Category Archives: Spring

I had every intention …

of blogging about driving around today with the convertible top down, the music loud and the wind in my face; of blooming trees and budding flowers, puffy clouds in a blue, sun-drenched sky and the perfectness of a warm April day.

But I just hung up the phone after talking to my mom and the things I previously held up in importance faded into the background.

She is a rock, a beacon, a lighthouse, a safe haven.

She knows everything about me, the things that shamed me and, at one time or another, shamed her.

In my youth, I hurt her deeply and couldn’t find within myself the knowledge or ability to make it right.

She knows of my dreams and aspirations and is always the first one to encourage me even as she puts her own dreams and aspirations on hold.

It isn’t easy to explain to someone that thoughts, images, words, experiences, memories and a myriad of other flotsam runs through my head, in a constant stream, even when I’m sleeping.

And that is when I am at my baseline and not in manic mode.

She takes it in stride without judgement or condemnation and, I have come to realize, did so even when I felt I was being judged and condemned.

Nobody can condemn me any more than I condemn myself.  It is the nature of my world and I live with it.

She knows, though, simply by looking at my face or hearing my voice ,when I am in the throes of mania or, thankfully more rarely, the despondency of a depressive crash.

She understands that sometimes, I have to go away; from her, from myself, from everyone and just be dormant.

She knows these things and doesn’t hold them against me.

There is no “well, you did this or that or the other thing”.

She isn’t like that.

She is patient and kind.

She is, without doubt, the Proverbs 31 woman.

I would like to be like her, but that is an aspiration that will never come.  It isn’t that my cup is half empty, but that I live, as much as I can, in a reality-based existence.

She is a light in a dark place and I migrate to her when I need simply to know that someone loves me unconditionally.

I tell her I love her, but how do you describe to someone that  you cannot imagine a life without them.

Unless I die first by some freak event, by the natural order of things, I will lose her at some point in my life.

I cannot imagine a world without my mom.

So I will put that with other things I cannot imagine into a box that lives in the outer-regions of my heart.

When I am manic, the box will break open and I will have to face the possibility, but for now, when I am am simply on overdrive, it is secure in the  little locked box.

She inspires me with her acceptance and encouragement and that, without doubt or reservation, beats blooming trees in springtime seen from a back road drive with the convertible top down.

I love you, Mom .

A houseguest


My Mother's Mother's bleeding hearts

My Mother’s Mother’s bleeding hearts


This is how she makes me feel ... cherished

This is how she makes me feel … cherished

All of that being said about my mom, I want to extrapolate to another area and  extend prayers and encouragement to a friend that I have long lost touch with.  She lost her son, the light of her world and is now lying among the shattered pieces of her world.  Keep Pam Begley in your prayers when you pray.  I cannot fathom losing a child.


Waiting on lightning bugs …

is one of the trials of my patience when it come to summer.  Each night, since the first day of May, I sit, watching out the window across the fields in hopes of seeing one of the blinking lights that screams, boldly and with great emphasis,  SUMMER IS HERE!

I realize it is too early, too cool, too soon, too much still May, and therefore, still springtime,  for them to appear; I watch anyway.

And I wait.

There are few things more glorious than sitting on the front porch under the sweltering heat of a hot summer night with the myriad of stars and planets pulsing and shimmering overhead and watching the flicker and fade of one of nature’s triumphs.

I’m pretty sure that in the rest of the world (by the rest, I am referring to “not the South”), they are called fireflies.  A rose by any other name and all that jazz.  Around here, we call them lightning bugs.

The sky has already changed.  The daylight lasts longer, the clouds in the evening (and with the seemingly constant rain of late, the clouds are abundant) are laced with tinges of red and gold from the setting sun.  The beauty of that light never fails to take my breath away.

I am spellbound by it.

In the mountains, it isn’t always easy, especially living in a valley, to see the sunset.  The remnants of it in the clouds, however, is an awesome and spectacular experience.

The only thing more awesome are the Godlights that, although few and far between, show their stunning beauty as the rays of the sun spear upward, demanding to be noticed, across a not quite, but nearly summer sky.

May has, since the death of my husband a few years ago, been a hard month for me.  Not this year, though.  I made a conscious decision that I wasn’t going to let the memory of his upcoming birthday diminish my joy of late spring.  I decided to, instead of dreading it, dedicate it to him, to my Jim,  in a remembrance, of sorts, of he who cherished me in a way that I still struggle with understanding.

So I did.  I dedicated May to Jim for it is a glorious thing to be cherished.  I miss him sometimes in a way that threatens to destroy my hard-won independence … but life goes on, whether I am up to the task or not.

So far, it has been a thrilling, energizing, encouraging experience.  I should have done it long ago, but I suppose I wasn’t ready before now.  I reckon, on some level, I was hoping to find that one person that I could say anything to and know that I would, even when I was confusing, incoherent, rambling and discombobulating, be understood.

Sometimes, I think I have found them and others, I wonder if I’m only wishing for something that will never be again.  I try, sometimes in vain, not to dwell on it.

I am a dreamer, first and foremost, after all.  To put that burden off on someone who doesn’t really understand me on the most basic level is, at the very least, unfair, and even as I seek it, I understand that it is too much to ask.

There will never be another Jim.  I understand that now, after nearly four years.  I know that.  I accept it, finally.  I don’t expect, anymore, for anyone to understand me so perfectly, so completely.  At day’s end, I look to myself and my Heavenly Father, who understands me even better than Jim, to fulfill my needs.

I do, however, wish fervently, for lightning bugs.   I suppose, it is in part, due to my Sagittarius nature , for I am optimistic to a fault and hope for things that are well beyond the scope of normalcy.

I am not ashamed of this.  I live life with my glass half-full, my eyes wide open and my heart always seeking the best in everyone around me.

Long live the Centaur.

Wet roads and 18-wheelers …

isn’t my first choice when it comes to driving conditions, but considering what I have found myself driving in from time to time, it also isn’t my last.

I like to drive.

The mindless task of following the road is among my favorite things to do.  It doesn’t matter, really, whether it is barely a ditch carved out of dirt, a steep ribbon of pavement curving and winding into a mountain or long stretches of interstate that seem, at times, to fade into infinity.

My thoughts flow freely, my mind wanders aimlessly and I feel as uninhibited as the birds in the air when I am behind the wheel.  If the weather is so that I can put the convertible top down, the pleasure is multiplied tenfold.

The destination isn’t all that important; going somewhere specific,  heading nowhere in particular or coming home.

It doesn’t matter.

Heading home today from a weekend out of town, it didn’t occur to me to concern myself with the rain falling in torrential sheets, pooling on the already wet road.  It didn’t make me nervous or anxious or fearful … even when coming up behind the tractor-trailers spewing a nearly blinding mist up in the road, it didn’t occur to me.

I figure, at those times, the two choices are to either take my place behind them and suffer the constant barrage of what they throw up from the asphalt or speed up and pass them.

There was something ethereal about the verdant greens along the sides of the interstate, beneath the falling rain.  I had a hard time finding fault as long as I could see the yellow line and, at the same time, take in the sulking, brooding gray of the heavy sky above the greenery and blooming things of late April.

My intentions were to spend today hiking in the Smoky Mountains, however, the weather did not cooperate.  While I don’t mind taking a risk or two to get to the places I wish to see, I’m not going to invite disaster.

Hiking on the wet, steep, rocky trails alone would have been careless and while I have my moments of carelessness, I try not to make a habit of being so on purpose.

I started home in the rain and muck with a song on the radio and the highway stretching out before me.  When I came to the last few miles, a narrow country road (in my mind, “my road”), an offshoot of a country highway, I was stunned.

In the two days I have been gone, it seems that Spring exploded on Big Moccasin; the fields edging up to the base of Clinch Mountain are greener, fuller.  The high grass, dancing in the wind and the wildflowers, now abundant, unfurling their vibrant, colorful blooms without shyness or fear of frost took my breath away.

The sheer magnitude of the beauty of it, of home, of Spring, brought tears to my eyes.

I was reminded, once again, that no matter what I may have seen today had I stayed where I was, it wouldn’t have been any more beautiful than the height of spring in my own back yard.

On a larger scale than the peaks and valleys of Clinch Mountain, perhaps.  But not more beautiful.

It just goes to show that springtime in the mountains, irregardless of which mountains, is a stimulating treat for the senses.  As for the rain … well, nothing smells quite so wonderful as the Spring mountains after a rain, now does it?


I know a trail shoot was succesful …

This gallery contains 25 photos.

when I come home filthy, covered in mud, bleeding from my brush with thorns and other sharp things of nature and smelling of the earth that I was crawling around on.  There are few things in this life that renew … Continue reading

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