*just did a late night edit. Ugh. Hate the glaring errors. Should have read more closely I know. Sorry*
This was a week.
I am still a bit wiped out. I got up this morning at 7, but it took me until almost 1:15 to actually get out of the house and get going. I was awake. I had three huge cups of coffee. But getting up and moving to the kitchen was almost more than I could handle. It was frigid here this morning, and while I grew up in colder climes, I think my blood has grown thin after a decade in the South.
Yesterday’s drive was difficult. I’ve made that drive more times than I can count, but I had a terrible time getting here. I know the route. I know how long it should take, even when it’s going slow. Even when the weather is bad. And yesterday it took me three hours longer to get here than it normally does. I don’t know why. It was just slowly torturous. Probably because I still don’t feel good.
It has been a really, really long time since I’ve had an episode this protracted. I know that I need to go to the doctor. It is on my list of things to do at the beginning of the year. True I could go now but the truth of the matter is that after all these years, another month won’t make a difference and in order to help me and give me an official diagnosis, there will need to be a lot of expensive tests and doctor’s visits at the end of a year with new insurance and a deductible that hasn’t been met yet, it doesn’t make sense to go *now*. What’s wrong with me isn’t a brain tumor; it’s not life-threatening. So in January when the deductible resets, I’ll make an appointment with a neurologist and get it going because I know what it’s going to ultimately wind up being.
When I finally did get moving this morning, I went out to take to some pictures of the places of my childhood. Note to self – tomorrow do not wear mascara. With the blowing wind, my eyes watered and I wound up with mascara all over my face. I underestimated the amount of time it would take me to scout each place, and I only made it to two locations – the old Liberty School, which was the one-room school house that used to sit on the Berry homestead and where my Grandma Alex went to school. The steps to the old school house are still at the farm, but the school itself was moved years ago. I didn’t get pictures if the steps. They are too over-grown now.
I won’t be able to post any of my pictures until I make it back home, so all I can do is think – or write, as the case may be – about it for the time being.
When I drove by the Farm on my way to where Liberty School has found its ignoble final resting place, my first thought was, I didn’t remember it being so small. Surely it was bigger than that, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it bigger? Didn’t it have to be bigger to accommodate two winch trucks, a couple of tractors, a sawmill, a double-wide trailer. When I was in middle school, it seemed like the property was huge and walking across the wheat field in back was a herculean task. But I wound up going to Liberty School first because I missed what would have been the driveway; I thought it was further down.
I suppose that it is not surprise that the whole of the place is covered in saplings, given that there used to be a sawmill there. Thousands of saplings, making it difficult to find a clear path to anywhere, although clearly there were paths. People had had been through there. The property is still for sale; it borders an industrial park and at one time, could have been a good investment. No traces of the house or the sawmill or equipment remain. Only a water spigot stands in the field. I remember when my father and grandpa put it in.
It’s strange, though, the things you remember. The cedar tree that my father strung lights on the first year the trailer was there – so small – because he wanted my brother and I to feel like Christmas was happening at his house too, in almost 30 years has grown to tower. There were rotten persimmons hanging from the branches of the persimmon tree that the previously tiny cedar now dwarfs. I was transported back to being a little girl, dared to bite into an unripe persimmon, my mouth puckered and dried. And below the both of them, the debris of decades – in particular, a glass bottle. No label. But I know that was an orange juice bottle. Both my father and grandfather were diabetics; there was often orange juice around in case one of them needed a fast dose of sugar when there was a dip in their blood sugar.
Mostly, though, it was just so small. Maybe without all the saplings it wouldn’t have seemed so diminished. But then again, when I was small, there was all that equipment and stuff. Even the pond – which is now dry – as a child it seemed so big and terrifying. But looking at it this afternoon, it was just…nothing. Barely bigger than a common backyard above-ground pool, had for $200 at your local discount store.
Tomorrow there more strolls down memory lane, and Tuesday I’m for home. Wednesday, my house, which smells like dog, bless Sweet Husband’s heart he can’t smell, needs to be cleaned and groceries need to be procured for Thanksgiving cooking. There’s a routine doctor’s visit. Then there’s Thanksgiving. And Christmas shopping and Christmas cards and Christmas photos.
Time marches on and there is so much to do. Lesson plans and all sorts of things. There is no time for rest. Keeping the head above water is no easy task, but it is what it is.
Even with all of it – there is so much for which I am thankful during this true start to the holiday season. I look forward to taking time for myself during the coming week for myself to explore, to make sense, to remember, to forget, to move on, to put it behind me.