My daughters and I went to Green Mountain for our eclipse viewing. It was exactly what we hoped for. Serene and beautiful. The eclipse began shortly after we arrived but I hiked the loop trail while the girls picked the perfect spot on the dock for us to watch the moon cover the sun. While on the trail I found several clear sunny spots, stopped to put my eclipse glasses on, and viewed the moon edging its way over the sun. I was awe struck and rushed my way through the forest to join the girls on the dock.
We reclined there, viewed the eclipse with our glasses, noticed the fading light, laughed at each other, guessed at the percentage of coverage, watched a newly arrived spectator look for a good spot to sit or point to the eclipse shaped shadows, put our glasses back on and did it again and again until the moon hid the sun as much as it would on Green Mountain.
The eclipse was amazing. The whole thing of it. The going there, the watching and waiting, the laughing with my girls, the riding home afterward. But there was another wonderful part of it.
Throughout our time at Green Mountain, my oldest daughter was very aware of others around us. The couple fishing on the other dock when we arrived. The old couple sitting on a swing near the entrance to the park. The young men glancing toward the sky occasionally. The photographer setting up his special camera for the perfect photo op. There were others around but these were the ones she noticed. None of these had glasses.
She spoke first to the couple sitting in the swing who didn’t realize the show had started.
“Is there something to see?” the elderly lady asked. “Oh yes,” my daughter said as she handed her glasses over.
The sweet elderly lady was delighted to see the crescent shape of the sun. The gentleman in the swing told us he’d seen two eclipses in his lifetime and thanked my daughter for the offer anyway. The fishing lady took a break from the fishing and my daughter saw her walking nearby. She gladly put the glasses on to see what was happening up above and thanked my daughter over and over. My daughter walked to the other dock to share her glasses with the fishing man, shared them with the photography man and eventually gave them away to the young glancers so they could enjoy the rest of the eclipse without worrying about their eyes.
My daughter wanted everyone to see the wonder in the sky.
She enjoyed the eclipse but was overjoyed to see others enjoying the eclipse.
In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge Focus.
I snapped this photo with my phone because I loved the lushness enveloping me as I stood under the big pecan tree in our yard. This same tree was featured in another one of the photo challenges – Big. Here I focused on the worm-like blooms, called catkins.
The catkins are gone now. The wind shook the blooms and released the pollen that triggered watery eyes, sneezing, and coughing for so many. The leaves have turned a deeper green and the nuts are getting ready for fall when the squirrels will steal all the tasty treats they can before someone else picks them up.
This photo from the other side of the tree is focused on the background instead of the catkins. That wasn’t on purpose but I like it.
Most of my Mondays are spent in the historic downtown area of a nearby city. The office of the non-profit where I volunteer is there. Until the beginning of the year I’d only driven through the downtown area a few times and now it’s one of my favorite places.
Every two hours we have to move our cars or put more change in the meters which gives me a chance to enjoy a few walks during the day. I love seeing the people on the streets, some in their business attire walking briskly to make an appointment on time, some taking a stroll enjoying the sights, a couple walking their dogs, a young athlete getting her run in, or those lingering at the outdoor tables after a nice lunch.
I especially enjoy walking past all the old churches. They’re magnificent. The downtown area is dense with old churches like this Methodist church. It was originally built in the early 1800s but was burned down during the Civil War when Federal troops were quartered in the basement. The church burned down due to an act of carelessness. The troops built fires on the wooden floors to cook their food. But with courage and faith the congregation rebuilt the church and finished it in 1868. Several additions have been completed since then.
I walk past other churches too. Another Methodist church, Catholic, Episcopal and a Baptist one too.
If I’m having an exceptionally good Monday, my walks happen at the same time the church bells ring. I’m not sure which churches are ringing the bells but oh what a joyful noise it is!
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” Psalm 100:1
These muscadine vines were planted by my dad. Years later we get to taste the fruits of this rugged plant that needs minimal attention. The vines thrive so well here in the hot and humid conditions of Alabama that we had to cut some of them back this summer. They were overtaking the nearby pear tree, growing up and into its branches.
We have west-coast friends that had never heard of the large thick-skinned grape. They could hardly stop eating them once we showed them how to eat one. Point the top of the grape toward your mouth and squeeze until the insides pop into your mouth.
The flavor is like no other.
The taste and smell of them remind me of my Grandmother Sharrott. She had a muscadine tree in the middle of her yard. I thought it was a tree. That’s what it looked like when I was a little girl. Someone had made a way for the vines to grow up a short pole then arch way out from the center all the way around.
The muscadine is a hardy plant. It does what it’s supposed to do……..grow and be fruitful. Even in difficult conditions.
There’s always fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge Resilient and the Daily Prompt Fragrance.
It was unseasonably warm last night. The air was heavy and the sky dark because the moon and stars couldn’t shine through the thick clouds. The wind was wild and the rain came fast and hard. Then it calmed and the rain drops were big and slow.
The news and sirens told us there were tornado warnings but I could feel it in the air before they told us anything. I wasn’t scared when I went to bed last night but I woke up several times because the thunder was loud and the wind was making the trees hit against the house and the barn was creaking.
The sounds of the storm and the strange low way the thunder rolled reminded me of one night when I was a little girl…maybe ten years old.
I remember Daddy sitting in the doorway on the steps that led to the carport. The screen door was propped open and all the windows were opened too.
Daddy was watching the weather. He said he could feel it in his bones that it would be really bad weather. Probably tornadoes.
He sat there lifting his cigarette to his mouth and taking a deep draw so that the tip of it turned bright orange. The smoke came out of his mouth fast. He rested his hands on his knees then clasped them together while holding the cigarette. He lifted the cigarette to his mouth for another draw. Over and over again until there was no more tobacco to burn. He threw the cigarette down onto the concrete of the carport then stepped on it. Then he bent forward to comfort the dog. Bojo stayed at Dad’s feet even closer when there was a storm.
The rain wasn’t heavy but the big trees all around our house were moving wildly because of the wind. Then the rain and the wind stopped and it was calm. The lightning flickered across the sky and the thunder rumbled deep and long and far off.
But I wasn’t scared.
Daddy was watching the weather.
When it snows in Alabama it feels like magic.
The white stuff causes wonder and excitement like nothing else. We watch the snow as it falls and we pray that it “sticks”. Most of the time the ground is so warm around these parts that the snow melts as soon as it touches.
And it’s one of the most beautiful sights you’ve ever seen. Especially in the country. Where the cows are in the fields and the trees are big and the sheds and fences are covered with snow.
And the roads are closed because no one knows how to drive on snowy roads and we don’t have chains on our tires.
But we play in the snow because it may be the only snow we get for a few years. We build a snowman and ride garbage can lids down hills and have snowball fights.
Then we gather enough snow to make snow cream and eat it while we talk about how we hope the snow stays another day.
But it doesn’t take long for the magic to melt and we wait for it to come again.
In response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge Temporary.
During the summer a friend and I took an overnight trip to Nashville. It was long overdue. We needed the time spent talking and laughing and moving slowly through wherever we were.
We stopped in a few small towns on our way to Nashville. One of them was here in Elkmont, Alabama. My friend was very excited about me seeing this place called Belle Chèvre. She treated me to lunch and it was splendid.
I just couldn’t get over this quaint little town. It isn’t too far from my own small town but it had a different feel.
The day we were there the town was hosting its annual tractor parade. An old gentleman we met at one of the small town shops beamed with pride as he told us about the festivities that surrounded the event.
We saw part of the parade of tractors as we drove on country roads to get back to the interstate. There were big green tractors, old red ones, shiny black and brown ones. We even saw a yellow tractor. They were in no rush to get where they were going.
I felt at home in that small town with my friend and goat cheese and tractors.
In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge Local and the Daily Prompt Rube.
“Educated in a small town
Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another boring romantic, that’s me
No I cannot forget where it is that I came from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be.”
Small Town by John Mellencamp
At the edge of my grandmother’s yard there was a rock wall that separated our yard from hers. My little sister and I jumped over those rocks a thousand times. We used the rock wall as a hurdle in the pretend race courses we created.
“Run around the pecan tree and back to the barn, from the barn to the apple tree then run and jump over the rock wall. To the gravel road back through the yard over the rock wall and down to the pines. Climb the mimosa tree and down the mimosa tree then up the gravel road to the mailbox. Whoever touches the mailbox first wins.”
I can’t remember who won most of the time. Maybe we took turns winning. I do remember that when we finished the course we felt we’d done something big. Our rock wall hurdle seemed tall way back then.
The rocks are still there……exactly as they were when I was a little girl. Now I can step over those large old rocks with ease.
The rocks haven’t changed.
But I have.
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7
In response to the Daily Prompt Cusp.
I remember playing in the shade of this old pecan tree when I was a little girl.
A long time ago the tree was struck by lightning. The wounds from the strike are only scars now.
Although damaged and misshaped the tree lives on. It’s a resilient one. It found a way to survive…..thrive even.
Birds still perch there. Shade is still given. It’s a generous tree.
And the hole in the center of the tree is the perfect place for a squirrel to rest from his scampering.
In response to The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge Resilient.