Publisher's note: Please join me in welcoming Author Michele Rhem, who presents us with her poignant memoirs of the Rabbit Patch, where her diaries weave tales of a simpler, expressive life lost to many, but gathered together in her most familiar environs - the Rabbit Patch.
A light rain was falling on Wednesday, in the hours before light. It did not come as a surprise, for I had heard the forecast. More than a few leaves will find their destiny, today. The rain seemed to sing a lullaby and it was so very enticing. Rain has been scarce at the rabbitpatch for a long while. I have declared my affection for rain, countless times and so it took sheer willpower to go about the usual business.
I believe, it all comes from growing up when I did - and where I did. Things were much slower then. Work was harder with no end in sight, for the adults. Children worked too, but our chores were reasonable, looking back - and besides we didn't know any other way. And even with chores, we had more time to play, than most children do now.
Rainy days meant everybody was close to the house. It meant the kitchen stove was at full tilt and we were most likely to have a cake, after supper. We cut paper dolls and my sister and I played dress up, with old pocketbooks and dresses, grandma kept in a chest . . and looked at the World Book Encyclopedias. . .unhindered by any schedule. Those were merry days. . .and I remain glad for them.
Of course, it goes without saying, that I spent the first few days of the week, mourning the departure of my children and grandchildren. There is just no remedy for that, but staying busy, doesn't hurt. After work, each day, I would clear one or two piles of branches, from the territory. I am almost finished with the yard, but the little pasture, has not been touched. Before the grandchildren, I would not have been able to think of anything else, except the pasture being littered with branches. Now I wonder, why such things ever mattered so much. . .or even at all. Besides, I suspect the branches will wait, til the spirit moves me . . .as everything else does. Not once, has dust scattered in my absence.
The rain fell gently all day on Wednesday. In the evening, the wind blew. The October wind was brisk and there was a chill in it. I had to put the windows down in the farmhouse and don my favorite winter robe. The moon rose brightly shining and it seemed a shame not to admire it, so I went out. Leaves were flying in the wind, now and then crossing the glowing moon. There I stood, in the silver moonshine with that wild wind blowing and the dry leaves swirling . . .for a long while. October is a lovely time
Thursday dawned bright and with enough snap, to warrant a good sweater. How lovely the drive to work is! The sun is just rising over the woodland and sets the fields aflame til a common field of soybeans looks like a golden sea and the ordinary swamp flowers are not so ordinary, in those first hours of light. The woods are just a faded, watery shade of green, in the days before their glory and the wisps of mists, that hang over them, makes them look even more hallowed. The whole affair, of an October morning is like a silent hymn. . .sung tenderly and felt deeply.
Jenny and I talked in the evening, as we usually do. I was torn between spending the weekend in Elizabeth City or staying at home to tend to the sprawling house and territory at the rabbitpatch. Every weekend for a month has held some sort of delightful obligation. . .and the next few weekends, do too, so reluctantly, I decided it best to stay home. I plan to cook and clean . . and maybe clear a bit of the pasture.
I am looking forward to it, though what a shame to spend any minute away from the grandchildren, who are determined to grow up before my very eyes! . . and I agree with Lyla, under such circumstances, "a week is a long time."
Friends of the rabbitpatch, know the joy that I derive from work. I find it "therapeutic", to use a current term. Physical work is also one of the best ways I know of, to find solutions to complicated matters and if need be, to heal. Now, I am thankful for a job- (and my banker, son- in - heart, Will declares, that I must always have one). It is a beautiful thing, to have a paying job, that allows for fulfillment. . .but it is not the jobs that are meant to pay the electricity bill , and keep tires on the car, that I am writing about. It is work that is directly related to home and hearth-and whatever patch of earth you live on. Rarely are any of the task glamorous, nor scarce. . .but there is a reward, none the less . . .even if you are the only one that knows about it.