As I drove from “home” yesterday,
– the far southwesterly corner of our state of Georgia …
the place where I lived until I married and traipsed away-
leaving behind dear family, tender friendships,
faces that I could sketch easily
or identify with my fingers in the darkness …
wheels rolling across the paths that we have traveled
time and time again,
I thought about roots and why we yearn
to return to what is familiar.
Fields lie bare …. remnants of summer broken,
torn and exposed to bitter cold
and a season of rest and hibernation.
For … almost …. as far as the eye can see,
haggard cotton and spent corn wait through winter
their frozen roots holding frigid soil in place
reminding us of a season of harvest
and waiting for spring’s awakening
when last year’s booty
will become a new year’s enrichment and fertilizer
when it is tilled into the earth by John Deere green and Massey Ferguson red.
Not far outside any town in southern Georgia, large or small,
you quickly find hundreds acres of fields
corn, soybean, cotton and the rare soft, winter wheat
beside hundreds of acres of pecan trees.
Most often, one field sits idle while the other is busy.
Pecans spend their winters
with blossoms of deep jade mistletoe balls scattered about their canopy
begging kisses beneath the barren limbs against a cloudy December sky.
not so unlike the fragile ornaments that adorn the Christmas trees in our homes.
I miss this scenery.
The thought that kept skipping through my mind is centered on beauty/self-acceptance and familiarity. I kept wondering about how we all cling. We bind ourselves to what we know … what is common …. what is habitual … sometimes rather than gravitating towards or moving in the direction of
what is best.
Do we return to a parent and their hurtful words,
accepting their wounds because of familiarity.
Do we return to a town that is full of people with bad influence
because the area is what we know and we are worn so thin that
we can’t distinguish between what is good for us and what is harmful?
Do we cling to the spouse or friend that wounds our souls,
their injurious words of hatred and looks of disgust
have so convinced us that … they are right:
we are unworthy … disgusting … worthless?
So many of us
continue to love him when he injures us
continue to return to her when she wounds us
continue to smoke when we can not breathe
continue to overeat when excess food is smothering our health
continue to drink when we are drowning
continue to cut
because we loathe ourselves.
Somehow there is comfort in self-inflicted pain.
It is all wrong.
One as much as the other.
Each is a viscous, detrimental, deathly cycle.
To another, south Georgia is not so beautiful. But, I see beauty. Is that because south Georgia is familiar? Do the sights bring back a comfort simply because they are what I know?
New adventures are exciting.
But …. excitement takes energy.
Maybe the familiar is soothing because it requires little output of energy.
Even if it is painful, it is easy? And so, we find comfort there?
And so, maybe the young girl returns to the boyfriend
because his wounds are easier to bear than
mustering up the self-strength required to stand alone?
Maybe the young mom stays with her spouse because
she doesn’t have the energy to care for little souls
work outside the home to feed and clothe them
AND be the head of the household
so she remains in the everyday, painful as it is.
Maybe, even the older woman, continues in the pain her own parents lash out
because she believes the lies they have heaped upon her.
She will never be anything. She is a loser.
They have convinced her that …. they are right. And so they are.
When we move to a new home, city or school, state or spouse, we leave behind what we know and settle into a new normal. No matter how much we enjoy where we go, we always tend to yearn for at least SOME little something from the past. But, we can not have both. We can’t reside in two places at once.
So, we must learn to take with us the good from the past
as we head on to new places and adventures.
The thing I ponder is
how do we leave the unhealthy behind
and muster up the energy to do what is healthy and good …
what strengthens our bodies and spirits?
Surely, first we must recognize that which is noxious and harmful.
So, I walk away from that field
of cotton and corn
– a quick photo stop as we mosey north –
frozen brown flowers of summer past lining the edge in stillness.
I snap off a branch of remembrance
and place it on the dash of my sweet van
one girl snuggling asleep beside me,
another buried under a blanket, nose inside a book in the back.
The dog is quietly sleeping right in the middle of all of us.
We continue the drive to our “new home,”
north of south Georgia.
I pray that I might
find the strength to do what is healthy and good
for my soul and spirit
and pray for
and the ability to communicate
in a way that helps others do the same.
Yes, cotton and corn fields Make Me Happy …
on Monday and everyday.
What makes you happy this marvelous Monday morning?