“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” So speaks the wisdom of Ecclesiastes and so it seems to me to be. I watch my own seasons turn, from child to youth to woman to my croning (this would be a mixture of wisdom and some brand of hooliganism which must be just part of my personality). I realize I am entering the winter of my life and my writing. I no longer crave fame or fortune as I once did, foolish or not. Looking good is not as important as my sense of beauty. Writing well is important only because I have a sense of integrity that I don’t want to compromise. And writing often is even more important than writing well.
Believe me, I’m not necessarily pleased at the infrequency of my writing of late. I have made a major move from Northwest Arkansas back to Western North Carolina. At least the words north and west keep showing up, grounding me in similar parts of any given state. And the states are always in the South. As I told Leigh when we decided to move back in December, this will take a year of our lives. And so it proves to be.
We have been here but a short time, and already much as taken place. We lived in this crazy, kind of wonderful rental while we looked for home. The fact that it was only 700 sq. ft. made our new place, Five Apple Farm, seem huge. Leigh and I still text each other in order to figure out where the other might be in this upstairs-downstairs, nearly 5 acre wonderland of a mountainside.
The day after we moved in, boxes piled haphazardly about the place, my parents came to visit. Luckily, we had fixed up the little guest house, our Jewel Box, while the farm house was still under renovation. My folks loved it there. With all the comforts of home and a place they could call their own for the duration of the visit, we were able to entertain them even as we were living in chaos ourselves. When it got to be too much for them, they just headed for the bright lights and steady warmth of the Jewel Box next door. As Leigh said, when your parents are in their mid-eighties, you don’t wait for the perfect time for them to come. To every thing there is a season. There is no perfect time; just a time to every purpose under heaven.
I know this is a bit rambling and I apologize. I have been away too long and must start somewhere. Here seemed good enough for a beginning. Start here. Start there. Start somewhere. Hell, just get started. All I can do as I unpack boxes, clean years of grime from a house that sorely needed cleaning, and get ready to make a kitchen I can love for the rest of my life–is to write from where ever I may find myself. I invite you to join me as I turn, turn, turn into my new life; actually into my new old life here in the Black Mountains of NC, where Mount Mitchell is visible from almost any walk I take.
Follow me along the path I cut through the “laurel hells” up the side of our hill and back down again until we reach the beehives situated in the Indian field. Observe us planting the poor wayward peonies that have come all the way from Henry Chotkowski’s Ozark garden bought on seven consecutive Mother’s Day celebrations to be stuck in the ground at the rental, then replanted yet again around the clothesline poles at Five Apple Farm. Smell the apple pies, taste the tangy applesauce, and toast apple walnut bread for breakfast. Think of as many ways to use apples as you can. Help me find a cider press.
If this journey appeals to you, come along for the hike or hayride. Wade the waters of the South Toe and lay a fly so light and dainty that even the native Brookies will be fooled into striking. Or simply take a winter walk with me to see what we can see. The view–winter, spring, summer, fall–is always spectacular with a beauty that is constantly turning, as I am turning, as we all are turning on this incredible, unpredictable planet we call home.