I don’t know why, but this time of year brings back so many childhood memories. The breeze seems to carry the giggles of the little girl I once was. It whispers, as it passes, “Take your shoes off. Put your feet in the soil. Enjoy it’s coolness. Remember your freedom. Remember who you are and where your from.” Tears flood my eyes, and I just have this uncontrolable urge to run through a hayfield or find a freshly toiled potato patch to dig my feet into. I AM a country girl at heart. I have a heritage that is full of amazingly strong men and women. I yearn to learn how to quilt, how to sew, how to can. I want so badly to plant a seed and watch it grow into something of sustenance. THIS is my heritage. Men and women who worked and worked hard. They survived and flourished. They worked with their hands. Their skin was sunworn and their laugh lines ran deep. They had pride in who they were and what they did.
Today, I listened to the whisper. I took my shoes off and went on a barefoot walk. I walked through the mud, I walked through the field, and I let the sun soak into my skin. If I could have ran to Fairview, I would have. If I could paint, my house would be full of paintings of my childhood memories. The way the sun hit the top of the hay. The way the fog rested over the hayfield. Bikes parked in the garage, the tree swing swaying in the wind – waiting for us to climb on and be daring. Crickets lulling me to sleep, the dew resting precariously on hay and vegtables. The smell of my papaw’s morning routine, and the aroma of my granny’s cooking. Knowing that right at 5, I could run out to the end of the driveway and ride back to the house on the sidestep of a pickup truck. Learing the basics of driving on an old tractor. Raiding the cookie jar. The taste . . . of homemade vegtable beef soup. Fried squash, fish fries. Eggs over easy and bacon at 6 a.m. Watching out the back door as the leaves changed colors and drifted in the wind. Knowing it was time to get the sled run ready for the winter. Knowing the quilting square would soon be hung and we would soon be tying knots in beautiful, breathtaking quilts. The first snow gleaming in the moonlight. The grandfather clock ticking away but never growing old. Tinsel on the christmas tree, homemade ornaments the main attraction. Christmas lights galore and brand new, homemade Christmas dresses being sewn.
I can’t explain why today they are all so vivid. I feel like I could reach out and touch them, they seem that real. If I could, I would grab that little dark haired girl and tell her a few things. I would tell her to soak it in. Don’t waste a single breathe. Know that you are beautiful just as you are. Don’t cry over naps and play in the creek just a little longer. Jump higher, ride faster, dare to dream. Be confident, no matter what.
I was daring back then. If you dared me, I would do it (which is why in the 1st grade I cut all my eyelashes off of one eye – thanks a lot Lanny Thompson!). I was brave, I was strong. Age has worn some of those attributes down. Which is maybe why I feel this so strongly right now. I have to get back to that place. I HAVE to get back to my roots, to who I am. My kids need to know their heritage. They need to know how to survive without a microwave and a t.v. They NEED to know what cold, fresh toiled soil feels like. They NEED to experience picking up potatoes. They need to know so much. Maybe, together, we can learn and acheive this. Someday, soon, I will get back to that place. The place that makes my heart sing, the place that my dreams visit. I will get that free spirit back, that strong will to succeed. I will be there soon . . . I have to get there soon.