My back yard has slowly been filled with all my familiar things which are nice little signs telling me I belong here. There was a sign that a house was for sale. I bought the house and I moved to this new location. First I had to put up a sign to sell my own house in the city. A family saw that sign and bought it. It all began with looking at signs.
What I love the most about living in a community rather than a city, is knowing that anywhere I go, I will see something familiar. I know I can walk the same direction and the lake will be in the same spot. The pharmacy, our Post Office, a gift shop, hotel, grocery stores, a park & even our Vet Clinic all have visible signs that let us know who they are. When a new shop in town opens, it will have a bright colored sign to let everyone know about it and following that, their front window will have a sign with their hours of operation written out. We just have to read the sign. How about these ones: ‘GARAGE SALE TODAY’, or: FIVE FAMILY YARD SALE’ with an arrow pointing the direction to the location. Quick & easy to understand those signs and we will follow the sign, never doubting for a second that it would be anything but what we read.
When I drove back to my old home place, although the road had been widened & resurfaced, it was still the same road. Newer signs were reposted along the way, but the words & names of places were the same. At the farm all the signs of my former life were still there, some visible while some were changed by time & the elements. As I looked around me, my memory served me well as I visualized the way it used to be. Signs of summers that I remembered were everywhere.
Have you ever driven into Dallas, TX., Vancouver, B.C., Chicago, IL, or Los Angeles, CA? Well the first thing you look for are ‘Exit’ signs or where to switch lanes to merge in & out of traffic. Some freeways are eight to twelve lanes! Traffic moves in an orderly way most of the time, because they have a great ‘sign’ system. That is a must to avoid mass confusion. Modern tech has given us GPS systems that talk us through, but we still need to read signs.
At this point my decision to move from a busy crowded city was almost like coming full circle. But this time I am writing pages in the ‘now’ about my experiences that I want to share while they are still fresh and alive to me. This is a wonderful time and experience for me… I am so appreciative of each blessing as I greet & recognize them. I am trying not to miss anything. Writing these pages for all of you will hopefully give you signs of who I truly am and about the things that matter to me. Memories that I especially want to share with my family.
I decided to move to this lakeside town to be closer to my sister. I was almost ready to retire, and my dream was to do that, then write my memoirs and hang up my shingle for my: ‘Colors of the Wind Art Studio’. The place I bought had a great deal of potential for that in the front portion, while offering a fabulous sized private back yard, which I am gradually converting into a Zen garden.
I happened to be over at my sister’s the day my brother in law decided to dig out a gigantic tree stump from their yard. I fell in love with it and visualized it as a table since it was about coffee table height. I could complete it with a shatter proof glass top, varnish the sides and so on. I paid a neighbor to cut it carefully at ground level with his chain saw, and we got 2 more guys to haul it over to my place on the back of his truck. I could feel these guys shaking their heads at this weird new woman in town. If they were discretely giving each other signs while driving over about what they thought, I knew it would have been:
“Amigo…She eez loco!”
However, after an hour’s work, everybody won! The guys got beer money. I got the gigantic tree stump. My brother in law was happy that he didn’t have to deal with chopping it up and discarding the garbage. My sister was thrilled that I had saved her tree because she had wanted to do exactly the same thing with the old relic. (The tree stump…not her husband!)
Well as it turned out, the ‘relic’ never did become a table because I rearranged the yard to fit around the stump. I collected rocks and stones and planted a lily garden around it. Then I added a huge bird bath that I also rescued from a back lane.
I HAD to. There was a big sign on it:
‘FREE. PLEASE TAKE ME TO A GOOD HOME’
…So I did!
….Oh Yes…The same guys moved that for me too! Same thoughts, I’m sure. Same payment plan….Everybody won.
Five years have passed. Lots has changed during that time. My brother in law and sister are both gone. It’s just over a year for my sis. My son has been coaxing me to let him take away the old tree stump. It is beginning to rot away and he is concerned that it is becoming a refuge for ants. I didn’t want to part with it yet but it is only a matter of time now.
A week ago, I really looked at it. He is right but I am not giving in too easily. There were some green sprouts growing out of the cracks but as I pulled out a couple of weeds, I saw something that amazed me…
There are two young maple trees that have sprung up and are growing together! Not one, but two! I am delighted!
Instantly, I accepted this as a sign. Perhaps, it may sound silly or childish but I don’t care. It was a sign! Not a miracle or anything dramatic…just a little sign for me.
We all have choices that affect our decisions, moment by moment sometimes. What cereal should we have for breakfast…I don’t eat cereal…I want what’s in the flat box in my fridge. The sign on it tells me it’s pizza. I love cold pizza. How we like our coffee. Where we’d like to spend a vacation and who we want to be with. And… The choice of what we want to believe.
I want to believe this was a sign that my sis & brother in law are okay in their eternal homes. Simple. These trees signify new life from the old deteriorating shell, that is crumbling all around them.
I am not writing a sermon. I am simply sharing what I personally got from this and it is something I choose to hold on to. I won’t feel as sad when my son takes away the stump now. The seeds of new life have found a way to grow! I’ve already written about my sister’s love and fascination of trees. In their yard, years ago, my brother in law had planted 3 maples, one for each of Alice’s girls, my nieces. There were two very strong spruces that were for the boys, my nephews. Every morning, my sister took her coffee into the front room, looked at her trees & said a prayer for her ‘Fabulous Five.’ I know this to be true. My brother in law also told me this so often. These trees were her signs about her children and that made her content. These signs brought her comfort.
Alice and I talked about the deepest subjects that any two sisters ever could. We had often discussed the subject of whichever one of us went first & if there was a way to send the other a sign, we would do that. Of course we went about it in a loving, joking manner… it wasn’t a morbid thing.
I, of course was wondering what I’d be wearing??? This made her laugh and she would shake her head & say something like this:
“Oh, Sis! Trust you to think of that one!”
I always teased her about her smoking & burning things in the kitchen, even though she was a great cook. So I’d tell her that I would just watch for an angel with a little cloud of smoke around her head instead of a halo!
But, I always admired the way my sister had no fear about dying. Her faith was without doubts in that area. She had incredible courage. As far as I know, she didn’t care one way or another about signs, but she wouldn’t have been discouraging to anyone who did. And, all kidding aside… we did promise to do that one ‘sign’ thing… if there was a way. Just loving chats between two sisters who in reality, never wanted to deal with having to let go of the other, first.
The two new maples out of the old dead stump are little life signs to me. Maples spring up in cracks of sidewalks, unused chimneys, and almost anywhere all the time, I know that. Yet, I am blessed over these little trees that are growing for me right now. Because to me they are special. I am just accepting them as a gift. Signs do go as far back as God sending an olive branch out to Noah. He could have used anything but he chose a tree branch.
Trees happen to grow for generations exactly like families. My new trees will someday become old trees and make way for newer ones from the seeds of the fertile parent tree. Whenever we do our name and history searches for photos from the past or several generations, these collections are called:
‘Family Trees’, aren’t they?
It’s a sign.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back here soon,