hoping for the first photos but by the time I could get anything they had some feathers.  These photos were taken after they’d grown enough to be seen.

Mama Robin & 3 Babies

Mom was out getting groceries while I ‘birdsat’  the brood of three from my lawn chair.  Nothing better go wrong on my watch.  At first I could only see the tips of little scruffy heads.  They never made a peep or moved the entire time she was away.  It fascinated me that they had the instinct to know they must be perfectly quiet for their safety.  As soon as they realized their mom was near once again out came tiny stretched skinny heads, mouths open to whatever she offered and they had excellent sets of lungs!  After that it was nap time for all.  Dad went out and did the shopping for the next meal and got to spend some time doing whatever ‘guy robins’ do when away from the nest.  What amazing devoted parents they were.

Towards the end of summer, the babies were growing and finally venturing from the nest.

baby alone

 

baby robin

I worried about them as if they were pets but as much as I wanted to tame them,  I made sure they remained wild.  I only got these close up photos with my zoom.

That mother trained up her children with the lessons they needed to know for survival and then she let them go.

It’s easy to say:  “Oh, they’re just birds.”  But can anyone say for sure that she never felt twinges as a mother as they left her?  They have incredible instincts and memories, so how can we predict what they feel in those little beating hearts of theirs?

I won’t touch that one.  I know that all through last summer while watching them,  I saw a loving little family who had given me hours of simple happiness and gratitude.  They gave me the opportunity of  observing them close up and personal as I followed their growth.

the talk

Two of the young had already left and one was hanging around getting too comfortable around me.  Mother stayed for a few days coaxing, calling and then finally  she swooped down and actually pushed  the young one off my bench and then it realized it could fly.

there they go

This is the last photo I took of them.  They were around mixing with other birds and then eventually, I couldn’t recognize one robin from another.  This year robins did not nest in my yard.  They visited the feeder and the birdbath but never nested.  I was a little disappointed.  I thought the second generation would have come back for sure.  But they were only here for a season.  That is what we are given so I am thankful I enjoyed them, took photos & wrote about them in my journal.  And now my blog.

You may think its your very own yard but it isn’t.  And you can’t always pick who wants to be your neighbors.  I have had a pair of new ones camping in my Maple Tree and although loud mouths,  they have been quite entertaining….completely  different and I am not sure if I want to renew their lease.  Two crows,  whom I have named Cheech & Chong.  They are very amusing because they argue all the time.  I think that’s why my smaller birds aren’t around.  It’s like “Five o’clock Somewhere”, all day, every day, in my back yard.

Lesson # ???  You can’t always choose whom you ONLY want in your life.  Some may not be as sweet and pleasant to be around but they are necessary tools for God to use in building character within us.  Mom told me this all the time, when she listened to my woes about those mean neighbor boys and although that was long ago,  things haven’t really changed over the years.  Mean is always around to test us on our reactions.

These crows,  Cheech & Chong,  are clever characters!  They know me and they’ll stop arguing while I talk to them and then faithfully answer me back in a pleasant, soft tone.  I am serious!  They follow me from tree to tree, as I work around the front yard to the back.  I’m sure they fly along sometimes when I go for my walks.  They sit on the lower power lines that connect the house and garage and will not make a sound while I’m playing music on the deck  (Raggae of course).  I’ve discovered that Cheech & Chong  are quite liberal in their taste of music because they also like my:  Good Ole’ Time Rock & Roll!

I warned Cheech & Chong if they want to stay for the rest of the season, they better not leave any trademarks on the top of my car or windshield.  They’ve been 100%  polite about that….and they never party late at night…

But oh….

THE LANGUAGE!

Thanks for reading this crazy mixed message blog…I’ll be back soon.

P.S.  That weather prediction for the family reunion was wrong.  It was a perfect, sunshiny day.

me again

Memory Lane @ www.pagesofmymindblog.com

FAMILY TIES THAT BIND by SUMMER WIND

Land of beautiful Sky (2013_10_24 22_16_48 UTC)

Photo by Pandanus Tree

This story was originally written during the summer I had turned 12 years old and could run like the wind…A Summer Wind.  Since then it has been revised  several times and the Aboriginal version was published last year as a children’s story & hopefully will be published in the near future as a chapter/picture book.  It is a simple story based on a typical long, hot summer day in the life of two carefree girls.  My life long friend, whose name also happens to be Iris, and Summer Wind, my nickname that year.  We are the main characters…and characters…we were.  I am related to two Irises.  Imagine that!  One is my niece, to whom I am sister close: (the Falcon Lake story that I shared), and the other was my neighbor/school pal whom I grew up with and knew all my nick names: (my 1st blog).  Her and I had become ‘blood’ sisters and done the whole ‘Ya! Ya! Sisterhood’, ceremonial thing,  (‘way, ‘way, before the movie) at one of our campouts when we were about 10!

If my trip down memory lane is as accurate as I think,  then the first draft of this story was written late one night while my family were sitting outside talking until the wee hours.  That would have been why I was able to sneak Shep,  sticky with marshmallow goo, upstairs with me for company.  With so many people around, Mom wouldn’t notice he was missing.  Shep knew that about our family visits, too.

As for me, you would have found me sitting cross legged, in the middle of my bed, with the blanket over my head…YES! Even in the heat of a long summer night…my trusty flashlight propped on my pillow, while I wrote down my day’s adventures.  I’m sure I helped keep the battery manufacturers in business because my sisters were constantly bringing me a fresh supply of batteries.

This is how a day for Summer Wind started.

“LILLY!  It’s going to be a ‘scorcher’ today,” says Dad, wiping his forehead.  “Your Mama will be able to fry an egg on the front steps!”

“WHAT?”

He winks at me.

“AWE, DAD!  You always say stuff like that!”  In my head I can now see Mama cooking sizzling eggs on the entrance to our porch!

As I pick up the watering can and run to the garden to do my morning chores, Bright Sunlight is already very hot.  Tilting my head ‘way back to gaze at the blue sky,  I see the trail of an airplane so far up that I can’t even hear it.  I love the prairie sky above our land.  It is as high as forever to me.  I know it will always stay the same.  I want to stand there and just look at it but right now I have to help Mama water thirsty vegetables in our garden.

“Thank you, Summer Wind.”  It is blowing cool air on my neck as it runs past me.  “Wish I could see you, but you are invisible.  That’s okay. I know you are here and there.”

Bright Sunlight and Summer Wind make good partners for helping our garden  grow.  I am in a hurry this morning so I try to water my rows quickly.

“Slow down, Lilly,” lectures Mama.  “You’ve missed some of the carrots.”  She filled up my can again.  I start over.

After breakfast, I feed my border collie, Shep.  Now he will find a nice place in Cool Shade and sleep all day.  Summer Wind will blow over his bed while I am gone.  He will still hear my bike when I am coming back home and will be waiting for me at the very end of our driveway.  He knows he isn’t allowed to be on the road.  If it’s been a quiet day, he will walk beside me but if something new is happening, he’ll dash ahead and race me to the house.

Mama packed a huge lunch for me to share with my best friend, Iris.  I am ready to ride my bike to her house.

“Bye, Mama.”  I wave as I push through the gate.  “Thanks for our lunch.”  Before I left, I noticed that Mama had all of her baking stuff out.  We must be having company.  There aren’t many times when we don’t around here.

“Lilly, wait a minute.  You forgot your jacket.”

“Mama!  It’s so hot,”  I tell her.  “Dad says you could fry eggs out here!”  She shakes her head and points towards the clouds gathering in the sky.  I toss my jacket into my carrier and peddle out of our driveway towards Iris’s farm.

Suddenly, everything is still and quiet on our country road.  I can’t hear any birds singing.  I look above me at the prairie sky.  Those clouds weren’t there right after breakfast.  They are travelling at top speed now!  I start peddling harder.  “Summer Wind, push me!”  Mr. Stefan’s truck is coming towards me.  I move over to the side while he slows down so that Little Dust Shadow won’t get into my eyes.  “Hi, Mr. Stefan!  I’m just on my way to your house.”

His dog, Big Boots barks ‘hello’ at me.  Mr. Stefan pokes his head out of his truck and glances up at the sky.

“Better ride quick, then,”  he tells me with a wave.  “Gotta go and pick up the mail before it starts to rain on Big Boots.”

Big Boots loves riding in the back of the truck.  Summer Wind blows his fur in all directions.  I watch Little Dust Shadow follow them over the hill then remember to look both ways before getting back on my bike.  Mama says it’s a good habit, even on our quiet road.

“WOW!”  I look up again.  “Mama and Mr. Stefan are right!  Dark Cloud is almost right here!  It’s going to drop Fresh Shower right on my head ‘way before I can ride to Iris’s house!” I grab the jacket Mama made me bring along.

“How  does she know these things?”  I stand and peddle.  Good thing our lunch is in my backpack and will stay dry.

“I wonder if Loud Thunder and Speeding Light will come next?”  While I’m peddling as fast as I can, I’m only using one hand because I have to pull the hood of my jacket over my head.  That made my bike wobble all across the road!  Summer Wind has gotten stronger at my back.  “Good job, Summer Wind.  Keep pushing!”  I shout.  “Faster!  Faster, please!”  Now I can’t peddle faster than Fresh Shower is dropping raindrops.

Dark Cloud has pushed in front of Bright Sunlight.  Our Creator heard Mama when she prayed for Fresh Shower to come and give our garden more water today.  I have to keep blinking the raindrops out of my eyes.

“GOOD!”  I shout some more.  Loud Thunder, you did not come!”

My friend, Iris will be happy about that for this time.  She usually loves Loud Thunder and Sky Storm, but today we have made plans.

“Hurry back, Bright Sunlight.  You have to dry my clothes for me.”  Shiny puddles are everywhere on the road.  My tires make squishy sounds as I crunch up my legs and ride through them.  Summer Wind has slowed down.  I am very close to Iris’s house now.  The birds are beginning to chirp again because Fresh Shower has almost finished dropping drops.

Slower…Slower…Slower.

Plop!

Plop…Plop…

Plop…and…Stop.

Just one more small hill and I am there.  Dark Cloud has moved to our other neighbor’s farm.  I hope those 3 mean brothers all get soaked!

Bright Sunlight is returning and making the Raindrops sparkle wherever they landed.

Spider Web’s lace is spread over Wild Flower’s petals.  I think of Kokum’s fancy tablecloth.  Summer Wind makes Fresh Shower’s perfume drift all around me.  It smells nice.  That reminds me of Kokum too.  She smells like wild flowers.  Our Grandmother lives with us but she is visiting in the city right now and I miss her.

Iris is waving at me.  She has been waiting.  Her mom hands her a bag of fresh doughnuts to take along.

“Thanks, Mrs. Stefan.”  I think her doughnuts are the best I’ve ever tasted but I would NEVER tell Mama or Kokum that.

“You’re welcome.  Have fun girls,” she tells us.  Naturally, we can’t wait until lunchtime. We both eat one as we ride all over the road.

“Look Lilly! No hands!”

I can’t do that!  But with the doughnut stuffed in my mouth,  I can stretch my arms around my legs &  put my feet up on the handlebars!  Ha! Ha!  Iris can’t do THAT!

“YIPPEE!”

“WOO HOO!”

Summer Wind chases us as we speed through the puddles.  They won’t be there long now that Bright Sunlight is back.  We turn off the road to a bumpy trail and come to our tree house.  First we fly our kites in the open field.  Summer Wind twirls them for us and pulls them higher and higher.

“WHOA!”  Mine drops to the ground and Iris’s kite gets tangled in the trees close by.

“Hold my legs while I get it down,”  I holler, reaching for a strong branch.  “I think I have to cut the string!”

Iris nods.  “Do it.”

I unfold my pocket knife and cut it.  The kite hits the ground.  “Is it wrecked?”  I ask as I climb down.

“No, it’ll be okay.  Thanks Lilly.”  Iris doesn’t like climbing at all.

We pick raspberries in the bush behind the old barn and talk about some of the stories we have heard sitting around the campfire with our families and neighbors.  Today, we are pretending these are the old days and we are out hunting for game on our own.  Together we set up camp beside our tree house.  Last summer,  Iris’s Dad gave us boards and nails to fix the tree house.  My Dad came over to help us put in a good floor.  He also gave us old shingles and helped us make the roof rainproof.  We even have a real window and a screen door.  Now we can leave our stuff inside and it doesn’t get wrecked.  The best part is that no one can see it from the main road.  It’s our secret place.  We put up a colorful banner that Iris & her Mom sewed.

Now we decide to build an Inukshuk.  We learned about them in school.  Iris and I carry all the flat rocks from the pile beside the field.  I found a round one for the head.  Some of those rocks were heavy.  It took both of us to lift them but it’s finally finished so we sit and admire it for a few minutes, then decide to name it: ‘Doodlik’.

Iris found a set of antlers in the old barn and put them on Doodlik’s arm.  Antlers or a piece of animal hide means ‘good hunting here’.

“Every time we come here from now on, Doodlik will welcome us.”  Inukshuks are  friendship figures.  A messenger that welcomes visitors, hunters & guides them with signs.  The pile of sticks we placed in front of Doodlik will tell visitors it is a good place to camp.

“I like that idea,” Iris says.

Now because we worked so hard, we are hungry and thirsty.  Bright Sunlight is right on top of us.  That means it’s lunchtime.  Out tree house is still in Cool Shade so we climb in.  It isn’t high up. Only two steps.  I wished it were higher but Iris wouldn’t like it  so it’s okay where it is…

It is nice to rest inside the tree house.  Iris has brought some new fashion magazines that we look through while sharing our lunch.

Iris and I are best friends.  After lunch, we stretch out on a blanket in the field and watch the clouds form into animal shapes.  Some of them looked like ugly faces so I named them after the mean boys and we roll over laughing.  That felt good as we finished the last doughnuts.  For awhile we just talk…about anything…our favorite movies,  songs,  best scary books,  good baseball games.  I am really good at baseball and I can outrun the boys.  Iris tells me I should just ‘whack’ them with my bat but she is tougher than I am.  Mama says it’s probably enough that I carry it around with me.  Like she carries a big scary stick when we go picking berries….”just in case…?”

Iris and I have so many ideas of what we’d like to be when we grow up.  She wants to be an artist.  I might be one too.  I like to write stories and so does she.  Maybe we’ll do both.  I talk to her about things that scare me.  She thinks it’s because I’m alone most of the time.  Sometimes I cry when we have these talks.  She never makes fun of me.  The mean kids call me  ‘Skinny Bones,  Bean Pole  & WORSE!  I wish I had an older brother sometimes,  but Iris sticks up for me when she hears them  &  they never fight her back!

Sometimes we share our family’s problems that no one even knows we know about.  We even ask each other stuff about the Creator that we don’t want to share.  If I don’t know the answer,  I can ask Kokum,  then tell Iris.  Kokum knows many things about the Creator’s ways.

We take turns reading a favorite book out loud to each other.  Iris doesn’t like standing at the front to read at school.  I don’t know why.  I tell her she reads really good.

Once Bright Sunlight has moved across the sky,  we know we have to go home.  We pack away our stuff & ride in opposite directions.  Summer Wind helps me climb the hill and pushes me down.  I laugh out loud,  stretch my legs and enjoy the free ride!  The cows in Mr. Smith’s meadow look all blurry black & white as I race past.

“HELLO COWS!”  They watch me but keep munching grass and switching their tails.

Home at last.

“HURRAY!”  I shout.  “I know that car & truck!  Mama never told me anyone was coming TODAY!”  I speed through the gate as Shep barks and barks while racing me to the house!  “I’m going as fast as I can!”

Two of my older sisters and their husbands are here from the city.  They’re waving at me but I just smile because I need both hands to steer.  Kokum is with them and comes to hug me.  I have missed her so much.  She says it’s only been a week?

Secretly,  she tells me she is glad to be back where you can feel the rain and listen to what the sky has to say at night.

Tonight there will be a family gathering.  I love it when everyone comes over.  I want my house to be just like this one day.  I run up the steps dying to see what my sisters brought me.  But first, I have to wash up and set the table.   Dad will make it bigger so we can all fit around it.

Supper is over and the kitchen is cleaned up.  I put the clean dishes back into the cupboard.

“Thanks Lilly,” my sister Evie says then hands me a paper bag.

“You got me new jeans & a matching jacket!  And more batteries for my flashlight!  I am the luckiest kid!”

I give Lorna a hug, too.  “New comics!  All my favorites! How did you remember?Oh!  More writing books & colored pencils!”  I run upstairs to put my new things away just in case our sister Allie comes with their 5 kids!

The chores are done for the evening.  Uncle Harry,  Uncle John & Auntie Rosie are on their way with my cousins.  Auntie Rosie is bringing her delicious homemade strawberry ice cream.  We will enjoy dessert outside.

Dad starts the campfire as soon as they arrive and we gather around it.  Uncle John & my Dad tune up their violins.  My sisters sing along.  My Dad always plays my Mama’s favorite waltz and she smiles and wipes a happy tear away.  She told me one day while we were berry picking that song was their first dance together. I like that my Dad remembers things like that.

Uncle Harry gets into trouble with Mama for telling us jokes and scary stories.  We laugh because it happens all the time.

Summer Wind is at our campfire, cooling our faces when we lean too close to the flames.  Sometimes, the wood crackles and makes us jump as sparks sizzle straight up into the night sky!  Dad points to them.

“LOOK LILLY! Those sparks are going all the way up and will be the newest, brightest stars in the sky tonight!”

“Really?”

Then he laughs at me. It’s dark but I know he winked.

“AWE DAD!”

We make a mess toasting gooey, sticky, drippy ‘marshies with crackers and chocolate sauce.  Mama laughs and lets us have all we want but then hollers:  “Don’t you dare go into my clean house like that!”  She brings out towels and a bucket of warm soapy water for us.

Now it is late.  My cousins have gone home.  Kokum has hugged me after my prayers.  It was such a fun day,  I don’t want it to end so I will write it down and then read it whenever I get lonely for my sisters.  My bed is so comfy.  I look out at the stars .

“There REALLY are some that seem extra bright,” I whisper.  Then I remember Dad’s wink.

“Dad.”

My family are sitting out on the porch, talking and laughing.  They will stay there for quite awhile.  I love falling asleep to the sounds of their voices and the night birds.  Shep is in my room tonight and is sound asleep beside my bed.  I reach over & pat him.

“YUCK! Sticky dog!”  Somehow, he got marshmallow goo on his fur.  His tail thumps on the floor.  Mama won’t notice he’s here until morning.

Summer Wind is blowing into my room.  If Fresh Shower comes back,  Summer Wind will blow the curtains across my face until I lower the window.  Sometimes if i’m alone & Loud Thunder comes, it gets scary for me.  Kokum will come and help me pray or think of things that take my mind away from the noises.  I am happy that her room is across the hall from mine.  Mama wants to fix her a room downstairs but Kokum likes it up here.  She says she feels closer to the Creator, the stars & to me.  Often at night we whisper together while the rest of the house sleeps.  She says she has many more stories to tell me while she can still hear them speaking in her own head.

I am trying to write them down so I will remember them too.  I listen even while she is silent.  I can picture a tiny radio in her head telling her what to say.  Kokum laughs because she knows exactly what I am thinking.

“AWE KOKUM!”  She is just like my Dad.

Tonight as I fall asleep,  Moon Beam and a zillion Star Lights twinkle softly.  I have already planned more adventures for Iris and I for tomorrow after my family leaves to go back to the city.  Mama told me not to be sad when they leave because my oldest sister Allie  &  the 5 kids are coming and staying for a week! Yikes!  I have no time to be sad!  I have to hide my best stuff in the secret attic behind my bed!  But I am still happy they are coming!

I will take them to the tree house if it’s okay with Iris.  It’s her tree house too.  But she has 2 sisters & is really good at sharing.  They will love it.  We can have a picnic there and fly our kites.  My room will be safe.  Dad will help by letting them build things in his woodshop.  We will have a campfire every night.

Tomorrow morning we will have a huge breakfast.  Everyone will be talking at once!

“How do they do that?” I always wonder.

There will be bacon, fluffy eggs, fried potatoes and pancakes.  Kokum will bake fresh biscuits and we’ll pile on homemade plum jelly.  Mama lets me have weak coffee once in awhile with lots of milk & sugar…Maybe tomorrow.  Then after a late lunch, they will leave for the city.  I will take my new comics over to Iris’s & we will read them.

Right now, Summer Wind hums a night song.  Although invisible, I know it is right here. It is always where I am.

I whisper: “Thank you, Summer Wind.  Good night.”

I hear Sheps’s tail ‘thump’.

“Good night, Sticky Dog.”  ***

A forever friend is: Someone you may not have seen for years & years, but when you do…you pick up right where you left off.

To Iris  &  our forever sisterhood.  You inspired me all through this story then and the re-write now.  Thank you for all the adventures we shared and the memories we created through our school years.  This one’s for you.  ‘Lainie’

 

 

 

 

 

 

A SUNDAY KIND OF DAY

What a beautiful soothing day.  I woke up to the sound of softly falling rain.  Made gallons of coffee and went walking.  I usually walk in the rain hoping to meet people but today I went where I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have to exchange pleasantries…just for a short period of time.  I rested my mind in a tranquil place.

shore in shadows

 

Don’t get me wrong,  I love where I live because of people who cross my path every time I go out.  However today,  I was in a Sunday kind of mood.  None of my three sisters have ever really liked Sundays since our families have all grown up.  My sister Eve claimed Sundays were the longest days sometimes,  especially if the family were away and no one was having a ‘family thing’.  We are quite the bunch when we get together and really enjoy our own company so to speak.  We are never bored listening to the same stories we tell over and over and always have lots to laugh and share.  We all talk at once???  So it wasn’t that often, that someone wasn’t having a get together.  I suppose that’s why it was odd not to be together.  Through the week, if I called Eve and nothing much had happened over the weekend, she would simply say that the day was:

“A Sunday kind of day.”

That meant she was hoping for company or wanted to go out for coffee with me and by the time I got there…(usually within 10-15 minutes) she was ready to go.  With a laugh, I jingled my keys and off we went.  That was our joke for many years and from it came wonderful spur of the moment lunches, shopping sprees and of course…coffee breaks and heart to heart talks between us.  I cherish those memories and all of the laughs and tears together.

3 sisters

 

Shortly after I began my walk today, the sun came out for short periods and I sat there browsing through my journals for this blog but all the while wanting to stay on the subject of the rain.  It didn’t take long to find one and I was in a perfect mood for a bit of re-writing of this one.

A few years ago, I wrote a children’s poem as I had watched an Aboriginal family of children playing in the rain at a celebration in the park across from my house.   I never took photos because I didn’t want to barge in on their privacy by asking permission to photogragh the children.  So I sat quietly on my steps and watched them, memorizing every detail in my mind.

I write a variety of material for an Aboriginal Newspaper and this one was originally published about 2 years ago.  I do have all rights to the poem.  In my mind I can still see them dressed in their colorful clothing and dancing in their tribal custom to the joy of the rain sent from their Creator.  Young and Elders joined the circle.

DANCE  IN  THE  RAIN

 

Raindrops are falling…

To the ground

Splishing and Splashing…

Come on!

Dance Around!

One drop starts…

Two, three and more…

Now dancing on the roof…

Drumming on the door!

Creator sends…Our summer rain

Mother Earth…Will be

Refreshed again!

Come along…

Dance for joy

We know Creator

Loves each girl and boy.

Dashing and splashing

Through the puddles deep…

Follow us now…

BEND!  DANCE!  LEAP!

Dance in the rain…No time to stop!

Keep in time…

PLOP!  PLOP!  PLOP!

 

Spider Web’s Lace…

WEB WONDER

And rose petals shine…

 

rose after rain

Morning Glories…Bloom divine!

morning glory on the line

 

Birds return with utmost delight…

a sip or two

To flowers that bloom…In colors bright.

summers promise fullfilled

 

Breathe the air…Check that sky…clouds by pop

 

Clouds are quickly rolling by.

Dance in the rain…

To Creator’s drum!

Stomping our feet…

In a circle…RUN!

 

The rain has stopped…Tiny  waterfalls flow…

waterfall

 

And  Creator’s  promise…

IS A LOVELY RAINBOW!

dens rainbow

Dedicated to children everywhere, regardless of age…Feel the freedom to enjoy what is all around you.  That’s what happy children do and I hear comments like “Oh if only I could do that.”  Or:  “Wish I was young again.”  Now who is telling you not to feel young enough to run along the beach, take a quiet walk down a different street than your own or sing!  Sing in the rain, or cry…whatever is needed.  Be free.   As I’ve said in my other blogs…Every rainfall is different and each one will makes you feel special when you are in it.  Because it is JUST for you at the time.  Enjoy it.  Seize the moment.  You can deal with your frizzy hair later.

I do plan to grow up one day…but not yet!

Thanks for reading.   I’ll be back soon sharing one of SUMMER WIND’S own stories.

Memory Lane