Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Diamond in the Rough

We had kildeer in the lavender again this year.  Four little eggs sitting in the sun and parents who guarded them ever vigilantly.  Overhead, I watched three osprey dance in flight as I weeded the lavender one cold, windy spring day.  On another morning, Gene and I sat mesmerized, binoculars in hand, while drinking coffee and "oohing" and "aahing" as we glassed two golden eagles circling higher and higher in the sky, almost out of sight at times even with the binoculars, screeching at one another with their talons laid bare.  Not to be outdone, the warrior hummingbirds buzzed each other as one tried to drink from the feeder another one had staked out as its own.  A little cottontailed bunny comes out from under our deck, gazing motionlessly around him while his nose is taking in all the smells of the morning.  I spied a little cottontail all stretched out in the greenhouse one sunny day as I walked by, it's little nose twitching but its body laying perfectly still, hoping I wouldn't see him... but I did see him but just kept walking.  I love it here.  I love the creatures and the lavender and the harmony.

2016 saw growth at Still Waters Lavender.  Good, exciting growth in areas Gene and I have wanted to go but didn't seem to be able to begin.  We had come, I think, to a halt.  When the greenhouses collapsed and the crops came on early, it seemed as if we were always behind.  After the harvest and the processing, the shows came until Christmas, I think we were just tired and needed a jump start.  That jump start happened in June.

Our son, Mike, has friends who visit us from Seattle with their two little boys and we have "farm camp".   Before Mike came down, I asked if the boys wanted to do anything special while here.  The response was eat s'mores, spit cherry pits off the upstairs balcony, bake cookies, sleep in the camper and gather eggs.  We sat out to accomplish these requests.

It was windy the day we were going to build a fire for s'mores.  By the time the fire had burned down to embers, everyone was full of eating raw s'mores.  Ugghhh!  How could anyone eat raw s'mores?  I took my stick and stuck marshmallows on it and roasted mine.  I like them on fire, charcoaled, then peal off the outer level and eat it and then roast the gooey inside again.  Sticky, gooey, yummy!  One of the little boys and I ate our s'mores the correct way, charcoaled.

Some people can spit cherry pits almost into outer space.  They just purse their lips, build up air behind the cherry pit, aim and blow.  Everyone was pointing to a plant, the birdbath, a rock, but the ultimate target for the elite cherry pit spitter and earn the respect and admiration of those two little boys was my car.  I hit a rock but, most of the time, my cherry pit just dribbled off my lips, down my chin and onto the railing. I am a failure at cherry pit spitting.

We baked cookies the day they were leaving.  We found a recipe that had two eggs.  They like to break eggs and could break them with one hand.  I was so impressed:  They took some satisfaction when I told them that I still have to use both hands to break eggs.  These eggs were special because they had been gathered that morning by the little boys.  After the cookies were baked, icinged and laying on the cupboard, family gathered around to drink milk and eat them.   The boys were emphatic:  no eating of the cookies because they might need them as they travelled home.  We put the cookies in a sack and into the freezer until they left.  Later, Mike texted me:  the cookies made it almost out of Oregon... but not quite... and they were carefully doled out and reminded who made them and "...weren't they glad they hadn't eaten them at farm camp?"

While here, the dad asked me if I still wanted a labyrinth.  I said most definitely, that I'd taken pots out to the area to design a labyrinth, laid them out, thinking I was going in a spiral, but wound up confused and bewildered.  I told him that I just couldn't seem to get the vision from my head to a physical labyrinth on the ground.  The next thing I knew, he had taken the tractor, cleared the ground, laid out the labyrinth, placed rocks as guides... all in one day!  He had me walk the labyrinth but I couldn't visualize it in my head and so, the next morning, he had my husband go down to Redmond and buy stakes and ribbon so I could see clearly where I needed to walk.

I love the labyrinth this dear man gave me.  I walk it almost every day, sometimes in the morning when the air is crisp and clean and sometimes I walk in the evening, when it is quiet and the sun is leaving its glow on the western sky.

The labyrinth is a medieval inspired design.  As you enter from the North, it looks as if your goal, the center, is directly in front of you; then, a few feet in the pathway veers away and the journey begins. Such is the journey of life, this gentle, genius of a father explained.  "Life" gives you a u-turn and sometimes appears as if you are going away from your goal:  sorrow, anger, confusion.  Then, the labyrinth circles the center and you continue the journey.  A lady walked the labyrinth one day this summer, hurrying as she was telling her children to stay in the pathway.  The kids went on to bigger and better things, leaving mom to stop and take a deep breath in the center, then begin unwinding as she started her journey from the center to the beginning of her journey.  Half-way through, I saw her put her hands together as if praying.  I stood there, holding her lavender and, when she came to me, I asked her if she felt the calm.  She smiled and asked if she could hug me.  Yep!  I said to myself.  She slowed down the "hurry" of the day.

The labyrinth is just outlined in bricks and stone, still a "diamond in the rough", but Gene and I hope to have it finished by next year.  Mike's friend designed it so that it is wide enough for someone who is in a wheel chair or a walker:  he wanted to make sure that everyone could enjoy this labyrinth and receive some release from the worries they may be carrying in their hearts.  Gene and I now have to be cognizant that the right bricks and stones are selected and laid so that all can experience this wonderful gift this precious man created for Still Waters Lavender.

Thank you, Phoenix, for this lovliest of all gifts.  But, more than that, thank you and your family for sharing your life with us and bringing us such joy.