There have been other warm and sunny days, but this is the first one that felt safe. The old plums blossomed over night and by late afternoon they were puffy white clouds in the backyard. Ten days ago the first plum flowered at the cusp of the vernal equinox and the air was raw and wet and snow was forecast. Today the wind pushed up the hill soft in the afternoon as the first returning turkey vulture rides the thermal current. My daughter wants to go for a walk and despite being late in the day for me I play along; so far a walk usually involves a stroll up to the little waterfall above the house. Today she is on fire; past the waterfall up the hill past the upper fence into the timber land beyond. She keeps going on and on until turned around for dinner.
When we moved here we one day she ventured into our rather wild backyard through the five foot tall grass and blackberries and came back with a purple ball that was actually a plum. I had been so busy building rooms for all the kids the tree had fruited unknown to me. To a three-year old a tree 75 yards through tall grass is far. Three years later the yard is tame and now far is up the hill and above the valley. Another leg in the ever-growing spiral as she heads out into the world.
A week ago under a pale waxing moon I went to see what was pollinating the first plum; the bees were barely out and seemed less enamored with the plum than early clover. Gently I shook a branch and a thousand flowers flew off and began flapping small white moths nestled among the blossoms. So much to see and learn even in a small space.
My pre-farm life was spent headed to new places, so much seen racing by in windows of cars or planes, peripheral blurs on motorcycle rides; now I want to know this place intimately. My wife asked me in essence if there was another place in my life I would have stayed. It was an odd question because the same thought crossed my mind just days before. I decided, and told her, while there are many places the me-who-is-now might have stayed, passing by them was essential to destination. I would not be this person without the journey. I can stand back and judge the me-who-was for the many mistakes made, or just be glad I made it here alive; my first grade teacher met me as an adult and seemed surprised I wasn’t dead or in jail based on my behavior at six. So you could say it’s been a long road.
It was a long walk down the hill to dinner, then chores outside and dishes to do and a dirty child to coerce into the bath… “I take showers now father” she said.
“Just get some soap on that mud daughter“