Sunday, February 10, 2008

On Our Way

Glinda writes:

Yesterday (February 9), we had a wonderful visit with Allan and Mary Morken, our former next door neighbors in Grand Forks. Al and Mary were on their way from North Dakota to Arizona. They managed to leave Grand Forks just ahead of a storm, one of those Arctic blasts so common to the North Country at this season and something we were soon to feel the effects of in northeast Missouri.

Upon pulling into our drive, Al emerged with a beautiful bouquet of tulips, which are his signature. In the world according to Al, you can never have enough tulips, so he keeps planting more and more each year. (I think he's right.) Mary held 2 lovely quilted pieces she had made especially for Melanie and me, one inspired by watermelons and another by sunny yellow lemons. She is always doing such lovely spontaneous creative sharing things.

Like the tulips and bright colors of the quilted pieces, their time with us was just pure sunshine. We celebrated just being. Time stood still. No one was in a hurry. We laughed. They shared some pretty creative ideas for the farm. Our gentle banter back and forth was as if we were living side by side just as we used to do.

In case you are looking at a map, Kirksville is not on a straight line between Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Lake Havasu City, Arizona, which was their destination. In fact, our little farm doesn't seem to be on a straight line to anywhere. As with everyone, Al and Mary's time to be gone was limited, plus winter is a season when one travels quickly from one point to another. But we felt none of that on this beautiful day.
Over lunch, I commented on how they had come "out of their way" to see us which is a common way of referring to such things and spoke as to how much this meant to us. Al leaned forward in his chair, commented on some important events he had observed, and replied he had reached a point in life that he was not putting things off.

After they left, I was deeply touched by their visit and by Al's comment. I spoke of these things to Mother on the phone and to our dear adopted Rachel who came for some shared time that evening. Their response was we had something very important to learn from Al and Mary. I agreed.

Musing over such things, I have found some little jewels of life lessons. According to the Morkens, the Crawfords and Butterfly Hill Farm were "on our way". Their visit was intentional. Spending time with those we care about speaks volumes as to their meaning in our lives.

I think of how important "visiting" was to previous generations, where people had front porches and parlors, because they used them for such essential things. I also think of the Amish in this area, who, I am told, set aside "Thursday" as "visiting day". The Amish recognize the essential nature of community and face to face interactions. In fact, they build their communities and lives around them. Such simple things strengthen bonds we have to each other and create wealth in knowing who we are and what our place is in the larger fabric of the whole. When we stop, take time for others, plan for visits "on our way", we tell people they matter in our lives. Isn't that something for which we all deeply yearn?

I think of those times when I said: "Let's have tea" or "We will have you over soon." We didn't do it. I had good intentions; I just got wrapped up in those things of life that were so demanding of my attention or seemed so important at the time. Right now, I do not remember what those "important things" were, but I do remember who I wished I had spent more time with.

Life is a journey and many lessons come along the path. Al and Mary brought some lessons yesterday. They brought the beautiful presence they have and always will have in our lives. They reinforced the meaning of making intentional space for people on our way. As for me, I am checking off this Blog for now because I have some calls to make. I won't get them all done tonight, but I will one by one.

Where do you sit, Dear Reader, with these cherished things?
1st Photo: In the midst of winter, Al's tulips and Mary's handiwork brighten Butterfly Hill Farm.
2nd Photo: When we spend such cherished moments, the outer world drops away and time stands still. I wonder if at these moments, we sit at the hearth of life in its pure essence. We are nourished on levels we cannot even know.

3rd Photo: Mary, Al, Etta and company, Melanie, Richard and Glinda (behind camera) share a laugh as Al in his deep resonating voice reminiscent of an earlier radio era suggests some plans for "Chicken Theater" "coming to you from Butterfly Hill Farm". (Can chickens laugh? Why not? We did.)

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