I'm sitting in bed under my snug old comforter. The edges are frayed, the underside stained, the stuffing is matted and thin, and yet, this soft old rag still feels delicious tucked around my bare legs and feet. I sleep under it every night. Bob calls it my nest. I think it's something akin to an adult version of 'pink blankie,' the threadbare remnant I used to wind around my forearm and nuzzle while I sucked my thumb when I was a little girl.
I woke up early this morning. I'm usually an early riser, but I never hop right out of bed and get dressed. Instead, I stagger to the kitchen in my nightgown and bring coffee back to bed where I lollygag for an hour or two...or three...reading and writing, checking email, or idly sitting and starring out the back window at the woods and mountains. Today, I notice the woods are beginning to look wintery.
Most of the leaves have fallen off the trees and the mountains are clearly visible across the narrow valley. I love to rest my eyes on the mountains. Wind Rock Mountain looks blue from here and I can clearly see the sharp white blades of the windmills etched against the November sky. The blades are motionless today; there is no wind.
Though most of the trees in the woods are bare, the little maple tree next to the fence wears a thin cloak of mottled red leaves. The air is so still this morning, the papery leaves cling unmoving to the dry, sapless limbs of the weary little tree. I wonder which leaf will be the last to fall.
My mother was the last leaf to fall from her family tree. Even eight years after her death, I can still hear her voice: "Oh me, I don't know why I've outlived all my people," she would say. "I wish I could just go on and die."
Then, sighing, she would disappear into her inner world, a world from which my sister and I had always been excluded, for she never quite considered either one of us to be 'her people.' 'Her people' were the family and friends she had grown up with in Sugar Tree. Anita and I were of her flesh, but not of her tribe.
I didn't think it would happen but somehow it did; I got old. I've seen many, but not nearly enough, glorious autumns and, through the seasons, I've seen too many people die. My parents and all of my aunts and uncles are gone as are several of my childhood friends; Esther, Patti, Jarrett, Rita and last week, my old high school buddy, Hal.
This November morning, as I nestle under my comforter and stare out the window, I feel lucky to wake up in this cozy little house where the woods and mountains are mine to gaze upon every morning. I love my life. I'm no where near ready to die, but I hope I never end up like my mother did, the last lonely leaf on a bare, lonely tree.
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Be Well, Good Luck and Happy Thanksgiving to all!