Recently, I awoke with tears in my eyes.
It was an early morning in December, hence, I dreaded the freezing temperatures, as well as, resting my feet upon a cold floor.
In addition, I felt a heavy sadness, a feeling I 'd felt before- this was not my first wagon ride-
I kept my eyes \closed, and dreamed of the honeysuckle vines in grandmothers yard, her dusty back porch, the clothesline, and the talkative morning birds.
I remember feeling secure and joyful in my grandmothers home, and although the wooden floors frightened me when they creaked, the old cedar house invited a familiar sense of belonging and joy-
When my brother's and I spent the night with Nana (my grandmother,) we could smell bacon popping in a pan, homemade grape jam on toast, and the loudest birds I will ever hear again, the next morning. I remember wondering how birds understood each other, since they all chirped at once while searching for food in the morning dew.
I still wonder what birds gossip about...but, they chirp so fast, that even if we were fluent in their language, their conversations would be impossible to follow.
Then, my mind drifted back into the present, and I laughed to myself, thinking about childhood- However, I quickly caught myself, and forced my mind to close the silent door on the present, in order to drink in the bittersweet moments of yesteryear.
My grandmother lived into my adulthood, becoming one of my closest friends, as well as a positive influence in my child's life. Thinking of this, I kept my eyes closed and remembered Nana laughing at my son's Golden Retriever, Wendy, as she chased squirrels high into the treetops, watching them jump from tree limb to tree limb, until she reached the point of exhaustion.
However, what Wendy considered rest was sitting on a tree's trunk barking toward the sky, her eyes fixed on a squirrels tail dangling on a tree limb, hoping a squirrel would lose its balance and fall. I thought of Nana's laugh again, but suppressed the memory...and I'm not sure why-
I longed to be nine years old again, and squeezed my eyes together willing what has passed me by to remain clear in my mind. Then, the sounds of the world waking up interrupted my trance, and I knew I would have to open my eyes sometime.
As a matter of fact, I knew that "sometime" was around the corner, because I had to wipe the tears that were sliding down my cheeks like rainwater. Why was I crying?- It was a surprise I decided to brush off and rationalize as tired, confused, lost, or "just one of those days."
I lay in bed feeling like I was awaiting an unwelcome visitor- Nevertheless, I told myself I was strong and thought of good things until I felt better.
After all, it was an early morning in December, one of my favorite seasons-
So, I shrugged off the feeling and decided to focus on secure moments and new beginnings before I met the day.
I wanted to be a nine year old again, hence, squeezed my eyes together tight, willing the past to remain clear in my mind. Then, the sounds of an awakening world interrupted my trance, and I knew a new moment was on its way, and I would have to face the day soon.
As a matter of fact, I knew the moment I dreaded was around the corner, because at some point, I had to wipe the tears that rolled down my face like rainwater. I could not understand why was I crying, but it was a surprise I decided to brush off and rationalize as tired, confused, lost, or simply, "one of those days."
I often project myself into the future during the fall season and on Sundays-
For example, on Sunday I think of Monday, and during the spring months, I remember long hot summers.
Only, on this day in winter, I didn't think of the summer, I thought of the cowboy curtains that hung in my uncles boyhood room at my grandmothers house. When my siblings and I spent the night with our grandmother, I slept in my uncles room, and the same curtains that covered the windows in his boyhood, still hung above the bed in his room.
I called his curtains "The Cowboy Curtains," because they were covered with drawings of cowboys riding horses, roping cattle, sitting around campfires, etc...It was like watching another world from another time, and for some reason this comforted me. Each time we spent the night, I couldn't wait to go to bed and make up stories about the characters on the drapes, which, by the way, inspired tons of material.
I sat on his bed and wrote about the images on the drapes, and the sounds rich in a southern environment helped me paint the settings.
The agricultural climate in the southern part of the United States blends into your senses, becoming a part of who you are, and what you will remember for a lifetime.
I can still smell the honeysuckle vines I pulled from my grandmother’s Azalea bushes, as well as hear the crickets' sing at night.
My grandmother lived close to a train track, hence, I can remember listening to the chirping rhythm of crickets, in the background while the thunderous roar of an occasional train rumbled down the track.
These images are still in my mind and they were serving me well today- Although, I awoke in tears, I was having a heavenly morning dream, so I kept my eyes closed, and melted once again into the past. I could feel the wind and hear the cowboy's telling tall tales on the curtains, while they blew away from the open window above my head.
I opened the window in my uncle’s room before going to sleep at night, and watched the moonlight dance on the horses shadows while they floated toward the dark sky.
It seemed as though the moonlight decided to shine the light on the cowboy characters, giving them credit for having the courage to ride on unfamiliar land hoping to catch a dream.
My youthful imagination created a picture of living cowboy's in the drawings. Actually, they really looked alive when the wind wiggled the drapes back and forth against the darkness- I felt as if I were watching my own private screening from a time that passed me by-
A glimpse inside the life of horses and cowboys who shared the heart and spirit necessary to win any race, cross any countryside, or rope any calf, gives me courage- these imaginary cowboy's horses kicked dirt toward the sky until the end of every day- and so will I.
But today, when I close my eyes, I will let my minds eye watch horse and rider gallop to the rhythms of life inside the sleepy drapes of long ago.
Because, after all, I recognize this feeling...I've felt it before- this is not my first wagon ride, remember?
I will worry with the details tomorrow...I haven't the time today- time is too precious...
I will think of cowboy curtains, honeysuckle vines, my grandparents, my golden retriever...a cool drink of water... tall clover...and you-
Then I'll open my eyes...and begin a new day-