Friday, June 3, 2016

Planting some Hope - A Chapter From the New Book

Friends - I'm going to dive into the next book, of which 20 some chapters have been written or outlined. So although there will be regular posts of food, fun and the occasional firearm over the summer, I'm going to concentrate my "serious" writing on finishing the book. I needed that time but I'm ready to give it a try.

It is fiction and follows a newly single woman that moves from a busy, upscale metropolitan area condo to a tiny house in an even smaller town in the Midwest, to take over a small bookstore and home a beloved Aunt left to her. The story will be some vignettes of her thoughts as she adapts to life in a tiny town and those of some of her neighbors, until a tragedy shatters the peaceful safety of their town and shows them just how strong these small roads make people.  I will publish a few snippets when I can.
A Chapter from "Small Town Roads" 

Spring has come to the land as an elderly silver haired woman stands upon her porch in this small town. The driveway is glistening from a recent rain shower, as brief as it was warm, the cement assuming a patina that is mirrored by the hand-plastered walls of her home. Sunlight strikes the trellis in a dazzling splash and then darts over the colorful flowers that stand at quick attention waiting for the sun's acknowledgement.  On the porch, a white muzzled retriever sleeps beside her, lulled by a gentle breeze as a solitary car drives by, almost in silence, as if respecting this peaceful time. She has no desire right now to disturb her faithful companion, her own joints tired and aching with arthritis, even as she admires the muscular definition of arms still strong from working in the earth.

She's lived here what seems a lifetime, staying after her husband passed, no desire to move closer to the big city, no interest in downsizing, which can be done by her children when she is gone.  All she has asked of them is that they leave the flowerbeds as they are, so the cycle of flowers continues long after she is part of the earth.
Each year the flowers return, whether the winter embraces them, or neglects them, making a statement of endurance too abundant for the limits of human speech.  Then, on one of those lazy weekends, she takes to the planting beds, removing weeds and overrun, finding the lawn by evening time gaudy with the dead and the dying. With the expired shoots of the previous year would be the errant plastic wrapped flyer or empty can, tossed with careless hand only to reappear with that first shout of warmth, released form the cold and the dark only to be resigned to it again, there in the recycling bin.

It's a tradition and it's a cycle, these little rituals of tending to her home, there in those days where doors still stand closed in the morning chill, the flash of a fire's hearth only a forgotten gleam on the window. As the flowers come out and grass is cut for the first time, other things emerge from the neighborhood. Small toys and bikes show up in yards, as if left there in the night by some spaceship from another planet. Flags are carefully hung, down the street, a clothesline is hung.
The neighbors yards here in this small town are much the same, even the overgrown corner, which the homeowner and the city are in a permanent state of detente as to who really has to mow it, is dotted with colorful wildflowers splashed on the ground as if flung up by the spray of water a passing car would create. There's an old mailbox in the shape of an old car, several statues of Mary, Mother of Jesus, looking across the yard with eyes that are either laying a blessing upon the land or provides gentle rebuke to a yard gnome that moons another flowerbed.

She watches her new neighbor leave, a younger lady with strawberry blond hair who has just moved here, She heard she's the niece of Ruby, the lovely lady who lived there that passed away and hopes she will stay rather than sell it or rent it. But living in a town of a few thousand people can't be too exciting for a young person after what was likely the bustling adventure of universities and bigger towns. The young woman seems intent on just getting her car on to the very narrow street and does not notice her. But as people in this the village do, she lifts a weathered hand and gives the young woman a friendly wave, one that startles a bird perched on a shrub, it's sharp, tiny cries falling away like flung confetti
As she turns back towards the house to brew tea, she realizes she has watched these flowers come up for fifty some years, those planted by herself as a young bride, and those added by her sons, still maintaining that childhood picture of color and brightness that she has looked at through years of weary and years of joy, a picture that on the threshold of her final years she sees no means to alter. God willing, she will be here after that ancient trellis has fallen to ashes, no desire to spend her end days in assisted living with a tiny cement patio and a garden beyond that is so ordered and sterile there is no room in it for man's curiosity.

She hopes that she will enjoy these blooms until they fade one final time -her bedroom window open to the garden, taking in her final breaths as the infinite air calls in the calming scent of blossoms.

As her new neighbor's car fades in the distance, she is simply going to  sit and enjoy some tea on the porch, looking at her bounty of blooms on this first Friday in June. She hopes that she is here on the First Friday in June next year, and the year after, living fixed in the monotonous  repetition of the flowers, the garden's living symbol of hope.


3 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting perspective.

    Merle

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks to be a good read. I'll be watching for it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Would love to sit on her porch and have a cup of tea with that elderly silver haired woman....

    ReplyDelete

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